SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 27, 2017) — Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Friday finalized the signing of a Sister City Agreement with Darmstadt, Germany, marking more than two years of diplomatic communication between the two cities and creating the first sister city relationship between San Antonio and Germany.
The agreement will deepen relationships with Darmstadt and promote economic collaboration and bilateral trade in areas that include aerospace, healthcare and biosciences, sustainable and renewable energy and heritage tourism. The signing was followed by a memorandum of understanding signing between Technical University-Darmstadt and University of Texas at San Antonio.
“Today, our joint effort to promote economic collaboration and to enhance bilateral trade and cooperation will translate into opportunities for the next generation,” Mayor Nirenberg said during his remarks. “The memorandum of understanding that will be signed by UTSA and Technical University-Darmstadt signals that we are already working to make those connections and tangible partnerships for our youth.”
The official signing of the Sister City Agreement was authorized by City Council in May 2017 and will deepen cultural and higher education exchanges in fields that include IT and cybersecurity, heritage tourism, biosciences and health care and new energy. To commemorate the occasion, a Darmstadt streetcar will be named ‘San Antonio’ in a formal naming ceremony.
The Sister City signing is a highlight of a 10-day trip, which the Mayor led to Israel and Germany. The Cultural and Trade Mission in Germany, which runs Oct. 26-28, includes District 8 City Councilman Manny Pelaez and former Mayor Phil Hardberger.
“Peer-to-peer learning is what sister city relationships are all about,” Councilman Pelaez said. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to bring our city's best practices to our counterparts in Germany. Exchanges between industry leaders and elected officials through sister city visits has helped hundreds of cities implement innovative policies and management techniques in sanitation, water, health, transportation, tourism, economic development and education. I’m excited about the chance to learn the lessons that my counterparts in Darmstadt can teach us. Our aim is to promote opportunities for the people of San Antonio through this relationship by fostering cultural exchange, shared research and economic development projects.”
Representatives from UTSA, CPS Energy, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, Blue Star Contemporary and Musical Bridges Around the World were also part of the delegation.
Germany was identified as a targeted country in the city’s 2015 trade and investment strategy. Germany is Europe’s biggest economy and the third largest export nation in the world. The country is San Antonio’s sixth largest export destination and numerous German companies are located in the San Antonio area.
Darmstadt, Germany will be San Antonio’s 11th Sister City through Sister Cities International, the nonpartisan 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties and states across the U.S.
San Antonio’s 10 other Sister Cities include: Monterrey, Mexico; Guadalajara, Mexico; Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain; Gwangju, South Korea; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Kumamoto, Japan; Chennai, India; Wuxi, China; and Windhoek, Namibia, as well as two additional Friendship Cities, which are: Suzhou, China and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Mayor’s full remarks and photos attached.