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UW-Eau Claire and City of Eau Claire
Explore International Partnerships
MAILED: Nov. 10, 1999|
In an effort to help the Chippewa Valley extend its international contacts, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire administrator is working with the Eau Claire Area Industrial Development Corp. to identify partner cities in other parts of the world.
"As a university, we have ongoing relationships with other universities around the world," said Karl Markgraf, director of UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education. "But it makes sense to extend those relationships to include the city of Eau Claire, helping the city create community to community relationships."
Markgraf and Craig Carlson, executive director of the Eau Claire Area Industrial Development Corp., will co-chair Eau Claire's International Sister City Committee.
"It has long been one of my goals to internationalize the greater Eau Claire area," Carlson said. "By that, I mean opening up avenues of communication, travel and sharing of experiences. I view the sister city program as one means to accomplish a greater awareness of the importance of people getting to know one another, learning more about one another and, especially today, doing business with one another."
Carlson said that while the committee is not tied to working with communities in any one part of the world, it makes sense to use the international connections that already exist through UW-Eau Claire, the local education system and other avenues in the community.
"We are developing a proposal to establish formal relationships with many cities abroad, based on community and university interests and connections," Markgraf said. "For example, Latvia and Lithuania are high among our potential partners because of the prior experiences UW-Eau Claire has had in those countries."
UW-Eau Claire has worked closely with Latvia to establish faculty and student study programs since the country was freed from Soviet rule in 1991.
Carlson said he was particularly excited that the university and community were working together to establish these international partnerships.
"I think the greater community needs to open up all kinds of relationships with the university, its faculty, staff and students," Carlson said. "This is one way to do it."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 10, 1999