The Fredericksburg-Kathmandu Sister City initiative grew out of the tremendous outpouring of good will of Virginians and Nepalis who joined together with Rise Nepal and other partners after the tragic 2015 Nepal earthquakes. A civic-led initiative, it includes current and future exchanges fostering cross cultural understanding and positive outcomes in community service and the environment, academic exchanges between the University of Mary Washington and Tribhuvan University in Nepal, arts and culture, business, trekking and tourism. The scope includes the broader Kathmandu Valley and Fredericksburg-Rappahannock region, and other Virginia-Nepal exchange supporters.
The initiative was endorsed by the Fredericksburg City Council in December 2015 along with letters of support for sister city relations exchanged between the two cities. Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw serves as honorary chairperson of the Fredericksburg-Kathmandu Sister City, chaired by Nepali-American Purna Shrestha with meetings held at UMW hosted by the Center for International Relations and Dr. Jose Sainz, Director.
The community is welcomed to participate and follow the initiative on Facebook at: Fredericksburg Nepal Exchange Facebook or contact Purna Shrestha, Chair, at Here and Abroad Deli, 1004 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401 (540) 371-2999, David Caprara, Coordinator (email@example.com) or Culture Chair Sue Henderson with the Fredericksburg Arts Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In 2015, Fredericksburg and Este, Italy became sister cities, after an inaugural delegation from Fredericksburg visited Este in November 2014, and the mayors of both cities exchanged letters of intent. The two cities have much in common, including proximity to major international cities (Este is 60 miles west of Venice) and location on major transportation corridors; rich history and heritage; active high quality arts and cultural life; nearby wineries and agricultural production; and numerous tourism and travel programs.
In June 2015, a delegation from Este visited Fredericksburg to explore cultural, artistic, educational, and economic possibilities for exchanges and mutual support. The Fredericksburg-Este Association is a membership-based non-profit organization; and offers regular meetings, numerous programs, and welcomes participation. More information is available on the website, Este Delegation website, on the Facebook page, Fredericksburg Este Twinning, and via email at Este Delegation
In May 2010, a delegation from Fredericksburg visited Schwetzingen, Germany, at the invitation of Schwetzingen's Lord Mayor Rene Poltl. During that visit Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak signed a letter of intent to pursue a sister city relationship with the German city.
Schwetzingen, located near Heidelberg, has a lot in common with Fredericksburg. Both are small cities with civic pride, natural beauty and a sense of history. Both are with driving distance of mayor cities - Frankfurt and Washington. Schwetzingen, however, is best known for its culture. The roots of that culture lie in the 18th century, when Prince-Elector Karl Theodor chose Schwetzingen for his summer residence, building a palace and an elegant garden. There, he held what amounted to an international summer festival, attracting artists, musicians, writers and notables from across Europe.
Since the initial visit in 2010, adults and students from Schwetzingen and Fredericksburg have enjoyed cultural exchanges and made enduring friendships. Groups from Fredericksburg have experienced Schwetzingen's springtime Spargelfest, celebrating the harvest of the region's famed white asparagus, and toured the world-class garden. German visitors have learned about the history of the Fredericksburg area, including a memorable trip during the 2012 Battle of Fredericksburg sesquicentennial. During the December 2012 visit, Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw and Lord Mayor Poltl signed an agreement, formalizing the bond between the two cities.
The group meets regularly for Stammtisch on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00pm at J. Brian's Tap House, as well as on the third Tuesday of every month at 11:30am at Eileen's Bakery and Cafe. See their Facebook page under Schwetzburg for more details.
Prince's Town, Ghana
In December 2006, the City of Fredericksburg officially became the first city in the Commonwealth of Virginia to form a partnership with an African city. The City of Prince's Town, which actively participated in the slave trade some 400 years ago, is a small city located on the Gold Coast of Africa. According to their website, on January 1, 1681, a Brandenburger expedition of two ships, arrived in the Gold Coast, and began to build a strong fort between Axim and Cape of Three Points. The original name of this West African town was "Pokezoe" but after the fort was built, it was renamed Fort Gross-Friedrichsburg in honor of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm I, of Prussia.
The Sister City signing ceremony took place with Mayor Tom Tomzak and Ghana's Deputy Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Mr Joe Baidoo-Ansah signing on behalf of their respective cities. Her Excellency Pamela E. Bridgewater, US Ambassador to Ghana, received numerous gifts including the key to the City of Fredericksburg from Mayor Tom Tomzak. Mayor Tomzak and Ms Royster were each presented with a wooden stool.