Tuesday 16 May 2023

Erbil welcomes Nashville’s Mayor Cooper and Sister City delegation

Washington, D.C., USA (us.gov.krd) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw were among the many KRG officials, NGOs and civil society organizations that welcomed the Board of Sister Cities of Nashville and the city’s Mayor, John Cooper.

The delegation, led by Mayor Cooper, arrived in Erbil on May 16 for a week-long fact-finding visit in which they toured Erbil city, the countryside around the province, were hosted at a reception and met various organizations, judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers and artists so as to assess whether Nashville and Erbil could forge a sister-city partnership.

The delegation also met with the Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Rewaz Fayiq, Minister Safeen Dizayee, Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations,  and visited hospitals, schools, the Erbil citadel and bazaar, and the Barzani National Memorial and Anfal cemetery.

This visit marks another milestone in the ongoing efforts by several entities to foster a sister-city partnership, including the KRG Representation in the United States, the Kurdish diaspora sister-city committee in Nashville; the Kurdish American Cultural Institute, and the Office of the Governor of Erbil, the US Consulate General in Erbil and State Department.

The collective effort has resulted in a visit to Nashville last year by Erbil Governor Khoshnaw, a reception in Nashville hosted by the KRG Representation in December 2022, and this visit by the Board of Sister Cities of Nashville and Mayor Cooper to Erbil.

KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman has described Nashville as a place where Kurdish people feel at home and the Representation has played a pivotal role in coordinating with Nashville officials and community members, the Kurdish diaspora in Nashville, US officials, the Mayor's Office in Nashville, and the Sister City Board of Nashville.

In an interview with Kurdistan24 during his trip to Erbil, Mayor Cooper expressed his belief that the Sister City partnership is a bipartisan proposal that will facilitate exchanges in culture, education, commerce, and tourism.