Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Say 'Bom Dia' to the City's Newest Sister; Jacksonville Hopes for Improved Trade with Brazil City Curitiba

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Say 'Bom Dia' to the City's Newest Sister; Jacksonville Hopes for Improved Trade with Brazil City Curitiba

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID HUNT

Today's phrase is "bom dia," Portuguese for "good morning."

Jacksonville, meet Curitiba, population 1.7 million, in Southeast Brazil.

Curitiba is set to become Jacksonville's seventh sister city as Mayor John Peyton meets this morning with Curitiba Mayor Beto Richa at the downtown Hyatt Regency. Including three friendship cities in China, Curitiba will be the 10th international connection for Jacksonville through Sister Cities International.

The list started in 1967, when the city said "buenos dias" to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, a connection that still brings the occasional school group to Jacksonville, said Nancy Olsen, Peyton's liaison to the Sister Cities program.

"Experiences like that change lives," she said.

In recent years, the program has helped the city network throughout China as it explores trade with the Far East in anticipation of a growing deepwater port and wider Panama Canal.

Olsen said the Sister Cities program's local board went after a friendship with Curitiba to support a trade route into Brazil's growing economy. But the city poses another point of interest to Jacksonville.

Curitiba put itself on the map with a successful bus rapid transit system. That's a system Jacksonville's planners are eyeing to thin out congestion with more efficient public transportation.

Peyton said he thinks the city could learn a lesson from the bus lines, but the goal is to move more cargo.

"The hope is trade," Peyton said.

Sister Cities developed after World War II as a vision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The program sets a stage for cultural exchange and international business development. According to Sister Cities International, the Jacksonville-Curitiba connection will add to 1,992 partnerships springing from 694 communities in the United States.

david.hunt@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4025

IT'S A Small WORLD ...

With today's addition of Curitiba, Brazil, Jacksonville will have 10 global partners through Sister Cities International. …

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