lunedì 16 dicembre 2013

Gyumri and Nardò, sister cities

Marcello Rizzi and Samvel Balasanyan
by Gayane Simonyan

Samvel Balasanyan, the mayor of the second largest city in Armenia, Gyumri, hosted several officials from the Italian city Nardò (Puglia) on Wednesday.

The Italian delegation from Nardò city is headed by Mayor Marcello Rizzi. Mr. Balasanyan greeted the delegation and shortly discussed the Armenian-Italian cooperation, relations and issues concerning the two cities. He expressed his great hope that the bilateral visits and a memorandum to be signed later would contribute to the reinforcement of economic and cultural ties between the two sister cities.

In his turn, the Nardò mayor pointed the importance of the bilateral spiritual relationships stressing that Gregory the Illuminator, a religious leader confided to converting Armenia from Paganism to Christianity in 301, is the angel-guard of their city, and this appends to the warmth and fever of the bilateral relationships.

Mr. Rizzi expressed his great excitement and admire over Armenia as well as towards his Armenian colleagues’ self-determination of developing and improving the future cooperation.

At the end of the meeting the memorandum was signed between Armenia’s second largest city and Nardò. This memorandum consists of 6 points that cover cooperation in architecture, tourism, urban development, restoration construction, IT sector and some other fields of cooperation.
Exchange of experience and possibilities of investments are the key points in all these spheres.

Gyumri and Nardò were proclaimed as sister cities.
After the signing ceremony, the two mayors held a joint news conference. 
During his speech Samvel Balasanyan mentioned that according to the co-mayor of Gyumri, Ruben Sanoyan, Italian city Nardò is very similar to Armenian city Gyumri: Nardò is also a historical city with nearly the same number of population as Gyumri has.
Mr. Balasanyan also stressed that Nardò has a rather big Armenian community there and Armenians play quite an important role in the development of that city. As for Gregory the Illuminator, these people have a very interesting story which creates spiritual connections between Gyumri and Nardò cities.

“I have been in Italy for several times and I can say that Italians are similar to Armenians with their character, the way of speaking and the energy we both have”, Mr. Balasanyan said.

According to him, tourism will surely develop between these two cities as Gyumri airport has been restored, the roads reconstructed, so the direct connection between these two cities are becoming quite realistic.

“We can organize youth events, youth forums concerning art, painting and so on. And if they consider that they can produce paints for stones here, we can provide some place in our city. This is my idea and I will try to implement it”, Mr. Balasanyan said.

In contrast, Mr. Rizzi mentioned that after the proclamation of Gyumri and Nardò as sister cities, their expectations are really high, though he was sorry to say that he had got to know this city only during the disastrous earthquake of 1988.
According to Mr. Rizzi Armenia is the country that is worth supporting.  He can see cooperation opportunities in such fields as tourism and agriculture although entrepreneurial activities can also be developed.

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