St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is in Israel on an educational trip this week, along with several other U.S. mayors.
They’ll visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Northern border, the Dead Sea and Sderot and meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and Israeli Arab leaders, according to a statement about the trip from the organizing group, Project Interchange, which brings people from around the world to Israel for educational visits.
Project Interchange is paying for the trip. While Coleman is out of the country, Deputy Mayor Paul Williams is in charge of the city.
Some of the topics to be covered on the trip: economic development and technology start-ups, environmental management and renewable energy, absorption and integration of immigrant communities to education, and city administration.
And, the organizers say:
The delegation will observe how Israel balances the preservation of its heritage with modern municipal management, including energy and water management and the provision of social services, demonstrating the unique successes realized by Israeli cities and towns. The mayors will witness Arab-Jewish cooperation firsthand at the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and tour Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city. They will learn about Israel’s humanitarian aid to developing countries at Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, while meetings will take place with clean-tech and high-tech companies to foster bilateral opportunities for collaboration and economic partnership.
Here are the five mayors on the trip, and a quote from each:
Coleman: “I am excited to participate in this program. Israel is an important part of the modern world, and I look forward to learning more about their economic and social approaches.”
Houston Mayor Annise Parker: “Houston and Israel have in common an entrepreneurial spirit and an appetite for innovation.” She continued, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn how we might be able to apply Israel’s model back in Houston.”
Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County: “I’m excited to join fellow U.S. Mayors in Israel for what will undoubtedly be an informative and productive seminar.” He added, “Israel and South Florida share a strong bond, and I look forward to further strengthening our cultural ties and fostering new bilateral economic development opportunities that will positively impact Miami-Dade County.”
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory: “I am looking forward to discussing business opportunities with Israeli leaders that will create jobs in Cincinnati.” He continued, ”Israel is a world leader is several job sectors, including water technology and green industry. Because I’m focused on economic development in those areas, I know this will be an extremely valuable trip.”
Provo, Utah, Mayor John Curtis: “We will see how Israel is dealing with education, economic development, city administration, energy and water management, technology start-ups, diversity issues, and inter-religious cooperation. The mayors of four other cities …will also be on the trip, and I look forward to comparing notes and learning from their experiences running their cities.”
Several city officials from around the U.S. who are not mayors are also on the trip, including Jeremy Hanson Willis, chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.