Embrace The Philosophy: The University of New Haven Joins New Haven, Connecticut's Sister City Program

Embrace The Philosophy: The University of New Haven Joins New Haven, Connecticut's Sister City Program


FRIDAY FEATURES: New Haven Joins New Haven, Connecticut's Sister City Program
Article courtesy of the New Haven Register, Written by Esteban L. Hernandez

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — New Haven Mayor Toni Harp joined University of New Haven president Steven H. Kaplan recently to formally introduce a partnership between the the New Haven Sister Cities program and the university. 

New Haven Sister Cities President Shaundolyn Slaughter co-signed the memorandum of understanding along with Harp and Kaplan, who said Monday the partnership will bolster the university’s global partnerships and cross-cultural understanding for UNH students. The university is home to more than 7,000 students from 43 states and 45 countries.

The partnership will allow university students a chance to interact with people from eight different countries, Kaplan said. He said he looks forward to a, “successful partnership.”

“Cultural sensitivity is very much a part of who we are and how we approach education,” Kaplan said. “Because of our friends at New Haven Sister Cities, we eagerly anticipate the many world-changing opportunities that our students, faculty and staff will have.”

Kaplan offered an anecdote involving author Kurt Vonnegut, whom Kaplan said he personally invited to join a college advisory board many years ago. Vonnegut declined after revealing he had previously been invited to a board in New York but was unable to fulfill his duties, indicating he couldn’t add another responsibility.

“We’re not just doing this to put this, so to speak, on our resume,” Kaplan said. “We’re doing this because we believe deeply in the work that Sister Cities does. We believe deeply in global, international education.”

Harp said the partnership will promote New Haven and the Greater New Haven region, “as a global destination and messenger of peace.” She thanked Kaplan for his enthusiasm and optimism for education, which Harp said, “is the best elixir for a world so often challenged by xenophobia and fear.”

She recalled how the program helped provide a lifeline to its sister city in Sierra Leone following an Ebola outbreak in 2014.

“All of the sister cities got together to help,” Harp said. “Over $200,000 was raised in this area to send medical supplies to Freetown, Sierra Leone.”

Slaughter said New Haven Sister Cities’ board of directors is, “thrilled” to join the partnership with the university. She said sister cities across the globe work together to achieve, “global health, education, and cultural and economic advances.”

“Our New Haven Sister Cities in partnership with University of New Haven promises to be an outstanding next chapter for our current eight sister cities and the people we hope will now take full advantage of the resources and talents of this campus,” Slaughter said.

The Sister Cities program was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the mid-1950s to encourage more cooperation and diplomacy between American cities and cities abroad.

“By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned, that people from different cultures could understand, appreciate and celebrate their differences while building partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts,” Harp said.

New Haven’s sister city program was founded in 1982. The city eight current sister cities include cities in China, Israel, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Mexico.

To learn more about the Sister Cities program, visit newhavenleon.org

'Friday Features' are campus-specific features that are published twice a month on the NE10's website. The series is designed to spotlight the academic initiatives and profiles of our 15 member institutions.  

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