Hiratsuka - Lawrence
Program Exchange information


The development of the Lawrence Sister Cities Program

(This information provided curtesy of Carol Shankel, 2/96; written in 1991 when she was chair of the advisories board. Any mistakes in typing are mine)

The Lawrence Sister Cities program was established to create official relationships between Lawrence and cities in other countries in order to develop cultural, educational, and economic exchanges. When two cities focus attention on each other in all these areas, people share communal experiences, develop better understanding of each other's cultures, learn from each others, and bring a new dimension to their quality of life. Lawrence is a member of Sister Cities International, an organization committed to furthering international understanding and peace.

The Lawrence City Commission, headed by Mayor Sandy Praeger, appointed Marnie Argersinger and Carol Shankel to organize a sister cities steering committee in September 1986. The Commission asked the committee to do two things: first, to study and recommend an organizational structure that could implement one or more sister city relationships; second, to find a sister city in Japan.

After consulting with national board members and area organizations, the committee recommended that the Lawrence sister city program should be affiliated with the city. The City Commission passed an ordinance creating a Sister Cities Advisory Board on June 16, 1987. The seven-member board considered a number of potential sister city affiliations. They preferred a city of reasonably comparable population size to Lawrence, with a university, and with interest in cultural and educational activities.

Eutin, germany became Lawrence's first sister city on October 27, 1989 when a delegation led by Mayor Gernot-E. Grimm visited Lawrence. The agreement, facilitated by Professor Frank Baron, culminated a 25-year relationship between the University of Kansas and the citizens of Eutin, who have provided homestays for students attending KU's summer language programs.

Establishing an affiliation with Japan took several years. The advisory board selected Hiratsuka on the basis of information from Professor Ted Kuwana, who was aquainted with Professor Shizuo Fujiwara, science director of Kanagawa University there. Carol Shankel, accompanied by Mr. Nobuhiro Uyeno, head of the Japan Municipal League for International Friendship in Tokyo (and a friend of Buford Watson, former Lawrence city manager), visited Hiratsuka city officials, Deputy Mayor Masaru Yui and Chief Secretary Yoshimi Tomita, in April 1987. Subsequently Mr. Eiichi Shimizu of Tokyo, a KU alumnus; Mr. Robert Hitchner, the Tokyo representative of the Kansas Department of Commerce; Professor Fujiwara, and others spoke positively of Lawrence.

Hiratsuka sent a delegation to Lawrence in February 1990, and a delegation from Lawrence paid a return visit in May, 1990. A Lawrence delegation, led by Mayor Shirley Martin Smith, went to Japan to sign an official sister city agreement on September 21 , 1990. Mayor Kyoichi Ishikawa brought a delegation to Lawrence the following month.

The Sister Cities Advisory Board appointed two committees, Friends of Eutin chaired by Professor Frank Baron and Dr. Charles Loveland, president; and Friends of Hiratsuka chaired by Professor Ted Kuwana, to organize visits, supervise exchanges, raise funds, and generate and implement other sister city projects. Both Eutin and Hiratsuka are active communities that are enthusiastic about their relationships with Lawrence and expect to generate a variety of exchanges.

Hiratsuka-Lawrence Update July 1996

Since the Lawrence-Hiratsuka sister city relationship was inaugurated in 1990:

Five cherry trees were planted in the Buford M. Watson Jr."train" park October, 1995 to commemorate the fifth year of the relationship. The City of Hiratsuka also pledged approximately $5,000 to assist in building a Japanese garden in a park within the next 5 years, perhaps in Constance or Centennial parks. (For further information contact City Manager Mike Wildgen or Fred DeVictor, Director of Parks and Recreation.)

100 Lawrence junior and senior high school students accompanied by 26 teachers and other representatives of the school district have visited Hiratsuka to participate in Sister City school and homestay exchanges.

108 Hiratsuka junior and senior high school students have visited Lawrence for homestay and exchange activities. (For further information about Lawrence student exchanges call Sue Hack or Randy Weseman.)

Sunflower Elementary School in Lawrence and Nadeshiko Elementary School in Hiratsuka (linked by their names--nadeshiko is the official Hiratsuka flower, sunflowers the Kansas state flower) began exchanges between the two schools by planting gardens. Hiratsuka students have Kansas sunflowers in theirs; Lawrence students have nadeshiko (a variety of dianthus called "pinks"). Furthermore, at Nadeshiko Kominkan (community center) citizens have planted both Nadeshiko pinks and KS sunflowers side-by-side. (For further information call Sunflower Elementary School)

The Lawrence Photo Alliance has held several photo exhibition exchanges with a Hiratsuka photo group. The last exhibit of Lawrence photos shown in Hiratsuka was March, 1996. (For further information about photo exchanges, call Jim Regan (913) 841-2727, 841-2597)

Sunflower Cablevision and Shonan Cable Network in Hiratsuka have exchanged and aired community feature programs. Shonan TV has made films of both official delegations and student groups from Lawrence to show in Hiratsuka. Miki Murakami, a Shonan TV producer-director, spent several days in Lawrence during November, 1995. (For further information about the TV exchange, contact Sunflower Cablevision.)

A 12-member delegation of state legislators from across the nation (led by Senator Sandy Praeger) traveled to Japan to research health care and were able to include Hiratsuka in their itinerary because of our Sister City relationship. (For further information, contact Sandy Praeger.)

The Lawrence Sister Cities program has generated nearly 300 visitors from Hiratsuka in five years; these visitors have spent about 550 hotel nights in Lawrence.

Kansas University - Kanagawa University Exchanges (to 1996)

95 Kanagawa University students have each spent 6 weeks during spring semesters in Lawrence studying at KU. Each of the 5 groups have been accompanied by two or three Kanagawa University professors. About 58 KU students have studied Japanese language, culture, and business during six-week summer sessions at KU-East.

Kanagawa University and the City of Hiratsuka regularly request the Applied English Center at KU to select English language instructors to work in Hiratsuka. Kansas University instructors Connie Roguski (1992-present), Lori Sandholt (1994-95), Rex Armstrong (1995-present) have taught English full-time at Kanagawa University; the City of Hiratsuka requests teachers (usually new college graduates, typically from the Japanese language program at KU) from Lawrence to work in the Hiratsuka school system teaching English. (For further information about the KU student exchanges and the English teacher program call Elizabeth Soppelsa at (913) 864-4606.)

The Hiratsuka Puppet Theatre troupe has twice brought programs to Lawrence and Kansas City, and KU theater students performed a Japanese kyogen play in Hiratsuka. (For further information about the theater exchange call Andrew Tsubaki at (913) 864-3534, 842-3923.

The KU-West--KU-East alliance has also included faculty exchanges and lectures in the areas of science, business, economics, law, education, and social welfare. A 10-member Fulbright group of KU business and economic faculty and a 12-member group of KU education faculty have visited Kanagawa University as a result of the exchange agreement. (For further information about the KU faculty exchanges call George Woodyard (913) 864-4141.

(For further information about the background of the Lawrence-Hiratsuka Sister City Relationship call Carol Shankel (913) 842-1646.)

Sister City Video Exchanges

Sunflower Cablevision has provided footage of the Kathy Hamilton Reports and Lawrence Moments in History which were used to create a 15 minute monthly program (Viva Lawrence!) airing daily. Primary support for this program was provided by volunteers from Shonan English Speaking Society (Shonan ESS), who did much of the translation to and from English and Japanese, as well as hosting the program with Miki Murakami-san from Shonan Cable Network television.

From December 1994 to April 1996, a "Kevin's Closeup" feature of original video shot in Lawrence by Kevin Sullivan, living in Hiratsuka since 4/92.

The Cablevision video exchange from Lawrence is currently dormant, though Kathy Hamilton has received several programs (3/96) produced by the city of Hiratsuka that may yet find airtime on channel 6, and plans to produce at least one segment about Hiratsuka (June?) in her new show "The Thing Is...........". If you have any ideas for things to spotlight in Lawrence, you might give her a call at Sunflower Cablevision.

Pinckney Elementary School has also produced some video and sent it to Hiratsuka. I had hoped to show it on my program, but with that cancelled, it will need some help from the school district in Hiratsuka to find a suitable school here willing to create a similar exchange.

West Junior High School has also produced and sent some video; unfortunately this is in the same status as the Pinckney programs. Both the Pinckney and WJHS videos will be shown to some educators who are planning on making the trip to Lawrence in October, 1996.

If you or a friend have video or film that could lend itself to introducing Lawrence to people in Hiratsuka, feel free to contact me via E-mail at csr-kts@gol.com, or regular mail:

Kevin Sullivan
454-5 Tokunobu, Hiratsuka-shi
Kanagawa-ken, 254 JAPAN.

I have hours of video from Hiratsuka, just haven't found the time to edit it into a cohesive program yet. Eventually, I hope to get some put together and available in your local Lawrence video spots (Hastings, Dillons etc). (Hint: Lawrence Public Library is always free!)

Lawrence, Kansas Sister Cities Advisory Board(1996)

Updated June 17, 1997.
c. 1997 Kevin Sullivan
Base URL: http://www2.gol.com/users/csr-kts/