The city of Lawrence is expecting to partner soon with its third sister city: Iniades, Greece.
The five-village city hasn’t yet become an official sister, but it’s on its way, said Bill Keel, chairman of the Lawrence Sister Cities Advisory Board.
A sister city arrangement is a formal agreement between two cities to foster exchange programs and sponsor partnerships.
“Sister cities is a way to make the world a little bit smaller, friendly place to live,” said Dennis Christilles, co-chair of Lawrence’s Friends of Iniades. “The bridges we are building now are bridges that can be traveled on for years to come by many people.”
Kansas University students have been traveling to Iniades for the past 22 years, though it wasn’t until this summer that the mayor of the city expressed interest in being a sister city of Lawrence.
Each summer, KU and area high school students travel to Iniades to perform a play, immerse themselves in Greek culture and take study-abroad courses.
Katrina Bondari, doctoral candidate from Lenox, Ga., accompanied the troupe last summer as a graduate assistant. She said the main similarity between Iniades’ villages and Lawrence is an area where people go to “drink coffee and visit the local bar.” She compared the streets to Lawrence’s Massachusetts Street.
Keel pointed to Lawrence’s other sister cities — Eutin, Germany, and Hiratsuka, Japan — as evidence of the program’s ability to foster peace among nations that were once at war.
Christilles, however, emphasized another positive of the program.
“I’ve seen the benefits through students who are being raised in an atmosphere where these places aren’t just places in a geography book, but places where they have friends and relationships,” he said.
People interested in more information about the Iniades Sister City appointment can contact Christilles at firstname.lastname@example.org.