Since 1975, Chattanooga has set up Sister City relationships with the following cities:
• Hamm, Germany
• Givatayim, Israel
• Nizhnii Tagil, Russia
• Gangneung, South Korea
• Wuxi, China
• Wolfsburg, Germany
Chattanooga is expanding its Sister Cities circle to the Italian coast.
Mayor Andy Berke announced Monday that Manfredonia, a city of about 58,000 on the east coast of Italy, will become the Scenic City's seventh Sister City.
"Our community has participated in the Sister City initiative for almost 40 years. During that time we have cultivated strong, cooperative relationships with our sister cities in Germany, China, Israel, Russia and Korea," the mayor said in a statement. "And now it is my honor to carry on this tradition by recognizing Chattanooga's newest sister city Manfredonia, Italy. I look forward to working with the leadership of Manfredonia to promote our cultural ties."
Karen Claypool, president of the Sister City Association of Chattanooga, said officials and residents of both cities know that the new Sister City relationship is a good match.
"Both sides are willing to make this work," Claypool said Monday night before an association event, titled "Flavors of the World -- Italian Style," at the GPS Founders House where the newest designation was announced. "We are not interested in Sister Cities in name only. This is supported by people here and there. Already we are talking about student exchanges and business opportunities."
The local Sister City organization is made up of volunteers "interested in establishing meaningful and lasting global friendships through cultural, educational, institutional and commercial exchanges," according to the group's website.