CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On June 28, the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA) held its 26th annual meeting at Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Boston. The keynote speaker was Mayor Henrietta Davis of Cambridge, who saluted the group for continuing to evolve and grow over the years since 1986-87, when the relationship was founded. At that time the hope was that in the atmosphere of the Cold War, cross-cultural exchange would foster better understanding, dialogue and friendship. From meeting with CYSCA’s delegations and reviewing its programs over the years, Davis said she sees CYSCA as an example to others. She noted, “In my time as city councilor here in Cambridge, and now as mayor, I have seen just how beneficial cross-cultural and international exchange is. I’ve learned to set my sights higher, learning by examples from cities and nations outside these shores.”
One of her priorities is to make Cambridge a national leader in climate protection and sustainability. “Over the past two years I have been fortunate to travel to parts of Europe to see the latest in energy efficiency and green building. Just this week, Cambridge hosted DasHaus from Germany, which is a traveling demonstration of advanced technology in energy efficient home construction and solar energy use.”
She added, “In 2009, we became one of the first communities in the state to require high standards for energy efficiency in new buildings. … And we were recently named America’s Most Walkable City. Our public transit and bike-friendly streets help us in becoming a city of green commuters.”
She acknowledged CYSCA’s programs to educate seventh and eighth graders in Cambridge and Yerevan about energy use and production; to educate the public about the reforestation work of the Armenia Tree Project in Armenia; and, in 2010, to bring environmental and energy experts to the Cambridge Science Festival.
She concluded, “It’s inspiring to see the power of collaboration when it comes to tackling the pressing concerns of today. So, as we enter the next 25 years, I look forward to seeing our cities continue to collaborate and engage about these issues that face us as members of the global community.”
Also attending the meeting were City Councilor Leland Cheung; Fred Fantini, vice chair of the School Committee; attorney David Wylie, former city councilor and one of the founders of CYSCA; and Brian Corr, director of the Cambridge Peace Commission.