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(Bethlehem, Pa.)—A group comprised of Moravian College faculty, students, and staff recently traveled to Tondabayashi, Japan to participate in ceremonies honoring the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship with Bethlehem.
Tondabayashi Mayor Toshiki Tada presided over the ceremony naming a street near city hall “Bethlehem Street.” The dogwood-lined street, with its newly-installed and impressive street signs in both English and Japanese, featured a large metal plaque inscribed “May this street and our relationship last forever.”
Representing Bethlehem was Moravian College staff member Jane Schaffer, who serves as chair of the Bethlehem-Tondabayashi Sister City Commission. Schaffer was accompanied by a study tour group of 5 students from Moravian led by faculty members, Dr. Anne Dutlinger, professor of art and chair of the Art Department, Dr. Lisa Fischler, assistant professor of political science.
Faculty and students all participated in the ceremony, which was preceded by a dinner reception the previous evening. Following speeches by Mayor Tada, the chair of the city assembly and the Japanese and American sister city committee chairs, there was a commemorative ribbon-cutting ceremony and planting of a dogwood tree.
On July 19th, Mayor Tada will visit Bethlehem for the city’s anniversary celebrations. At 6:00 p.m. in the Garden of Serenity, next to the Bethlehem Public Library, a ceremony is planned to dedicate a new area of the garden to all those who have served as mayor during the 40-year sister city relationship. A new seating area which features a tile designed and produced by Beth Starbuck of Starbuck Goldner Tiles will be unveiled at the ceremony.
The following Monday, five students will arrive from Tondabayashi for a three-week homestay. For the past 31 years, a student exchange program has brought 5 students from Tondabayashi to Bethlehem in even-numbered years and sent 5 students from Bethlehem in odd-numbered years to Japan.