By: Mayor Carlo DeMaria
Orsogna Italy is one of two Sister Cities to Everett. Many community members here have strong ties to Orsogna. This summer, I led a delegation from Everett, including civic leaders and city officials, to visit our counterparts in Orsogna. This trip to visit our counterparts in Orsogna was the only Sister City trip of my administration, although Orsogna has sent delegations here to Everett and Greater Boston in the past. This exchange is part of the Sister City tradition, an initiative of President Dwight Eisenhower. Cities across Massachusetts and across the country participate in these civic and cultural exchanges periodically to strengthen international relationships at the local level.
The Orsogna trip was focused on an exchange of ideas and experience around education, public safety, and infrastructure through both conferences and discussion, and I am happy to share some highlights.
I am pleased to announce that during the trip, Everett and Orsogna signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a student exchange program, set to begin next year. This program will offer an excellent educational experience for the Everett students who will participate in this cultural and language immersion opportunity, and for us as a community. We will be enriched by having Italian exchange students become members of our community, and we hope that they will form lifelong connections here that will last even when they return to Italy.
Our Everett police chief participated in a public safety conference in Orsogna with police chiefs and regional public safety officials, as well as numerous other meetings and discussions throughout the region. Most significantly, this included a meeting and site visits with the Roman Capital Police to see how they secure Parliament and popular tourist destinations in Rome. The Everett Police Department is in the early stages of developing a program that will allow Italian police officers to come to Everett to shadow members of our police force to learn about the use of data analytics for crime prevention and community policing strategy.
We also visited the city of L’Aquila, located in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, which was the site of a massive earthquake in 2009 from which that city and region still have not recovered. We were able to discuss best practices in rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure, and hope to continue these conversations to provide technical assistance to our counterparts as they continue to recover from this natural disaster.
The trip included a business development component. The main industry of Orsogna is winemaking, and we hope to promote the export of their wines for purchase in American markets. We promoted our Everett craft beer and spirit producers, and hope to open up the Italian market for them.
The trip also featured several ceremonial and commemorative events, including a special City Council meeting in Orsogna, a Word War II commemoration, a tour of the City Hall of Rome and a meeting with the deputy mayor of Rome.
Our hosts in Orsogna were very gracious in facilitating this Sister City trip, providing us with accommodations and meals. This is consistent with a deep-seated culture of hospitality for visitorsthroughout the region.
Our civic leaders in Everett look forward to offering any future visiting delegations to our city the same level of hospitality as we continue to strengthen ties.