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Albuquerque Announces Sister City Partnership with Kharkiv, Ukraine

Relationship will foster mutual support, promote humanitarian outreach and assistance.
June 29, 2023

Today the City of Albuquerque announced intention to establish a Sister Cities International (SCI) relationship with the city of Kharkiv, located in the northeast region of Ukraine. The partnership was celebrated virtually by both Albuquerque and Kharkiv, with Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov attending. Members of Albuquerque’s local Ukrainian community were also present for the celebration.

Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, has been targeted by Russian attacks since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War in 2022, but according to recent reports, citizens are beginning to return to the city. Albuquerque officials and Mayor Keller hope to support Mayor Terekhov and Kharkiv residents during the reconstruction of the city, with damages estimated to be around $50 billion.

“We’re grateful to foster a relationship with Kharkiv that transcends borders and promotes peace and understanding,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The people and leadership of Kharkiv are incredibly resilient, and we stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian friends, especially as they defend their democracy against Russian invasion.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower developed Sister Cities International in 1956, envisioning an organization that would promote peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world. Mayor Keller and Mayor Terekhov began exploring a city-to-city relationship in early 2023, and found that both cities shared a deep sense of community and cultural pride, as well as the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship as a path to improve the quality of life for their respective citizens.

“The war continues, and in these difficult times it is especially important for our city to feel the support of the United States of America as a strategic partner of Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression,” said Mayor Ihor Terekhov. “I am deeply grateful to all Albuquerque citizens and to Timothy Keller personally for this important step towards sister cities relations which are of great importance for our city. And I am convinced that our cooperation will be a solid foundation for the further development of Kharkiv and Albuquerque in terms of the implementation joint projects aimed at the success of both communities.”

“We want to thank Mayors Keller and Terekhov for formalizing this friendship between cities. We are eager to explore how we can involve Albuquerque and the deep expertise of local companies in the rebuilding of Kharkiv,” said Economic Development Director Max Gruner. “I’m looking forward to cultivating this relationship, and to explore mutually beneficial initiatives as the citizens of Kharkiv secure, rebuild, and revitalize their home.”

"The relationship between Kharkiv and Albuquerque shows the power of President Eisenhower's vision of citizen diplomacy almost 70 years after the formation of Sister Cities International,” said Peter Svarzbein, Sister Cities International Board of Directors Chair. “Now more than ever before these kinds of global partnerships and exchanges are so important to residents and cities in the United States and the world as they build bridges of understanding and bring economic, educational and cultural value to our member cities."

"I am proud to see the seed planted by a few citizens from both cities and countries earlier this year has become the reality of a Sister City relationship,” said Harbir K Bhatia, Sister Cities International Country Representative for Ukraine. “Sister Cities International is truly about the people to people relationships flourishing into great partnerships and friendships. I am looking forward to the bridge being established between Kharkiv and Albuquerque."

"What a joy for the City of Albuquerque, to partner with New Mexico's first Ukrainian sister city--Kharkiv, especially in this critical time where People to People connections, expressing our common humanity and goodwill, are more important than ever," said Richard Buckler Sister, Cities International New Mexico State Representative.

"On June 29th Kharkiv and Albuquerque's Sister Cities Partnership established the 11th Sister Cities for Albuquerque. Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation is honored to connect people to people for mutual endeavors through Humanitarian, Educational, Cultural, and Economic programs creating lifelong friendships," said Pam Feather, Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation President.