Just like in the Fox Cities, the community here in Kurgan is abuzz with new ideas and new energy to move our partnership forward. With a 20th Anniversary celebration and community roundtable in Russia to round out our anniversary year, new parts of the Kurgan community have been brought into our program and are working to develop ideas and projects for the future. We have welcomed Kurgan Gymansiums 19, 27, and 47 as official partners in educational programs, as well as the Kurgan Academy of Labour and Social Relations. These educational institutions dedicate not only time, but also financial support to the programs and projects of the sister cities partnership. Tune into the Fox Cities-Kurgan Sister Cities Program YouTube Channel or Facebook Page to see a video, titled “From Russia With Love,” created by the students from Gymnasium 19, for all our friends in Appleton.
Kurgan continues to change before my eyes every day. This past summer saw a massive overhaul of many roads, and the new state-funded Youth Park in the center of the city is growing with the recent completion of a state-of-the-art ice arena. A sports facility has already been operating in the park for more than a year, and workers broke ground (at 30 below zero!) for a new swimming pool last week. The city government has enthusiastically embraced the new wind in our partnership, and is working to establish an offical partner organization in Russia as well as to encourage participation and energy from various parts of the community.
The city newspaper, “Kurgan and Kurganians” celebrated their own 20th Anniversary just about a month ago, and on that day reprinted the first issue of their paper. It was so wonderful to see, because in the middle of that issue was an article and photo about the first delegation from Appleton visiting Kurgan. Our two communities really are connected more than even we realize, and have developed together through two decades of very memorable history and programs.
March 1st, the first day of spring by Russian tradition, will see the completion of the “Mosaic of Peace – Mosaic of the World” project in conjunction with the Academy of Labour and Social Relations. Nearly 200 students from around the city of Kurgan will participate in the event. Throughout the past two weeks, they have worked with A. Charlotte Grosclaude, a visiting artist from France, to decorate 20 cm ceramic tiles with their ideas of peace and friendship. The mosaic will be temporarily assembled at the Academy on March 1st, where it will then be prepared for permanent public installation in the city during the summer months.
The support and excitement here in Kurgan is so thick you can feel it in the air. From schools and universities to city agencies and the mayor himself, people are optimistic and energized, looking for new ways to accomplish more together as our relationship matures and our partnerships grows stronger still.
– Content submitted by Fox Cities-Kurgan Sister Cities Program Board Member Brett Schilke