By Pam Horne, Managing Editor
A visit this week by a delegation from Bad Soden, Germany capped off a weeklong series of events sponsored by Sister Cities of Franklin and Williamson County. Last weekend, a variety of international music and dance performances were held in downtown Franklin as part of Sister Cities, including a unique first-time attraction—Chinese Arts Alliance Lion Dancers. Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore, left, welcomes, Patricia Kriebel, Burgermeister Norbert Altenkapm of Germany, along with Caroline Cross, founder of Leadership Franklin, and of Hans-Herbert Meybohm of I.K.U.S.
The Sixth Annual Sister Cities of Franklin and Williamson County event showcased the food, beverage and music of a myriad of nations last weekend—a perfect segue into this week’s visit by a delegation of leaders from Bad Soden, Germany to Franklin.
Burgemeister, or Mayor, Norbert Altenkapm addressed city, county, and sister city representatives Tuesday morning.
Franklin and Bad Soden are considering creating a formal relationship through Sister Cities International.
Franklin currently has formal relationships with Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada and County Laois, Ireland.
Reiner Kirsten, of Franklin, and originally of Dresden, Germany, and Nancy Conway, senior vice-president of community relations for the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce meet during a host breakfast Tuesday at City Hall.
Photos by Pam Horne
This week the German delegation received a warm welcome from Sister Cities President Patricia Kriebel, Mayor Ken Moore and an overview of Franklin by City Administrator Eric Stuckey.
The initial launch of Sister Cities emerged from a Leadership Franklin class several years ago that included Sharon Bottoroff, Doug Sharp and Brenda Hale initiating the idea.
Caroline Cross, Founder of Leadership Franklin, said this week that seeing the fruits of that work with this visit “just thrills me.”
“Just look at what it has done, not only with the leadership help we have here, but look at what it has done abroad with relationships.”
Nestled in a mountainous region the city of 21,000 residents near Frankfurt is known for tourism.
“Bad Soden started to be a small spa village in the 18th century,” heritage and culture head Marc Nordinger told guests at the host breakfast event.
The delegation will focus on visiting Franklin’s parks since Bad Soden is a popular site for tourism and sporting events.
A visit to the Eastern Flank Battlefield is scheduled for 3 p.m. today.
If the two cities come to an agreement there could be opportunity for student involvement.
“We’re working with some of the high schools to seek their interest and the Williamson County schools to seek their interest in student exchange,” said the Franklin’s Communications Manager Milissa Reierson, adding that the visit is primarily to foster an introduction of the two cities.
Bad Soden, through the I.K.U.S. organization began collaborating with other cities in 1975 when they formed a relationship with Rueil-Malmaison, France.
Since that time, they have formed ties with Kitzbuehel, Austria; Franzensbad, of The Czech Republic and Yoro-cho, Japan.
“The relationship was very important (with Japan) when Fukushima had the catastrophe in 2011,” explained Hans-Herbert Meybohm, an I.K.U.S. representative and member of the delegation.
“ We contacted our friends over there and said what can we do?”
This calamity in Japan became a catalyst for building relations among very different communities, he said.
“One year ago, they came to thank us for this gesture,” Meybohm shared.
“Our mission is to promote the sister cities idea to young people. People ask if the idea of sister cities is still something that has a future. The answer is yes, today more than ever. It is to establish contacts and confidence in people and trust. This is the future.”
Department representatives of the City of Franklin and members of a visiting delegation from Bad Soden, Germany met to exchange information about the two cities.
Posted on: 10/16/2013