Sister cities and friendship cities
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The main aim of friendship city contact is to create friendship and understanding between peoples and to lay a foundation of goodwill and exchange for future generations.
In September 2006, a friendship city partnership agreement between Merri-bek City Council and the City of Canterbury - Bankstown was established to promote and encourage mutual understanding to develop and benefit the diverse communities and organisations within each municipality. The city is home to over 130 nationalities, with a majority of its residents being born overseas. Hence Canterbury calls itself the 'City of Cultural Diversity'.
In 2003, Merri-bek City Council and Mansfield Council formalised their relationship by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding.
The relationship supports and encourages work on issues in the areas of economic development, staff exchange and training, emergency management, tourism, student education exchanges and general municipal support.
In 2000, Merri-bek City Council, along with Hume City Council, established a friendship relationship with the District of Aileu in Timor-Leste (East Timor). The relationship was formalised with a Friendship Agreement signed in 2005, and was renewed in 2010.
Aileu has a population of 45,500 (2010) and an area of 729 square kilometres south of the Timor-Leste capital, Dili. The majority of the population depends heavily on subsistence agriculture. Access to government and utility services and transport is limited. Aileu District, along with the other 12 districts in Timor-Leste, is planned to transition to municipal status by 2017, after which it will have an elected local Council.
In 2011, following a delegation from Corum, Turkey to Merri-bek, a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into between Corum City Council and Merri-bek City Council.
Corum is a landlocked northern Anatolian city located inland in the central Black Sea Region of Turkey, about 244 kilometres from Ankara. There is a very large population from Corum living in Merri-bek today. As a symbol of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding a time capsule was buried at the Coburg Lake Reserve. Members of the Turkish community were invited to place items of significance in the time capsule which will be opened in 2050.
In 2004, following a delegation received from the City of Messina, a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into to further celebrate the common social and migratory connections between Merri-bek, Messina and the wider region of Sicily.
In January 2007 the relationship between Merri-bek City Council and the Municipality of Solarino was reaffirmed through a renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding, which had been adopted by the former Brunswick City Council.
Solarino is located about 190 kilometres southeast of Palermo and about 15 kilometres west of Syracuse, and has an area of 13.01 square kilometres.
Sparta, a municipality in the Laconia region of Greece, lies at the site of ancient Sparta. It is the local centre for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives. Many Merri-bek residents are from the Laconia Region. In November 1987, the then Brunswick City Council signed a sister city relationship with Sparta which was recently reaffirmed through a renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding in November 2009.
Moreland’s relationship with Xianyang was first formed in December 1992 when Xianyang accepted an invitation from the then City of Brunswick to send an official delegation to the city.
Xianyang is a former capital of China in Shaanxi province, on the Wei River, a few kilometres upstream (west) from Xi'an. It has an area of 10,213 square kilometres (3,943 sq mi). Council has a strong and active commitment to its special relationship with the City of Xianyang in the Province of Shaanxi, China. The commitment embraces opportunities for cooperative relationships between the governments, residents, businesses and institutions of Merri-bek and Xianyang.