01 September 2010
It took at least three tries before a Sister Cities match was made between Kurgan, Russia and the Fox Cities in Wisconsin during a period in world history still haunted by echoes of the Cold War.
But in April 1990, government officials of Kurgan and Appleton signed an agreement to become sister cities – an agreement that has grown to embrace the Kurgan region and the Fox Valley Region, an agreement that has resulted in dozens of delegations including hundreds of people traveling back and forth between countries as citizen diplomats.
In November, the Fox Cities-Kurgan Sister Cities organization, a local non-profit that has supported the work, will mark the 20th Anniversary of the friendships that have evolved from wide civic engagement in both geographic regions.
Line-up for Nov. 4:
“Beet the Borsch,” billed as an Iron Chef-style cooking competition in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College’s Department of Culinary Arts;
A Russian Dinner (with the borsch) and Program;
An evening concert with the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra.
Line-up for Nov. 5:
A morning of global conversations about the lives and interests of people connected during two decades.
The Sister Cities organization has designated Brett Schilke as the project manager for the celebration. He started as a volunteer for the organization in 2003 when he was a student at Neenah High School and managed the student conference components of the International Communities Partnerships Conference, which included an appearance by the last president of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, speaking to a full house at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
Schilke subsequently studied at UW-Madison where he majored in cross-cultural psychology with a concentration in Russian. He has traveled to Kurgan three times where he most recently was a visiting lecturer at the Academy of Labour and Social Relations.
The organizations wishes to reach the hundreds of area people who have been part of this Sister Cities experience to make certain they know about the events and to guarantee that complete lists of people touched by the exchanges are refreshed and updated for historic and archival reasons.
Those wanting to provide or seek information should contact Schilke at 920-358-0871 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.