CARMEL — The city of Carmel has a new special partnership with a town all the way in the Tuscany region of Italy.
Cortona, located in the country's Arezzo province, is Carmel's newest Sister City.
That means the communities will promote "international goodwill, understanding, student educational exchanges and expanded business relationships between the two cities and their respective nations," according to a news release from the office of Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.
The relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities signs an agreement to become sister cities, according to Sister City International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities.
Brainard met with Cortona Mayor Luciano Meoni last week to sign the agreement, according to the news release.
“It is important, especially during these times, for communities across the globe to continue to talk, get to know each other and learn from each other about history and culture,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard in a statement. “Carmel is a very new community and Cortona is very old, but both of our cities strive to embrace and learn from each other the time-tested ways to build and maintain a great city.”
Cortona is now Carmel's fourth international Sister City. It also has similar relationships with Kawachinagano, Osaka, Japan; Xiangyang, Hubei, China; and Jelgava, Latvia — with which it established a relationship earlier this year.
Cortona is known for its food and wines, as well as arts and historic structures including stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times. It is surrounded by a valley and Lake Trasimeno.
Carmel is currently looking for volunteers to serve on a new not-for-profit Sister Cities Committee as a result of the new relationship. Anyone interested is urged to attend a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 at Carmel City Hall, 1 Civic Square.
In addition to volunteers, Sister City organizations can include representatives from nonprofits, municipal governments, the private sector and other civic organizations, according to Sister Cities International.