Tonight, Mayor Patrick Murphy will announce the names of the five Lowellians chosen to serve on the Sister Cities Task Force, charged with developing strategic goals for and guiding the Sister Cities Initiative through the committees established to maintain each sister city relationship.
Strengthening the relationships between Lowell and its nine existing sister cities, as well as forming new relationships, has been one of Mayor Murphy’s top goals.
Lowell’s nine Sister Cities are: Limerick, Ireland; St. Die des Vosges, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Barclayville, Liberia; Lobito, Angola; Winneba, Ghana; Bamenda, Cameroon; Berdyansk, Ukraine; and Bryansk, Russia.
In addition to providing a better cultural understanding between cities in two nations, the Sister City relationship can also be extended to educational, business and economic development connections.
Earlier this summer the Lowell city Council approved the Sister Cities Initiative Charter, providing a strong foundation on which to continue building the program.
The newly formed Sister Cities Task Force includes:
Julio de Carvalho: Originally from Cape Verde, Julio holds a doctorate in educational leadership and has worked as a foreign language teacher at Lowell High School since 2001. He also is the director of the Lowell High School summer school program and is fluent in Portuguese, English, French, Cape-Verdean and other African languages.
“I am diplomatic, tactful and able to maintain positive, productive and long-term working relationships,” he wrote to Mayor Murphy in his letter expressing interest in the position.
Greg Page: The former aide to Mayor Murphy, Greg was instrumental in reviving the Sister Cities Program.
A Captain in the U.S. Army National Guard, Greg is currently studying for his MBA at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and is fluent in French and Spanish, and does understand and can speak some Khmer.
“I believe that Lowell, a city with 22,000 foreign-born residents (in addition to many other who have lived abroad), can become a national leader among small cities in the realm of international relationship,” he wrote. “Together with four other motivated individuals who care about results, I can help ensure that LSCI leaves the nest and becomes successfully self-sustaining and operational as a bottom-up entity that does not depend on a small number of individuals to carry it along.”
Beatriz Sierra: For more than 20 years Beatriz has been organizing events for the city’s Colombian community. She previously instructed Colombian folkloric dance groups, participating in festival throughout New England. Beatriz also coordinates visits from the Colombian Consulate to Lowell.
Beatriz currently works in Youth Employer Services for the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board at the Career Center of Lowell, building relationships with employers to secure available jobs and match them with potential employees.
For the last five years has been sponsoring two schools in Titiribi, Colombia, providing school supplies for 180 low-income students and didactic materials for their teachers.
Anne Sheehy: A life-long Lowellian, Sheehy has a strong technology background, having worked as a district-wide Instructional Technology Specialist in the Lowell Public Schools. Anne holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Salem State University and is currently studying for her doctorate in Leadership in Schools from UMass Lowell.
“I feel that it is important to have a representative of our educational community on this task,” she wrote.
Tooch Van: As the Coordinator of Middlesex Community College’s Multicultural Center and an International Student Advisor, Tooch counsels and supports the college’s international and minority students. He also teaches Khmer language, history and culture as an adjunct faculty member.
Tooch has also served as an event coordinator for Lowell’s Southeast Asian Water Festival, is a native Khmer speaker, fluent in English and conversant in French. He holds a master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
“This is a group with varied perspectives that should serve the city well,” said Mayor Murphy.