Thursday, June 29, 2006

Off to Beirut!

As you might remember, last August I traveled to Yerevan, Armenia to finalize the Sister City Agreement between the two largest Armenian cities in the world. After traveling throughout Armenia, taking in the captivating scenery, historic landmarks, and delicious cuisine, I made my way to Beirut with the hope that Los Angeles could also become a Sister City with this diverse, robust metropolis at the heart of Lebanon. Now, nearly 10 months later, I am headed back to Beirut with my colleague, Lebanese-American Councilmember Dennis Zine, Sister City Agreement in hand.

A bustling city of over 1.5 million residents, Beirut serves as a model of diversity. Arabs, Palestinians, Kurds, and Armenians live side-by-side and converse in languages ranging from French and English to Arabic and Armenian. Councilmember Zine and I will be meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, Minister of Interiro Ahmand Fatfat, and many other official, religious, and social leaders as we work to broaden our ties with Beirut and Lebanon in general.

The Sister City program continues to open dialogue between cities and between cultures. It provides student and professional exchange opportunities and strengthens international ties. The dynamic relationship between Beirut and Los Angeles will continue to flourish. You can track our progress on the Los Angeles-Beirut Sister City website, providing updates on news, events, and opportunities associated with the Sister City Agreement.