There is hardly a business guru around who won’t speak of the high value of persistence as key to ultimate success in any venture. Certainly that applies to the leadership of Aguste´ Kent in facilitating the founding of Cincinnati’s Sister City relationship with Munich, Germany. On June 6, the Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a glittering array of events. This happened in large part to the vision and persistence of Mrs. Kent, and others who believed in the value of Sister Cities, exchange and honoring our deep German heritage.
Auguste’ Kent, came to Cincinnati from Munich and was the Principal of the Tri-State German American School. According to another founder and now Vice President of the Association, Ute Papke, “ Guste’, as she was known, made a regular trip to Germany each year and spoke to Munich City officials about entering into a relationship with Cincinnati. “In the face of persistent ‘no’s’ she never gave up her goal of linking our two cities. Finally Munich said yes and an agreement was signed in Munich September 18, 1989, and in Cincinnati June 6, 1990.”
This kind of venture takes support and nurturing from many people to bring to fruition. Along with Guste´and Ute, Bob Stevie, the current Association President; Bill Fackler at PNC; Attorney Ed Adams, first President of Cincinnati’s Sister City Association; John Banner on the original board of the Sister City Association; and Association Treasurer and Jewish Leader Eric Leibman joined with local politicians and a host of others to forge the relationship. Perhaps it was inevitable considering the number of German immigrants that came to Cincinnati. According to Bob Stevie “our city’s great influx of Germans came between l840-60 and later from 1880-1890. Up until World War I, German was a commonly spoken here, but then it stopped. German named streets in Over-the-Rhine were renamed. There are now schools and institutions here that have brought about a revival of interest in learning German. “
Ute tells me how proud she is of the programs that the volunteers in Cincinnati have created. “Munich has seven Sister Cities and staff and money to run their sister city associations. What we do is primarily on a volunteer basis with the cooperation of many institutions and individuals. In the U.S. volunteerism is both a civic virtue and responsibility, but many countries simply do not have the wealth of volunteer organizations found in our country.”
President Bob Stevie says that one of the Association’s biggest accomplishments is in the area of exchange. “One pending and one signed agreement links UC with two German universities for exchange of staff and faculty. This year twenty-five high school students will be going to Germany from Cincinnati as well as teachers and medical students.” Educational, arts and culture, law, sports and business and government exchanges are a major part of what the association does each year. For example, as Bob explains, “Since l991, more than l90 partnered teachers from Cincinnati and Munich have participated in exchange programs. Munich teachers spend two weeks here with their counterpart teachers and Cincinnati teachers go to Munich in June.”
Economic Development/Business/Freedom Center
The Munich Cincinnati link provides an economic development impact as well since the officially titled Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati, works with Chambers of Commerce in our region to assist business people in connecting here. According to Ute, “there are a hundred plus German businesses in our region. Bob Stevie mentions two successes. “The Hofbrauhouse in Newport opened with the help of the Associations great connecting network. Another example of our work in assisting with economic development is attracting Baerlocher USA Headquarters here to Cincinnati.” It is clear that for all foreign nationals finding a community of interest when relocating globally can help ease the transition.
As part of the Anniversary Celebration, the Association worked to organize two -day invitation only business workshops June 9 and June l0 with participants from all over the world. They will focus on the cutting edge topics Cyber Physical Systems and Industry 4.0.
Cincinnati has a piece of the Berlin Wall thanks to the work of many including the Munich Sister city Association. It can be viewed at our Freedom Center.
The 25th Anniversary will be celebrated in a number of ways. The GCWAC will be hosting the Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Phillip Ackermann on June 11th at the Queen City Club from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. Click here to register.
Other events include a reception with Mayor John Cranley at City Hall, a beer tasting at the Christian Moerlein Lager House open to the public June l0th; a Gala Dinner at the Netherland Hall of Mirrors June 12 and a River Cruise. For tickets and information visit munichcincinnati.org.
The Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati is listed on the Global Cincinnati website. Congratulation for 25 years of programming that enriches the region.
Article by Deborah E. Schultz, President Trans-Borders Solutions
For more information go to: www.munichcincinnati.org or The Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati History – 1989-1999 by Gerhard (Art) Pfefferkorn, July 1999, munichcincinnati.org.