The Sister Communities Initiative:  A Local and Global Effort
by Jim Kavanaugh, Ridgway Town Councilor
May 25, 2013 | 903 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Thank you for your coverage of our Sisters Community Initiative in the May 16  issue of The Watch. I would like to correct an inaccuracy and misquote in the article, however, as well as to provide the public more information on this important effort.

The purpose of the Sisters Community Initiative is to increase global awareness and cultural exchange in the Town of Ridgway by collaboratively establishing a “small network family” of rural towns, in other parts of the world, with like values, geography, and interests. Given the importance of youth in our community, and the initiative’s focus on cross-cultural learning, our Town Council commissioned students of Ridgway High to screen and identify possible candidates for sister communities. Due to our proximity to Central America, council also decided to begin building its family network by partnering with a small town in a neighboring, Spanish-speaking country. Some of the criteria to assist students in finding a good “sister match” included population, geography, “green development,” creative arts, and reliable Internet access.

The three Central American towns presently under consideration by council are  Constanza, Dominican Republic; Monteverde, Costa Rica; and La Palma, El Salvador. The article mentioned that “there has been a war in El Salvador,” which is true. It officially began in 1979 and ended with the signing of the Peace Accord in Chapultapec, Mexico, on Jan. 16, 1992.  Contrary to the article’s statement, negotiations are not “still going on between the government and the rebels.”  Furthermore, in contrast to the erroneously reported comments that “There are peace talks in La Palma,” and “That’s the direction they’re going in,” La Palma was a past site for several Central American peace talks. Although post-war El Salvador continues to have areas of social violence, primarily the result of gang involvement, there are many regions of peace and stability. La Palma is one of them. In fact, it is a thriving center of Salvadoran creative arts, spearheaded by the reknown artist, Fernando Llort.  In conclusion, a primary purpose of our Sisters Community Initiative is to promote more global understanding in western Colorado.  

We appreciate the efforts of The Watch to help with this effort.


– Jim Kavanaugh, Ridgway Town Councilor 

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