A similar display of unity was what was probably in mind when a city from the USSR became Chennai's first sister city. That was in 1966, when the Mayors of Stalingrad and Madras signed the Protocol of Friendship, establishing their sisterly ties. Since then, both cities have changed their names; Stalingrad is now Volgograd and Madras has moved on to be called Chennai. The second sister took a while in coming - it was in 1984 that Madras established a second sister city partnership. Today, Chennai has four sister cities, the two most recent being Frankfurt, Germany, in 2005 and San Antonio, Texas, USA, in February 2008. It was surprising to read that San Antonio had actually "outgunned Houston in securing a sister city agreement" with Chennai; I can't recall anything significant that has come out of the earlier sister city agreements. In fact, most of the cities appear fairly reticent about their siblings. The Corporation of Chennai website does not have any mention about its sisters; a search of the Alamo city's homepage throws up a couple of press releases about its Indian sister; Volgograd's website remains stuck in the past, continuing to show Karate Thiagarajan as the Mayor of Chennai. Frankfurt is like Chennai - no mention of sister cities on Frankfurt city's website.
Denver, Colorado, USA, where history was made on Thursday, is no exception; the city's website shows a 'City of Madras' Park. But thanks to a friend, I understand that action on the ground need not always get tom-tommed - the photograph that he sent me shows that the sign has been changed as 'City of Chennai Park'. So maybe there is a lot that is being done through the Sister City relationships that we don't get to see - and I hope we'll be able to find out what the benefits have been!
Today is 'Theme Day' for the City Daily Photo folks; there are 147 other 'sister cities' taking part in September's Theme Day. Click here to view thumbnails of all participants. Click'>http://www.citydailyphoto.com/portal/themes_archive.php?tid=7">Click here to view thumbnails for all participants