About 10 delegates from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Tyler’s newest Sister Cities partner, are expected to arrive today for a weekend visit that coincides with the annual observation of Cinco de Mayo.
The delegates are here to become better acquainted with Tyler, its attractions and its people, officials said.
“Fostering relationships through the Sister City program allows us to see that we all share the goal of creating a strong quality of life for our residents, while celebrating our diverse cultures,” Mayor Barbara Bass said.
A variety of activities are planned, including a welcome reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at Gallery Main Street and participation in Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo celebration at the East Texas Fairgrounds.
Tyler delegates paid a first visit last year to the historic Mexican town, known for its pleasant climate, cobblestone streets and friendly faces, returning with a bounty of ideas for creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
Price Arredondo, who oversees the Hispanic Business Service Office of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, said the close proximity is helpful for exploring opportunities in business, education and tourism for both cities.
San Miguel, in Central Mexico, was founded in 1542.
It’s about three hours from Tyler by airplane and is recognized as the city’s fourth Sister City partner, following cities in Poland, Chile and Japan.
Relations between the city and San Miguel were formalized in November 2010 during a twinning ceremony at Tyler City Hall.
Local officials said they were impressed with San Miguel’s efforts to preserve its historic architecture and sites, some of which date to the 1600s.
Mayor Bass and San Miguel’s mayor, Luz Nunez Flores, are both recognized as the first female mayors of their respective cities.
Tyler Junior College President Dr. Mike Metke, one of a handful of Tyler Sister Cities board members who paid a visit last year to San Miguel, has said he sees benefits in student-exchange opportunities.
Tyler Junior College offers training in the medical profession, education and special trades to name a few.
Metke said today’s college grads are viewed favorably in the job market if they can speak more than one language and demonstrate an awareness of other cultures.
“It gives them such a leg up compared to everyone else,” he said.
Arredondo said he’s already heard from people interested in traveling to San Miguel to learn Spanish.
“We’re laying the groundwork for those exchanges,” he said. “Our hope, as we move forward, is to continue to enrich the relationship.”
Tyler Sister Cities is part of Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 to create strong partnerships between the United States and international communities.