State College will possibly have new sister city, and it’s in Ukraine.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine over a year ago, it’s hard to walk down the streets of the State College area without seeing the colors blue and gold. The State College Borough Council on Monday looked to make that kinship more official.
That’s when the Borough Council passed a resolution endorsing a sister city relationship with the city of Nizhyn in Ukraine. Council President Jesse Barlow introduced the resolution.
“We also saw it as a town that had a lot in common with us because it’s it’s a university town It’s a little bigger than State College, a little smaller than what we call the State College area.”
Nizhyn is located about 70 miles from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, having an estimated population of over 65,000 people in 2020.
Nizhyn, which the Borough Council resolution describes as “war-torn,” faced heavy Russian bombing at the start of the invasion and was even occupied for a period of time. An organization here advocating for Nizhyn called “Sister’s Sister” gives details of the destruction, through the city’s mayor.
Of the city’s damaged infrastructure, its mayor Oleksandr Kodola says the most critical are schools, medical centers, water and sewage system, heating systems, and housing for almost 500 residents. That’s as of June 2022, according to Sister’s Sister.
“We thought that this would help publicize that need,”
The Borough Council resolution says they’re expecting “the mayor, the manager, and staff will establish a sister city relationship with Nizhyn … as soon as reasonably possible.”
But, what even are sister cities?
“Sister City’s International started in 1956 by President Eisenhower, in the middle of the Cold War, He wanted a way where countries may not be talking to each other to have communication between different communities. quite simply is an agreement signed by the two highest elected officials, in two cities, between the United States and a foreign country with an agreement, to do different kinds of exchanges and other programs between those cities.”
“you also increasingly [see] it based upon humanitarian concerns, as well as economic concerns. Our world is increasingly interconnected and cities are really a place that are these great laboratories for economic development and investment as well.”
Svarzbein says most of the programs are usually humanitarian, education, cultural, and economic exchanges.