Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Plan to Visit with Mayor, Officials in Burlington Friendship City of Nishinomiya, Japan


March 13, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Plan to Visit with Mayor, Officials in Burlington Friendship City of Nishinomiya, Japan
Mayors Will Renew Status as “Environmental Learning Cities”

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that he would be traveling to Nishinomiya, Japan, a Burlington “Friendship City,” as part of the two cities’ ongoing relationship around issues of sustainability.  While in Japan, Mayor Weinberger and Nishinomiya Mayor Masahiro Kouno will sign a second joint communiqué recommitting the cities as “Environmental Learning Cities” with the goals of promoting shared learning and building more sustainable and ecologically vibrant communities.  The Mayor also will participate in a symposium on sustainable development and education.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue and strengthen the decade-long relationship between Burlington and Nishinomiya that has enriched both communities,” said Mayor Weinberger.  “I expect to return to Burlington with lessons and knowledge for achieving Burlington’s climate and sustainability goals, and a broader perspective on municipal management.”

The City of Burlington’s relationship with Nishinomiya began in 1998 when a Vermont delegation that included representatives from Shelburne Farms, the Vermont Department of Education, and Burlington educators visited the LEAF:  Learning and Ecological Activities Foundation for Children in Nishinomiya.  The Vermont delegation was inspired by both school and community-based sustainability initiatives.  The relationship was formalized in 2003, when then-mayors Peter Clavelle and Satoru Yamada signed the original joint communiqué in Nishinomiya.  At the time, Mayor Kouno served Nishinomiya as Deputy Mayor.

Since then, achievements of the relationship have included the development of the very successful Sustainability Academy magnet school in the Old North End, teacher and superintendent exchange trips, and collaborative sustainability education projects between schools and businesses in both cities.  The relationship between Burlington and Nishinomiya also has inspired work around Vermont in sustainable education.  Mayor Weinberger’s visit has been organized and funded by LEAF and the Rotary Club of Nishinomiya.  The trip will include visits to environmental learning sites, multiple schools, and meetings with LEAF staff, Mayor Kouno, and the Nishinomiya Rotary Club.  Mayor Weinberger – an avid baseball fan and player – also expects to visit Kōshien Stadium, home to Japan’s national high school baseball championship and the Hanshin Tigers (who are often described as the Red Sox of Japanese baseball). 

Mayor Weinberger’s address at the environmental symposium will highlight Burlington’s progress on sustainability issues, including a report about Sustainability Academy, the adoption of planBTV, Burlington’s waterfront redevelopment plans, and the three-week IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagement in Burlington last spring.

Mayor Weinberger’s travel partner will be his eight-year-old daughter, Li Lin, whose travel and related expenses will be paid for personally by Mayor Weinberger.  The Mayor and Li Lin depart from Burlington International Airport (BTV) this Saturday, March 15 and will return to BTV next Saturday, March 22.  The Mayor plans to keep Burlingtonians informed of his experiences through posts to the Mayor’s Office Facebook page.

City Council President Joan Shannon will serve as Acting Mayor while Mayor Weinberger visits Japan, as per City Charter protocol.


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Mayor's Office