Mayor to lead Chattanooga delegation on trip to Japan

Mayor to lead Chattanooga delegation on trip to Japan

September 11th, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Southside Community Park in Chattanooga, Tenn. The park completes the transformation of the long-vacant site to a gathering place for the neighborhood.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

The Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee, also known as Chatono, has announced that a delegation of 10 Chattanoogans led by Mayor Andy Berke has been invited to Tono, Japan, by Mayor Toshiaki Honda to participate in a signing ceremony coinciding with Tono's largest annual festival, the Tono Matsuri, on Sept. 15.

"Coming on the heels of successful exploratory delegations from Chattanooga in September 2016 and Tono in January 2017, this new relationship is the culmination of over 30 years of student exchanges between the two cities," according to news release from Chatono.

Since 1990, Chattanooga and Tono have exchanged high school and junior high students in an annual exchange program. 

"Chattanooga and Tono seek to use this new sister city relationship to promote exchanges in government, business, and tourism," the release states.

The trip will be from Sept. 15-18 and delegates include: 

  • Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke       
  • Maura Sullivan, chief operating officer for the City of Chattanooga
  • James McKissic, director of Chattanooga's Office of Multicultural Affairs
  • Karen Claypool, president of the Chattanooga Sister City Association
  • Strat Parrott, vice-president for Tono, Japan, of the Chattanooga Sister City Association and chairman of the Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee
  • Linda Allen, vice-chairwoman of the Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee
  • Parker Allen, vice-chair of the Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee
  • Louisa Mesich, advisor with the Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee
  • Larry Mesich, Chattanooga resident
  • Martha Levardsen, Chattanooga resident

The Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee was established in 2015 as a grassroots initiative to deepen ties between the cities of Chattanooga and Tono, Iwate, Japan.

"Based on a relationship of friendship and trust built from years of international exchange," the release states, "the Chattanooga Tono Friendship Committee was established to create a sister city relationship between Chattanooga and Tono, facilitate continuation of our successful student exchanges, and spearheading efforts to deepen ties in the fields of culture, business, tourism, and other mutually beneficial areas."


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