Redlands Sister Cites Executive Summary of Activities The Redlands Sister Cities Board of Directors voted to allocate funds to commission murals be painted of our three sister cities (San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, Linli, China, and Hino, Japan) on the city’s recently completed bike and hiking trail called the Orange Blossom Trail. The Redlands Sister Cities Association adopted a portion of the trail from the city of Redlands. The goal of painting the murals was twofold: to inform the citizens of Redlands of its long history (since 1962 with Hino, Japan) and also educate people using the trail about the unique cultural heritage of our sister cities. In addition, the Redlands City Council and the Redlands Sister Cities approved funds for a local artist to design and construct a cultural art exhibit that symbolizes our relationship with our sister cities. A clock tower with three clocks representing the time zones of each sister city was erected in the city’s central park and it has become one of the destination locations for the Hino Sister Cities exchange students and foreign visitors as well as Redlands’ residents when they visit the downtown, and for the Redlands exchange students when they participate in the orientation and hosting of exchange students. Listing of Sister Cities Redlands has three sister cities. The oldest relationship is with Hino, Japan, established in 1962. Hino is located approximately 20 miles west of Tokyo. San Miguel De Allende is our second city. It is a historic Spanish colonial city about 170 northeast of Mexico City. It is a cultural heritage site and Redlands students and community members visited in 2002, but recently their sister cities organization has been dormant. Our last sister city is Linli, China, which is about 200 kilometers northwest of the capital of the Hunan Province, Changsha. Redlands Sister Cities Association organized a teacher exchange program and three teachers went to teach in the elementary and secondary schools in 2005. Active Sister City Currently, the Redlands/Hino Sister Cities relationship is the most active. Since its establishment in 1962, the cities have been involved in variety of cultural and educational exchanges. The first exchange began in 1963 when high school students visited and stayed with families. Since then, many other groups from Redlands including the high school’s marching band and soccer teams, Redlands Fire Fighters, Police Officers, and city council members have had the opportunity to travel to Hino and learn about the city’s culture and heritage. Over the years, Redlands and Hino have coordinated a student exchange, and this past year Redlands sent 16 high school students and three chaperones during spring break, staying in Hino but also traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. Not only do our two cities have an active student exchange but other cultural and arts events such as photography displays, art, food, and dancing exhibitions have been scheduled. Program Improvements In the last year the Clock Tower and the Orange Blossom Trail murals have had several official visits. As part of the city’s beautification and upgrade of the parks in Redlands, the Parks and Recreation Commission toured and commented how they have enhanced that area of the trail. The murals’ next official visitor was from the mayor of Hino and his entourage (see attached photo). As Mayor Otsubo visited the murals and Peace Pole Park, he expressed his appreciation for the positive messages the murals present and commented how they will continue to foster goodwill and cooperation between our two cities. Lastly, the most recent official visit was from the exchange students from Hino. After our local newspaper published a story of the murals, other sister cities’ related art and cultural projects around the city were recognized and commissioned. The sister cities Peace Pole and garden, which is located by the police department and city hall, and the sister cities clock, were unveiled at Ed Hale’s Park (downtown Redlands) continues to promote the principles of Sister Cities International and our sister cities’ mission statement, “promoting education, understanding and friendship at home and abroad.” A video of the unveiling of the sister cities clock is available to view on our sister cities Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CityofRedlands/videos/820420575010747/
Sister Cities International and Redlands SCA Mission The Sister Cities Clock and the Orange Blossom Trail projects continue to foster our partnership between the city and Redlands Sister Cities Association by recognizing different cultures around the world and within our own community. Immigrants as well as 2nd generation families live and work in Redlands. The downtown clock structure symbolizes the bond we have with our international communities and the Orange Blossom murals depict the uniqueness of each our sister cities and celebrate their differences. The projects have also encouraged discussion with the city and our association of adding additional murals along the trail and within the city park areas. Several other organizations such as the local Rotary Club and the University of Redlands have followed the Redlands Sister Cities Association’s example and have adopted part of the trail and painted other cultural and historical murals.