Tohoku University Center at UC Riverside Creates Opportunities for Sister Cities Sendai and Riverside

(Includes excerpts from the article published in the Press-Enterprise written by Mark Muckenfuss)

On February 11, 2013 UCR and Riverside officials hosted representatives of the Japanese university to officially mark the establishment of the new UC Riverside Tohoku University Center, which will act as a funnel for Tohoku students wanting to study here. It also will assist UCR students who want to travel in the other direction.

Visiting Japanese college student Yuri Teraoka, 20, from Tohoku University in Sendai, collects prickly pear cactus cuttings with a classmate from a cactus farm at the El Sobrante Landfill in Corona for re-planting elsewhere on the property. (photo by David Bauman, PE staff photographer; source: PE.com)

Visiting Japanese college student Yuri Teraoka, 20, from Tohoku University in Sendai, collects prickly pear cactus cuttings with a classmate from a cactus farm at the El Sobrante Landfill in Corona for re-planting elsewhere on the property. (photo by David Bauman, PE staff photographer; source: PE.com)

Tohoku University is in Sendai, which has been a sister city to Riverside for more than 50 years. It is one of Japan’s largest universities with 10 separate colleges and nearly 20,000 students. UCR has slightly more than 21,000 students.

Officials said the new center will further strengthen the connection between the two cities, a relationship that escalated a notch two years ago when Riverside reached out in support following a large earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of the Sendai region.

The two universities began talking about expanding their cooperative program three years ago. And last year, the Japanese government awarded Tohoku University a $10 million grant to increase international study over the next five years. Tohoku will be sending its international study students exclusively to UCR.

“This is one of a kind,” said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, director of International Education Programs for UCR Extension.

What makes it different, she said, is the effort to connect the exchange students’ projects beyond the campus, such as the ecological work at the El Sobrante Landfill.

“Both of us are going to work really hard to get the students into the community,” Jenkins-Deas said of the two universities.

Beyond the environmental projects, the current crop of students will be assigned to alternative energy and engineering work beyond the campus boundaries. Jenkins-Deas foresees assignments with city government, local schools and museums.

“I see at least 70 new projects that could come as a result of this,” she said. “Every time we contact someone, about five more ideas come out of things we can do in the future. It just builds, and it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Creating opportunities for students and the community through the relationships and collaborations with our international sister cities demonstrates Riverside’s commitment to intelligently growing the economy through inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches.

Read the full article as published in the Press-Enterprise.

Riverside Sister City Committee Recognized with Program Excellence Award

Riverside’s Sister City Committee was recognized by the US Mexico Sister City Association with a Program Excellence Award at their annual conference in Culver City on March 3.

Riverside established a sister city relationship with Cuautla in 1968 and with Ensenada in 1976. Riverside’s partnerships with these two cities have centered on municipal cooperation, focusing on public safety and health, and building art alliances.

Mayor Ron Loveridge was delighted to receive the award saying: “This honor is a welcome recognition of the mutual benefit that is gained from thriving Sister City programs. We always seek to create economic, educational and cultural opportunities for our community and for our Sister City partner.”

Riverside was recognized for its efforts to provide public safety equipment and training as well as programs to enhance the arts across our borders. Riverside donated a Hazardous Material Response Vehicle, a Battalion Fire Chief Response Vehicle and two paramedic vehicles to the Cuautla Fire Department to aid with their response to chemical and hazard fires. In addition, Riverside provided a comprehensive training workshop for 10 detectives of the State Police of Morelos stationed in Cuautla.

Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz commented, “knowledge sharing is a great way to enrich our sister cities. This program provided a wide range of training in areas including gang intervention, arson, sexual assault, child abuse, kidnapping and bomb investigation.”

Riverside’s excellence was also recognized for its Mexico Sister Cities Arts Programs where arts awareness was elevated through arts sharing. The International Relations Council and Mayor’s office worked with Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA) to arrange for Riverside artists to travel to Ensenada where artworks were created and then brought back for display. The collection also displayed at the arts walk in Ensenada. A similar musical exchange program was created where the Riverside Civic Lite Opera and the Ensenada Chamber Orchestra traveled to each city to join together for joint “sold-out” concert performances.

Riverside is proud of its Sister City relationships and cherishes every opportunity to share in an exchange of culture. The Sister City program provides an opportunity for collaboration around business, culture, education, and humanitarian efforts internationally. Riverside is constantly working to nurture a diverse economy and promote the City as a location of choice and center for creativity in the global economy.

Cultural Exchange Shares Art Between Riverside and Sister City Jiangmen, China

As part of a cultural exchange with one of Riverside’s eight sister cities, the Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA) received 10 works of art from some of the best artists in Jiangmen, China. Five of these works will be donated to various Riverside area cultural institutions. The gift also included 15 works by Jiangmen youth which were displayed in November and December last year along with the 1o paintings in a gallery titled “Riverside/Jiangmen Views”. In completion of the exchange, works by Riverside artists and youth will be displayed in Jiangmen this November.

Two of the artworks will be donated to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and Riverside Art Museum and several other paintings will be auctioned off at various fundraising events for the arts. Mark Schooley, director of the RCAA and a member of the International Relations Council of Riverside board of directors, feels passionate that “Artists are the true ambassadors who can have a major positive impact around the world.” He says that the RCCA is “committed to continue to integrate part of our mission to reach out to creative artists in our sister cities to create shared bonds.”

Riverside is proud of its sister city relationships and cherishes every opportunity to share in an exchange of culture. The International Relations Council furthers this initiative by providing networking opportunities for like-minded community leaders to collaborate around business, culture, education, and humanitarian efforts internationally. Riverside is constantly working to nurture a diverse economy and promote the City as a location of choice and center for creativity in the global economy.