OXFORD — The City of Oxford has signed an agreement to make the relationship between Oxford and Differdange, Luxembourg, official. Oxford City representatives, guests from Miami University, and three Differdange representatives gathered at Oxford Lane Library to sign a Sister City agreement on Monday, March 20.
A sister city is a long-term partnership between two countries and is recognized after city officials come together to sign an agreement. Such a relationship is made to form connections between two communities that are mutually beneficial. They are meant to promote understanding among differing cultures.
Oxford already had a connection to Differdange before signing the agreement. The John E. Dulbois Center will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in 2018. The center is a branch campus of Miami University, allowing students to attend their university abroad and experience Luxembourg’s culture.
Differdange guests included Councilman Tom Ulveling, Secretary Henri Krecké, and Dean of MUDEC Thierry Leterre. After spending Sunday touring the city, they gathered with Oxford representatives on Monday to sign the document declaring Oxford and Differdange Sister Cities.
Oxford representatives included Councilman Kevin McKeehan, Councilman Steve Dana, former Mayor Prue Dana, Mayor Kate Rousmaniere, Councilwoman Edna Southard, City Manager Douglas R. Elliot, Jr., and Student Douglas R. Elliott III. Miami University guests included Dr. Renate Crawford, Provost Dr. Phyllis Callahan, Director of Global Partnerships, Karla Guinigundo, MUDEC Coordinator Jordan Land, and Nicole Collins.
After eating lunch at Kona Bistro, guests gathered at Lane Library for the signing. Oxford City Manager Doug Elliot spoke at the gathering. He informed guests that the City of Oxford was actually presented with the flag of Differdange at lunch. The flag will be posted outside Lane Library.
“As I said earlier, this is a very important day for us, because we are beginning a relationship between the two cities,” Elliot said. “Miami University has had a long standing relationship with the Dulbois European Center. I think it was mentioned, a 50-year relationship. So that is very important, and we are building on that relationship as we move forward.”
Mayor Kate Rousmaniere read the Sister City agreement to the crowd in English, while Differdange Councilman Tom Ulveling read the same agreement aloud in French, further cementing the marriage of the two cultures.
The agreement will allow Differdange and Oxford to collaborate on educational, cultural, and economic issues.
Following the signing, Mayor Rousmaniere said of the agreement, “It’s only symbolic, but it opens up a lot of doors. Economic partnership, we have already talked about exchanges, businesses in Oxford that might further their visit to Luxembourg. What I mean by it’s mostly symbolic, is there’s no money involved. It’s just a relationship. The city and the university is behind it.
“The other thing is, it furthers the city’s relationship with the university, which we have been working on for a long time. It further cements that. It furthers the Town and Gown partnership.”
Mayor Rousmaniere added that anytime you have city and university officials in the same room, that Town and Gown partnership is furthered.
The Sister City agreement is something that Oxford has been discussing for years. In fact, a resolution was passed 18 years ago that encouraged the Sister City partnership. Mayor Rousmaniere claimed that something finally came of that resolution now, because of the people involved. She herself is both the mayor and works at the university. She also believes a lot of credit is due to Dr. Renate Crawford and Dean Jerome Conley.
Ideas for how to utilize this partnership are already floating around Oxford and Differdange, according to officials.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH