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Introduction: Sister Cities
Milwaukee and Irpin have been sister cities since 2018. Friends of Be an Angel has worked together as a mediator between the two city councils to facilitate reconstruction and relief efforts for the city of Irpin, which has suffered heavily during the assault on Kyiv in the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
Joint cooperation efforts between our partner organizations
The sister city program, also known as the twinning program, is an international initiative that establishes formal relationships between two cities from different countries. The primary objective of the program is to foster cultural, educational, economic, and social exchanges between the partner cities, promoting mutual understanding and cooperation at the grassroots level. Through this program, cities create meaningful connections and engage in various collaborative activities to promote cross-cultural understanding and friendship.
When two cities decide to become sister cities, they enter into a formal agreement that outlines the areas of cooperation and the objectives of their partnership. These objectives can vary widely depending on the needs and interests of the participating cities. Some common areas of focus include cultural exchanges, educational partnerships, economic development initiatives, and collaborations on environmental or sustainability projects.
The sister city program encourages citizens, organizations, and local governments from both cities to actively participate in exchange activities. These exchanges may involve cultural events, festivals, art exhibitions, and performances, allowing people to learn about each other’s traditions, customs, and ways of life. Educational exchanges often include student exchange programs, joint research projects, and academic collaborations, promoting cross-cultural learning and academic growth.
Furthermore, the sister city program can facilitate economic cooperation through trade missions, business forums, and investment opportunities, creating opportunities for local industries and businesses to connect and thrive in the global market. By promoting open communication and collaboration between cities, the program fosters goodwill and understanding, contributing to a more interconnected and peaceful world.
Irpin - Milwaukee Sister City Project
Since March of 2018, Milwaukee and Irpin have been Sister Cities. During the first weeks of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian Forces have been waging a massive campaign to take Kyiv. On the way to Kyiv lies Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin.
For over one month, the battle of Irpin took place, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. Russian forces were closing in on Kyiv and Irpin was one of the last strongholds to stand in the way. Milwaukee supported its sister city by providing armored vests. Mayor (first name) Markushin was the only Mayor in Ukraine to personally defend his city, leading Irpin’s Territorial Guard. He had not previously served in the military, but he mobilized his entire administration to hold back the invasion force. His efforts were critical in saving the capital of Kyiv from being captured, delaying the Russian advance until the Ukrainian Army could arrive and counter-attack.
The Russian military was never able to cross the Irpin River, and within weeks were forced into a humiliating retreat from the entire region. After Irpin was liberated, Mayor Markushin entered Bucha nearby to inform that city that they were also free from occupation. For all his efforts to defend Irpin and his country, Mayor Markushin is celebrated as a national war hero.
Since then, Milwaukee has been in close cooperation with Irpin, facilitated by Friends of Be an Angel and our partners. Anya Verkhovskaya, director of Friends of Be an Angel, sits on the board of the Sister City Project in Milwaukee. Together, we will assist the city of Irpin in their efforts to rebuild and restore it to its peaceful nature.