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Albuquerque working to become a sister city with Kharkiv, Ukraine

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signs documents to begin sister city partnership with Kharkiv
One Albuquerque
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signs documents to begin sister city partnership with Kharkiv

The city of Albuquerque is working on plans to become a sister city with Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city which was hard hit by Russia's invasion last year.

Sister city partnerships were started by President Eisenhower in 1956 to promote peace and diplomatic ties. Usually the two cities' mayors decide they share similar values and work together on projects.

In the case of war-torn Kharkiv, Pam Feather, president of the Albuquerque Sister Cities program, said the situation might be a little different

“They're in a situation where they need connecting with the outside world,” she said.

For example, Russian bombing has damaged at least five hospitals, according to Human Rights Watch

“We have medical supplies going from UNM,” she said.

In the long term, Feather hopes that the partnership will expand into educational and cultural projects based on things the cities have in common

It's a high-level university community, in Kharkiv, and we have our university here, which would be a connecting point,” she said.

On June 29th, Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque and Mayor Ihor Terekhov of Kharkiv virtually signed a protocol of intent.

A team, including Harbir Bhatia, Sister Cities' international country rep for Ukraine, is in Kharkiv discussing the next step -- a memorandum between both cities with the specifics of the exchange. Albuquerque already has ten other sister cities worldwide.

Mia Casas is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Journalism and Theatre at the University of New Mexico. She comes to KUNM through an internship with the New Mexico Local News Fund and is staying on as a student reporter as of fall 2023.
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