NEWPORT NEWS, VA: Sister Cities Newport News (SCNN) and the Neyagawa International Exchange and Friendship Association (NIEFA) have agreed to postpone a 19-member, mixed aged, delegation from the Japanese Sister City scheduled for March 21-29 due to concerns over COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Kate Helwig, SCNN’s Executive Director, noted that “after the move last Thursday (February 27) by Japanese Prime Minister Abe to close schools in Japan for the entire Month of March, the decision became more obvious.” She said that Japanese schools had a planned two-week break in March and closing schools for the rest of the month was “a strategy to prevent an outbreak of the virus.” Helwig added that she is not aware of any confirmed cases in the sister city of Neyagawa (Osaka Prefecture) however, there is a confirmed case in the city of Osaka.
Despite the cancellation of the exchange, local host families will gather for a scheduled meeting on Saturday, March 7 in the City’s office building at Fountain Plaza Two in City Center, Oyster Point. “We had planned to go over details of the exchange itinerary, but now we are getting together to determine ways we can conduct a virtual exchange,” noted Neyagawa Committee Chair Christine Peterson. Ideas include sending a care package and recording a video. Host families are also being encouraged to communicate directly with their Japanese delegates, all to show support from Newport News. “This a ‘reciprocal’ exchange program, and today we are proceeding under the understanding that Newport News’ delegation will travel out to Neyagawa in November,” said Peterson. “If concerns over COVID-19 continue, we will not.”
Sister Cities acts as the international arm of the City of Newport News. Organization president Katie Stodghill explained that the mission of the program is to offer cultural, educational and business exchanges that benefit the community. “We are a bridge for our citizens to the world. Today, that bridge has become more important than ever. We are here to show that Japan and the U.S. are not isolated from one another by this virus, our sister city partnership connects us. People think this virus is not having an effect locally. It is. All international travel is affected. We need to make sure citizens have good information, take reasonable precautions, and don’t fall prey to fear mongering. If citizens have questions about what is happening in Japan, I encourage them to find out by working with us on our virtual exchange.”
Meeting date is Saturday, March 7 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm; James Conference Room of FP2; address – 700 Town Center Drive, Newport News, 23606.
Neyagawa is located within the greater Ōsaka metropolitan area. It has a population of about 240,000 people. Neyagawa-shi is named for the Neya River which runs through its central region. Its hills are dotted with Paleolithic (Pre-14,000 BC) and Jōmon (14,000 BC -300 BC) era ruins. The City of Newport News sistered with Neyagawa in 1982 under the leadership of then Mayor Joe Ritchie. In 1999, Newport News’ sister city program was incorporated as SCNN, Inc. a 501 (c) non-profit whose mission is “to build and strengthen international cooperation, understanding and development between the citizens of the City of Newport News and those of the world”. SCNN is a member of Sister Cities International (SCI), the nation’s foremost citizen diplomacy movement representing over 500 U.S. cities with more than 2,000 partnerships in over 140 countries. More information is available at www.sistercities-nn.com Follow them on FACEBOOK @sistercities.newportnews.va.usa and Instagram @SisterCitiesNN
SATURDAY, MAY 26 was a great night of fun watching Newport News' new Lionsbridge FC soccer take on the Myrtle Beach Mutiny at CNU's Pomoco Stadium. Sister Cities enjoyed being the Non-Profit Partners for the night and raised more than $150 in the 50/50 raffle to help fund our Youth Scholarship Program. Thanks to the Sister Cities volunteers who came out and enjoyed the evening!
July 13, 2017: Sister Cities of Newport News welcomed three Chinese officials from ZiYang City in the Sichuan Province of China for a one-day visit to Newport News. The schedule included a meeting with Sister Cities leadership to discuss educational exchange opportunities for youth and site visits to Tech Center, the Newport News 911 Operations Room, and the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute.
Mr. ZHOU Xian, Party Head of Ziyang CPC Committee, Mr. WANG Wanjun, Director of Ziyang Development Zone, and Mr. QING Minghua, Director of Ziyang Foreign Affairs & Overseas Chinese Office also met with members of the SCNN Board, City Manager Cindy Rohlf, CNU Provost Dr. David Doughty and received a community wide economic overview from representatives of Newport News EDA/IDA and Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance.
The Sichuan Province, located in West China, has 21 cities (prefectures) and 183 counties (districts). ZiYang is a city of 3.5 million within that Province and has been in a “Friendship City” relationship with Newport News since 2005. Newport News is ZiYang’s only such international partner. Sister Cities of Newport News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to build and strengthen international cooperation, understanding and development between the citizens of the City of Newport News and those of the world.
Sister Cities is pleased to announce General Denis MERCIER, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, NATO ACT as the guest speaker at the 10th Annual International Breakfast on July 21st in CNU's David Student Union Ballroom. For over 35 years, Sister Cities has served as the “International Arm” of the City of Newport News and has engaged our community in numerous exchanges. Sister Cities actively exchanges governmental officials, business leaders, citizen delegations and students from our partner cities in Japan, China, German and France. This plated breakfast event generates support for our cultural, educational and economic exchanges, and provides scholarships for youth. While reservations are free, all are asked to make a generous donation in support of our programs. Donations can be made in advance online or on-site (cash, credit and check). RSVP required by July 17 at https://2017internationalbreakfast.eventbrite.com or email@example.com
2017 BREAKFAST UNDERWRITTEN BY THESE GENEROUS SPONSORS:
July 14-16, 2017
For the 4th summer in a row, Sister Cities Newport News and CNU will welcome 25 students and 1 faculty member from China’s University of Electronic Science and Technology (UESTC) to attend a 2-week summer program at CNU. To enhance their U.S. experience, we are seeking community members to host a student over the weekend of July 14-16. Pick-up will be on Friday afternoon (between 1 and 5 pm) at CNU with a return to campus on Sunday (after 6 pm). Host families do not have to be Newport News residents. In fact, several past hosts have been from the surrounding counties of York, Poquoson, and James City as well as the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton and Williamsburg. Hosts are not expected to “entertain” the students; the goal of a “homestay” is to introduce those from a different culture to typical, American, daily life...if there is such a thing! Going to the grocery store, running errands, taking kids to events, attending a house of worship…hosts are encouraged to follow your normal routines. This is a great opportunity as the visit is short and there is no schedule to keep other than pick-up and drop off. Completion of a one-page "Host Application" is required. More information is available by calling SCNN's Executive Director, Kate Helwig at 757-926-1348 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is now open for the 2017 Virginia Sister Cities- Counties Annual Meeting in Norfolk to be held Friday, March 31. Norfolk Sister City Association will host this year’s annual state wide meeting at Slover Library, 235 East Plume Street, Norfolk. Parking is around the corner at the Main Street Garage. The meeting will being promptly at 10:00 am and end at 2:00 pm. The fee is $35 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.
This year’s main topic is the 2017 Sister Cities International Conference hosted by Virginia Beach Sister Cities (July 13-15). This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the impressive work of our organizations. For those interested, hotel rooms are available at discounted rate of $109 at the Wyndham Garden Norfolk Downtown. https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/wyndham-garden/norfolk-virginia/wyndham-garden-norfolk-downtown/overview You will need to identify yourself as an attendee of the State Wide Sister City Meeting
Venue: Slover Library
Venue Phone: 757-664-7323
Venue Website: http://www.sloverlibrary.com/
Address: 235 East Plume Street
Norfolk, Virginia, 23510, United States
Meeting Hosts: Norfolk Sister City Association
232 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 / Office 757-627-0530 / www.norfolksistercities.org
Questions: Jennifer Priest, Executive Director
email@example.com / Mobile 757-692-5718
Kate Zahn Helwig
SCNN Executive Director
Kate has worked for Sister Cities since July 2001; you can view her profile on Linkedin