GREEN  The city of Green found out last month that it has a sister halfway around the globe.

Green City Council approved a resolution at its Feb. 27 regular meeting to enter into a sister-city relationship with Beius, Romania. Mayor Gerard Neugebauer is scheduled to travel to Beius in July to take part in a joint signing ceremony, formalizing the sister city relationship.

"We certainly can see how our schools and classrooms can link with Beius schoolchildren, but are also looking for ways to connect all facets of our community with peers in our sister city," said Green Communications Manager, Valerie Wolford, of the new relationship. "We are encouraging Green-based businesses or organizations to reach out to us with ideas and suggestions on how to build mutual relationships."

The Sister Cities program began as a national concept in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for exchanges between Americans and people of other countries, as a means of fostering international understanding and goodwill. 

A sister city agreement is formalized when two communities from different nations join together to develop a relationship. The cities exchange people, ideas, culture, education and technology, with residents of each community learning about the other’s culture and become directly involved in developing solutions to common problems. 

"This is an exciting because it really speaks to the mayor’s vision for Project Tangerine," Wolford said, referring to Green’s effort to create a group of leaders to help promote the idea of volunteering and sharing to improve the city. "I remember the mayor saying, ‘wouldn’t it be great to have people come to us with ideas?’ And that is exactly what happened here."

The proposal for the international partnership began at a November 2017 meeting between Neugebauer and leaders of the Romanian Baptist Church in Green. Church Pastor Valentin Tent moved to America three years ago when he took the position at the church. Tent’s hometown is Beius.

Cultural connections

At the Feb. 27 council meeting, Tent spoke of the Beius’s historical connection to the Summit County area, including the fact that the first Romanian Baptist Church in the United States was established in 1883 on Kenmore Boulevard in Akron.

The mountainous region of south-central Romania where Beius is located, Tent said, is steeped in its own history and is rich in culture, education, health care and outdoor recreation. Economically, Tent said, the city is particularly focused on manufacturing, specifically mining and the development of geothermal energy.

As this first step in defining the relationship is complete, Wolford said, the city is looking to the community for ideas and suggestions on how to build meaningful relationships with its new partners in Beius.

"(Exchange) programs involving youth education and the arts and culture are easy to understand," Wolford said. "But we also want to look at trade and business – a multiple exchange of ideas."