A delegation from Edmond, OK, is taking the next steps to make the world a little smaller and more connected.
Members of the Edmond Sister Cities Association recently traveled from Edmond, OK, to the Gansu Province in China to formalize a Sister Cities Agreement formed between the cities of Edmond and Qingyang.
Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of International Programs John Osborne is a representative for the Edmond Sister Cities Association. Osborne represents Oklahoma Christian University to this delegation.
“OC has been a part of the Edmond Sister Cities Association ever since the beginning when it was first established,” Osborne said. “President John deSteiguer encouraged lots of people and offices on campus to get involved in local community activities that were going on and so as a part of that the university became a part of this organization. President deSteiguer asked me to be the OC representative for this organization and I decided to do it because it seemed like a great opportunity.”
According to their website, the Edmond Sister Cities Association formed in 2008 and includes representatives from the City of Edmond, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond Public Schools, Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Edmond Fine Arts Institute, the Edmond Economic Development Authority, the Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce and Oklahoma Christian.
Osborne said this organization is a great chance for citizens of Edmond to connect with others from around the world, and aims to impact the community and world.
“My role is to serve as a board member, meaning that I go to meetings once a month where we discuss the activities of the Edmond Sister Cities Association,” Osborne said. “The goal of this organization is to build relationships and partnerships with cities around the world for the city of Edmond, where we can have cultural, educational and business exchanges, giving the citizens of Edmond greater opportunities by learning different cultures and understanding them in a more efficient way.”
According to their website, Qingyang became Edmond’s second sister city, joining Engels, Russia, which signed in 2012. The agreement with Qingyang was signed into effect in September by Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb and Qingyang Mayor Yun Jianmin. Members of both communities will travel to these cities to experience and learn the different cultural aspects of these sister cities.
“We have sent people from Edmond to the locations of our sister cities and groups of these cities in Russia and China have come to visit Edmond,” Osborne said. “They visit different organizations and places around here and OC has hosted these groups for a day on campus when they have come to visit so that they kind of get a taste of what the city of Edmond is about.”
Ken Moore, member of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Edmond Sister Cities Association gives Edmond the opportunity to promote the city in an international way.
“This organization allows the city of Edmond to move forward with educational, cultural and official exchanges between our sister cities,” Moore said. “It gives us the great opportunity to learn and understand more about another culture and their economy, government and exchange ideas for community and economic development.”