To honor Bloomington-Normal's relationship with global communities, the City of Bloomington will dedicate a memorial devoted to the Sister Cities program. The circular display is located in McGraw Park. Joe Grabill, founder of the Vladimir-Canterbury Sister City Association, says the memorial provides information about all of Bloomington-Normal's sister cities. He says these programs are important for maintaining a relationship with the rest of the world.
"Basically it's to increase peace, increase intercultural skills, increase awareness of different languages--Americans are especially isolated in terms of that," he says. "It's contributed an enormous amount to our community and intercultural understanding."
The memorial will showcase the Vladimir-Canterbury program, as well as Bloomington-Normal's sister cities in Japan, Israel/Palestine, and Cuba. He says the programs in the Middle East and Cuba aren't as well-known and make up a smaller portion of the memorial. He says Bloomington has not had as many exchanges with those cities as they have with Vladimir-Canterbury and Asahiwaka, Japan.
Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner will speak at tonight's dedication ceremony, and Grabill says some former mayors will make an appearance. Guests from Vladimir and Nazareth are also expected to attend.
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