Historic Austin-Pune Sister City Initiative (APSCI) Launched Through Public Events And Exchanges

admin@qs3 | June 12, 2018

By APSCI

In a historic step, a Sister City Initiative has been formed between Austin, Texas and Pune, Maharashtra——the first sister city initiative between Austin and a city in India. This initiative will foster exchanges in the areas of sustainability, health, smart city, business, culture, and education.

This in turn will provide opportunities for businesses, organizations, and individuals to share and grow.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak have already exchanged mails and registered the Memorandum of Understanding.

A delegation from the Austin Economic Development Department Global Business Expansion Division and Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce have visited Pune in January 2018 to pave the way to the Sister City Initiative.

A series of inaugural cultural/literary exchanges occurred in Austin from April 28 to May 16, 2018. APSCI was proud to welcome author and entrepreneur Ms. Manjiri Dhamankar from Pune, India for those events.

The first event, hosted by SAIVA, was on April 28 at Hill Country Church. It featured a Meet & Greet with Ms. Manjiri Dhamankar, who also co-led an intergenerational social integration discussion through literature and other materials.

The second event was on May 1 at the Austin History Center. The Indian American Coalition of Texas (IACT), SAIVA, Hindu Charities for America, South Asian Austin Moms, Austin Marathi Mandal, Heartfulness Meditation Group, and APSCI formally donated documents to Austin History Center to record and preserve Indian American history for historic reference and research. Over 75 Indian American organizations have been invited to donate materials.

The third event, held May 5 at the Lost Creek MUD Community Center, was hosted by IACT.

A lecture on climate governance by UT LBJ School of Public Affairs professor Dr. Joshua Busby was followed by a round table discussion with dignitaries from the Austin City Council and Travis County.

Ms. Dhamankar presented literary readings on the earth, discussed sustainability, and sang for the audience.

The final event organized by APSCI was a cross-cultural literary exchange on May 16 at the Asian American Resource Center of Austin. Participating authors were Ms. Dhamankar, Hispanic author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Chicana poet Ire’ne Lara Silva, African American academic Dr. Helena Woodard, and Indian American poet Saryu Parikh.

After all authors read some chosen works, a panel discussion of authors was moderated by newscaster Ms. Hema Mullur of KEYE.

Future events of the Sister City Initiative are being planned towards a Friendship City designation.

These include a Hackathon involving both cities in early fall and a visit by a delegation from Austin to Pune in late September, including Austin City Council member Alison Alter and Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos.

For more information about upcoming events, visit us at https://www.facebook.com/austinpune on Facebook or contact us at austinpunesistercity@gmail.com.

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, with additional support from the Indian American Coalition of Texas and the APSCI team.

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