16th August 2011 was a red letter day for Bhubaneswar City. It is on this day that the City Council of City of Cupertino City passed Resolution 11 thereby establishing Sister City relationship between Bhubaneswar, India and the City of Cupertino as well establishing a Sister City Committee to Identify, Manage, Co-ordinate and Implement activities relating thereto.
Apart from producing broad community benefit and creating an atmosphere in which international economic development and trade would be developed and strengthened, it would also foster an enviornment in which community partnerships can be established to creatively learn, work and solve problems together. This would mean additional economic and business oppurtunities, cultural and educational experiences for the citizens through long term municipal partnerships.
Presently, Cupertino has two active sister cities registered with Sister City International namely City of Toyokawa, Japan and Hsinchu, Taiwan. Bhubaneswar will be the third city to be added to this list. The policy and guidelines for sister cities for City of Cupertino also mentions that the City cannot enter into sister relationship with another city in the same country. Thereby Bhubaneswar will be the only state in India to enjoy the Sister City relationship if we go by the guidelines.
What are the responsibilities of City of Cupertino in this regard?
It would provide reasonable postage, fax, copying and printing support for sister city events in which the city is participating
It would provide meeting room space at no cost to the Sister City Committee for related activities
It would provide modest official city gifts to government representatives from visiting country.
What are the responsibilities of Sister City Citizens Committee of Cupertino in this regard?
They would mentor, manage, coordinate and implement all activities related to sister city program
They would establish a formal incorporated structure with officers and appropriate functional sub committee
They would maintain communication with the affiliate sister city committee ensuring the counterpart committee is equally committed to the program.
They would solicit donation and in-kind contribution from the local business community as appropriate.
They would finance from fundraising efforts and resources other than public funding all travel and program expenses beyond resonable postage, fax, copying and printing costs for events in which the city is participating.
They would prepare a definite budget from fund raising efforts other than public (City) funding for events and activities and keep track of expenses. Budget should show funds available and should identify adequate, ongoing funding sources for program activities.
They would work with city staff several weeks in advance in arranging official city gifts and meetings for foreign delegations.
For local groups travelling abroad and bringing city gifts similar notice is required.
Bhubaneswar City would also have a similar mandate for this to be successful. What Is impressive and the most important to note is that the committee would be able to solicit donations and in-kind support (which would include technical as well) from local business communities like Apple Inc., Oracle, HP and over 60 high tech companies. Now it is for Bhubaneswar to make the best use of this relationship. As in any relationship there has to be mutual benefit for a lasting relationship.
Bhubaneswar has a lot to offer Cupertino too in terms of sustainable architecture technology using local materials like laterite, its vast culture and heritage knowledge (aptly called the Temple City), traditional medicine system which has no side effects etc, a vast virgin and developing economy, investment opportunities in tourism, healthcare, Information Technology, Food Processing, Minerals and Metals, Road and Ports to name a few focus sectors.
Only time will tell who will make the best use of this fantastic opportunity.