By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize City and Newark, New Jersey signed a Sister City Relationship Agreement on Friday, July 8.
“Belize City and the City of Newark have agreed to collaborate meaningfully to promote common development, support of key initiatives, cultural exchanges and information sharing on topics such as art, commerce, technology, education, sports, public health, administration and history,” said the Belize City Council.
The Memorandum of Understanding that established the sister city relationship was signed during a Virtual Signing Ceremony on Friday. Mayor Bernard Wagner, Deputy Mayor Allan Pollard Jr, Councillor with Responsibility for Sister City Relations Stephanne Hamilton, and City Administrator Stephanie Lindo-Garbutt participated on behalf of the Belize City Council.
The City of Newark, New Jersey was represented by Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Deputy Mayor Ligia S. De Freitas, and Council Member-at-Large Lawrence Crump.
The Belize City Council said Mayor Wagner and Mayor Baraka expressed “their readiness and commitment to honor this agreement for the greater benefit of the people of Belize City and the City of Newark”.
Newark, New Jersey is the state’s largest city with a population roughly 3.5 times larger than Belize City (281 thousand compared to 75 thousand estimated). It is part of the New York City metropolitan area and hosts its container shipping as part of the busiest seaport on the U.S. East Coast.
The concept of Sister City relations was created at U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1956 White House summit on citizen diplomacy, where he envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world.