September 16, 2008

update on the Duluth-Iraq sister city project

Below is an update from Michelle Naar-Obed of the Loaves & Fishes community about the ongoing project to get Duluth to adopt a Kurdish community as a sister city.
Hello all,

I'm sorry if this email comes to you more than once. I want to make sure everyone gets this news.

Today, Donna Howard, Brooks Anderson and I met with the executive director of the Duluth Sister City Project regarding the possibility of making the city of Rania in the Kurdish north of Iraq a sister city with Duluth.

Many of you were at the presentation I gave early this summer in which this proposal was made. Melissa and 2 members of the board were also present at that time. Since then, Melissa has been learning about other US-Iraq sister cities and she and some of the board members are still quite interested and excited about the possibility for us here in Duluth to pair up with Rania.

Melissa was pretty clear in saying that this is still in the exploratory stages. She wants to put out feelers in the wider Duluth community to see the level of support. She would like to see a working committee formed that would be willing to brainstorm and do the groundwork for developing some kind of exchange program between the two cities.

Donna, Brooks and I came up with a few ideas about how to feel out the level of support in various sectors of the Duluth community. We also proposed the idea of sending a small fact finding delegation to Rania in the near future.

Many of you have indicated a willingness to be part of a working group. Others offered other kinds of support. If you have any interest in this project, please email me and indicate the role you see yourself playing.

If you are interested in being part of a working group, please let me know.

You might be interested in sending a letter of support for this project to the Sister City board. If you email it to me, I can collect them and present them to Melissa and the board members.

If you think you might be interested in being part of a fact finding delegation and would be able to make a trip to Rania in early 2009, please let me know.

If you have other ideas about how to support this project please let me know.

If you would just like to be kept updated about the progress of this project, please let me know and I will send you emails periodically. So, the thing is if you want to be involved or just kept updated, send me an email so I can make a list and keep you in the loop.

We in Duluth have a great opportunity to reach out a hand of friendship, to be people to people diplomats and to steer the course of history in a way that could promote healing and goodwill across the globe. I hope you will choose to be a part of this.

Peace, Michele Naar-Obed

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