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Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Chihuahua Mayor María Eugenia Campos Galván Sign Historic Bilateral Commission Accord

City seeks to build bridges by establishing Albuquerque – Chihuahua protocol for economic development, tourism and cultural exchange, public safety, and education.

June 26, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — Today, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Chihuahua Mayor María Eugenia Campos Galván signed a charter establishing an Albuquerque – Chihuahua Bilateral Commission. The agreement is an example of the importance of international relations at the local level and builds a bridge across the U.S. - Mexico border. The objective of the Commission is to establish a framework for the sister cities to develop programs of mutual benefit to meet common needs and promote cooperation in the areas of economic development, tourism and cultural exchange, public safety, and education.

“This new Commission will create trade and culture connections between us and our sister city Chihuahua, Mexico,” said Mayor Keller. “When you’re in Chihuahua, you can feel how much we share from the high desert landscapes to green chile, along with so much of the history and culture. We are taking the responsibility to step up and demonstrate that cities can help lead the way toward inter-border collaboration. Together, we will work towards strengthening economic development, tourism and culture, public safety, and education.”

The sense of shared identity between the cities is no surprise as 80 percent of Mexican Nationals living in New Mexico are from Chihuahua.

Mayor María Eugenia Campos Galván said, “The citizens from Chihuahua and from Albuquerque understand each other very well; we have the ability of looking into each other's eyes and relating with the needs that worry us as cities and as individuals. I am sure that now, we will look into the future of our cities as a path walked by two. Working hand-in-hand toward the economic growth, cultural exchange and public safety of our cities.”

Mayor Keller and Mayor Campos Galván initially met at the 2018 Mexico-U.S. Sister Cities Mayor’s Summit in efforts to establish this Bilateral Commission. The partnership between the Mayors has already resulted in:

  • A business deal between RiskSense, an Albuquerque based cyber technology company and Disinformatica 21, a Chihuahua based technology company.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Tech Materials and Chihuahua’s Center for Advanced Materials
  • Training exchanges between the police and fire departments

The Commission will continue these efforts with four worktables, co-chaired by public officials and non-public community leaders. Albuquerque Commission chairs will include;

Commission Chair: Mayor Tim Keller

Economic Development Worktable: Synthia Jaramillo, City of Albuquerque Director of Economic Development and Fred Mondragon, City of Albuquerque Trade and Higher Education Advisor to Mayor Keller

Cultural Exchange/Tourism Worktable: Dr. Shelle Sanchez, City of Albuquerque Director of Cultural Services and Jami Porter Lara, NM Artist and Sculptor / Yuriria Morales, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce International Sales Executive

Public Safety Worktable: Chief Paul Dow, Chief Michael Geier and Commander Arturo Sanchez, Albuquerque Police Department

Education Worktable: Dr. Manuel Montoya, University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management Associate Professor of Global Structures and International Management

Both cities have broad industrial, technological, and logistical infrastructure with potential to complement the commercial and business activities. In the area of economic development, the Commission will organize and participate in events such as: trade missions, exhibitions, seminars and entrepreneurial forums where the original products and services of the cities are promoted, in order to increase the flows of goods and services. The Commission will also organize training in business and entrepreneurship, sharing best practices from both cities for the enrichment of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In the area of tourism and cultural exchange, the Commission will promote tourism in both cities by increasing direct air connectivity; organizing tours for travel agents and tour operators; and organizing cultural exchange programs in order to enhance the awareness of the unique cultural expressions and regional traditions of the two cities.

In the area of public safety, the Commission will focus on police and fire services through donation of equipment, sharing best practices, and training.

In the area of education, the Commission will encourage the exchange of teachers and/or students of all levels to share and learn the culture, language and history of both cities.

Chihuahua is one of Albuquerque’s 10 sister cities. Sister Cities was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to foster friendship and understanding among different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, and to encourage trade and tourism.