Grand Grapids welcomes Zapópan as its fifth Sister City
Grand Rapids: As part of the Grand Rapids Sister Cities International global outreach program, a delegation from Zapópan, Jalisco, México will be here to sign an agreement with the City of Grand Rapids to become the 5th Sister City . This historic event marks the beginning of exchanges promoting economic, cultural, educational, and health initiatives between the two cities. The official signing will take place during opening ceremonies for Festival of the Arts 2008 on June 6, 2008 at Calder Plaza .
The Zapopan delegation, led by Sr. Juan Sánchez Aldana Ramírez, municipal president of Zapópan, will include Doctora Patricia Malfavon, International Affairs, and Sister Cities Coordinator; María Carranza de Sánchez Aldana, Director of Family Services; Dora Fafutis Morris, Director of Public Relations for the City of Zapópan, Leopoldo Font, Director of Tourism and Economic Development; Carlos Andrade, Director of Investment Promotion and International Business; Ricardo Duarte, Director of the Zapópan Museum of Art (MAZ); César Covarrubias, and Luis Macias, artist. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will participate in the signing ceremony.
The event will include a special art exhibit during Festival featuring the work of Raúl Anguiano, a prominent artist from Zapópan , and Luis Macias. The artists’ work will be featured at the Festival Art Show in the former Grand Rapids Art Museum and Luis Macias will participate in a three-session workshop at the Southwest Community Campus, organized by the Grandville Avenue Academy of the Arts. The delegation will meet with leaders in Grand Rapids relative to international business, family services, tourism, education, and the arts to begin to foster exchange programs that will benefit both cities.
Business exchanges have already begun. During a recent trip to Zapópan, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce signed a formal agreement of collaboration with the National Chamber of Commerce of Guadalajara, The Right Place investigated “Business to Business” opportunities in the area.
Located in the central region of the State of Jalisco, Zapópan is a city of more than one million people, and has recently been referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Mexico” due to the number of international firms and foreign direct investment in high technology development.
Zapópan has the most universities in México outside of México City, among them the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Tec de Monterrey and Pan-American University, all of which have numerous exchange programs. All of the universities offer programs in engineering, electronics, computers and business. The city has a broad range of health facilities from federal programs free of cost for families and children, to major hospitals and clinics and the city offers a wide variety of cultural entertainment, convention and conference centers, sports clubs and recreational areas.
Grand Rapids Sister Cities International is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1994 to administer the Sister Cities program on behalf of the City of Grand Rapids. Its mission is to build relationships between Grand Rapids and its sister cities by promoting understanding and mutual respect through exchanges in culture, art, education, and community and economic development.
The other Sister Cities in the Grand Rapids network include: Bielsko-Biala , Poland ; Ga District , Ghana ; Omihachiman , Japan ; and Perugia , Italy .