Sep 11 2020
Nashville's Sister City
In the historic city of Magdeburg, Germany, there is a “Johnny Cash”-themed country music festival called Nashville Days – complete with corn dogs and cowboy hats. This is one of the fruits of the sister city relationship between Nashville and Magdeburg. Host Jakob Lewis, a Nashville citizen, goes to Magdeburg to see where the rubber meets the road for Sister Cities' idealistic vision to “promote peace one individual, one community at a time.”
If you’ve been to Germany, Magdeburg probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you to think of cosmopolitan cities. Yet for the past 15 years, Magdeburg has developed a great relationship with its sister city Nashville through the Sister Cities International program. For The Big Pond, Jakob Lewis traces the origins of the sister cities back to the aftermath of World War II as a means to (re)connect former adversaries.
Or, as Joel Dark, the Nashville chair of the Nashville-Magdeburg partnership puts it: “The concept is to build a local-to-local relationship so that international relations [are] not reduced to just relationships between governments and their agendas but can be a relationship really between people.” At a time when the US’ general tone for diplomacy has shifted, what does Sister Cities’ idealistic vision of peace really look like? Does it actually make a difference? Is it just a glorified trip club where well-to-do folks can drink wine in another country? Or is it the key to world peace? Listen to find out more.
This story was produced in 2018 as part of the The Big Pond series with the Goethe-Institut, and the Year of German American Friendship 2018/2019 under the motto “Wunderbar Together”. Special thanks to Rosie Forrest for editing this story. Thanks Rosie!
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Music from the Blue Dot Sessions, Dan Burns and Podington Bear.
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