It was between September of 1991 and May of 1992 when Seattle Mayor Norman Rice and Perugia Mayor Mario Valentini signed a pact of friendship between their cities and since then that relationship has grown stronger and stronger.
The origin of that pact resides in a desire of a Seattleite named Hans Lehmann, who had completed his medical studies at the University of Perugia and who had fallen in love with the Umbrian city.
Years after he had started his medical career, Dr. Lehmann returned to Perugia to visit his good friend Giuseppe Vicarelli Saluzzo and in that moment they decided to do something special: to crown their enduring friendship with a lifelong relationship between their two cities.
What is a Sister Cities program? First of all, the Sister Cities program is intended as means for cultural exchange. A community decides to join with another country to exchange culture, economic and historic aspects. The Seattle Sister Cities program sees 21 partner cities around the globe and Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association is one of the oldest and most well-established programs. It is not a coincidence that the program won the overall best Seattle Sister City program award for 2013 and former Mayor Mike McGinn gifted the association with a plaque. The award showed recognition for its important contributions to pro- mote understanding, and friend- ship between the people of Perugia and Seattle.
One relevant and important project of Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association is the scholar- ship program. Each year the Association grants four scholarships for one month of study in Perugia at the University for Foreigners aka Università per Stanieri. Each scholarship is worth approximately $1,200.
Besides a month of intensive Italian language study, the grant also includes a stipend that can be used for room and board and general expenses in Perugia.
The winners of the scholar- ship select the month to travel to Italy and the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association helps guide them with suggestions for accommodations and basic orientation.
Important aspect of the scholarship is that there is no age limit or proficiency level required, so everybody can apply and the deadline is coming up on December 31st. So interested candidates can easily download the application from the website (www.seattle-perugia.org), complete it in and email it to the scholarship chair Jan Drago.
These scholarships represent the spirit of the Sister City Association by valuing the benefit of cultural and language immersion in one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Italy. US citizens from Seattle can find fertile soil to develop cultural awareness, plant friendships and come back with an unforgettable experience.
Besides encouraging travel and cultural immersion in the Italian culture, the Seattle- Perugia Sister City Association supports a number of causes since its inception. The events that Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association accomplished in the past years include: the installation of Moretti ceramics installed at SeaTac Airport in January 2013. Here, forty stunning Moretti ceramic pieces from the exhibition, Un Calice per Alviero (A Chalice for Alviero) were placed, after being displayed at Seattle City Hall.
In September 2013, international acclaimed, glass artist Giuliano Giuman visited Seattle. Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association took charge to take Giuman to visit the Pilchuck Glass School.
One of the most important events that Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association makes possible every November, since 2006, is Cinema Italian Style at SIFF. “Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association is not just a sponsor”, underlined the President Alan Veigel, “it is a co-presenter, having an essential role in the success of this annual event”. More than 74 films are staged on the big screen and 34 guests are invited at Cinema Italian Style in Seattle. This is an incredible accomplishment for this section of SIFF that is growing every year, becoming probably the most important Italian cultural event in Seattle area.
If you are intrigued and fasci- nated by Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association and if you want to be part of it, become a member and start to discover more about your sister city, Perugia.