Celebrate Madison’s Sister Cities Event to be
Held April 14th
Fostering Understanding Around
the World
Clockwise from upper left: A church in Ainaro,East Timor taken by Diane
Farsetta; A child in Arcatao, El Salvador taken by Carolyn Gantner; A farmers
market surrounds a cathedral in Freiburg, German; Madison and Kanifing, The
Gambia representatives meet in Madison. From left to right: Alder Samba Baldeh,
Fatoumatta Sonko, Fatou Ceesay,Jerreh Kujabi, Bulli Dibba, delegate from The
Gambia, Pa Kalifa Sanyang, delegate from The Gambia, Mayor Paul Soglin and
Deputy Mayor Enis Ragland. Photo by Sankulay Jallow; In 1988, a Madison
delegation is welcomed to Arcatao while the children hold a banner that reads
"The children of Arcatao send greetings to the children of Madison.” Photo by
Joy Aruguete Photo credit: Joy Aruguete
By Carolyn Gantner, Sister City
Collaboration Committee
According to Mayor Paul Soglin, “Our Sister City partnerships help us
establish friendships around the world. With those friendships, we foster
relationships and cultural understanding between our city and country and
others. During these tumultuous times in our nation and world, this is a
wonderful way to express our support for our friends in other countries.”
To showcase these international partnerships, the community is invited to
“Celebrate Madison’s Sister Cities” to be held Saturday, April 14, 5-8 p.m. at
the Madison College Truax campus. The evening will include: a keynote
address, “Creating International Friendships at the Grass Roots Level,” by
former Gov. Jim Doyle and Jessica Doyle; welcoming remarks by Mayor
Soglin; entertainment by Madison Youth Choirs; informational and photo
displays; and a buffet dinner. Representatives from the sister cities have been
invited and may be present.  

Jim Doyle served as the 44th governor of the state of Wisconsin first elected in
2002 and re-elected in 2006. Governor Doyle was recognized as a national
leader in health care, energy, natural resources, biotechnology and many other
areas. He has been a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of
Government and the Harvard School of Public Health and teaches at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Jessica Doyle, former First Lady of Wisconsin, teaches at Edgewood College.
She developed Read on Wisconsin, a statewide book cub that is now part of
the Cooperative Childrens Book Center and a Wisconsin geography game.  
Jessica spent over three decades as a teacher or administrator in public
schools and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia.  She attended
Northwestern University and UW-Madison.  

The musical performance at the event by Madison Youth Choirs (MYC)  will
feature Capriccio with Lisa Kjentvet conducting.  For the academic year of
2017-18, MYC is exploring the music of Madison’s sister cities as a central
theme of their programs and their performance will include selections from the
regions of some of the sister cities. The hauntingly beautiful “A Circle is Cast”
will be performed.  The song was chosen due to its symbolism of unity and
building a greater sense of community which speaks to one of the many
values of international friendships.

The citizens of Madison have been creating international friendships with
communities around the world for over thirty years.  The Common Council
approved our first sister city relationship in 1986 with Arcatao, El
Salvador and since then many more have been formed, which currently include: Freiburg,
Germany; Vilnius, Lithuania; Camaguey, Cuba; Ainaro, East Timor; Mantova, Italy; Obihiro,
Japan; Tepatitlan, Mexico; and our newest sister city of Kanifing, The Gambia in 2016.

To maintain and coordinate these programs , the Common Council approved the creation of
the Sister City Collaboration Committee (SCCC) in 2008.  The SCCC is comprised of a
representative from each of the nine sister cities, an at-large community member and an
alderperson.  For more information, visit

The sister city programs are active in a  variety of areas that include human and civil rights,
environmental advocacy, cultural and student exchanges, medical and humanitarian aid, to
name a few.  Mutual visits have occurred over the years with our sister cities to the benefit of
all involved, and through these international exchanges we celebrate our differences as well
as our shared humanity, with the theme of “People to People” at the core of our efforts. The
value these exchanges represent and the significance of celebrating our differences, as well
as our shared humanity will be recognized on April 14th.

Tickets for “Celebrate Madison’s Sister Cities” are $40 and are available until April 9 online at
Brown Paper Tickets (
sccc.brownpapertickets.com). Tickets may also be purchased by