A historic Sister City Initiative has been formed between Austin and Pune, Maharashtra—the first sister city initiative between Austin and a city in India. A Memorandum of Understanding has been exchanged between Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak.
The initiative will foster exchanges in the areas of sustainability, health, smart city, business, culture and education. This, in turn, will provide opportunities for businesses, organizations and individuals to share and grow. Delegates from the Austin Economic Development Department Global Business Expansion Division and Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce visited Pune in January 2018 to pave the way to the Sister City Initiative.
A series of joint cultural events will be taking place for the public to join in the celebration between April 28 and May 16.
The Austin-Pune Sister Initiative is proud to welcome author and entrepreneur Manjiri Dhamankar from Pune, India for the inaugural cultural/literary exchange initiative. Hosted by South Asians’ International Volunteer Association, the first event will be held Saturday, April 28 from 3 – 5 p.m. at Hill Country Church, 3351 Little Elm Trail. There will be a Meet & Greet with Ms. Dhamankar, who will also be co-leading an intergenerational social integration discussion through literature and other materials.
On Tuesday, May 1, the Indian American Coalition of Texas along with other area Indian American partner organizations will formally donate documents to Austin History Center to record and preserve Indian American history. These materials will be available to the public for historic reference and research. The event will be held at the Austin History Center, located at 810 Guadalupe St., from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The next event, presented on Saturday, May 5, will also be hosted by IACT at Lost Creek MUD Community Center, 1305 Quaker Ridge Dr. It will feature a lecture on climate governance by University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs Dr. Joshua Busby followed by a round table discussion with invited dignitaries from the City of Austin. APSCI will present literary readings focused on topics about the Earth by Pune and Austin Indian authors.
The final event in the series, organized by APSCI, is a cross-cultural literary exchange on Wednesday, May 16 from 7 – 8:30 p.m., at the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd. A panel discussion will be moderated by newscaster Ms. Hema Mullur of KEYE TV featuring literary professionals of diverse backgrounds. Pune author Ms. Dhamankar, Hispanic author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Chicana poet Ire’ne Lara Silva, African American academic Dr. Helena Woodard, and Indian American poet Saryu Parikh will participate at the event.
Future events of the Sister City Initiative are being planned towards a Friendship City designation. These include a Hackathon involving both cities in early fall and a visit by a delegation from Austin to Pune in late September, including Austin City Council member Alison Alter, and the Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos. For more information about upcoming events, visit facebook.com/austinpune or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.