Palm Springs Sister City Board of Directors to Visit San Miguel de AllendeAugust 3 – 6, 2023
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Palm Springs Sister City Board of Directors to Visit San Miguel de Allende
August 3 – 6, 2023
Delegation from Palm Springs Led by Mayor Grace Garner
and City Cultural and Business Leaders
22 May 2023 – Palm Springs, CA: The Palm Springs Sister City Board of Directors (www.sistercitiesps.org) will embark on a four-day trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, from August 3 to 6, 2023, to celebrate the second official signing of the sister city agreement between the two cities. The trip will also include cultural and educational activities, as well as opportunities to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two municipalities. An initial signing ceremony was held this past February in Palm Springs when San Miguel Mayor Mauricio Trejo led a delegation north.
The delegation to San Miguel will be led by Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner, members of the Palm Springs Sister City Board of Directors and area community, business, hospitality and cultural representatives. Highlights of the trip will include a visit to the historic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a neo-Gothic church that dominates the city skyline, as well as business-to-business meetings to build economic ties as well as cultural, culinary and educational exchanges. The culmination of the trip will be an official signing ceremony in the San Miguel de Allende City Hall.
A definitive schedule of events, and a full delegation list, will be forthcoming in the next several weeks. While the City of San Miguel and affiliated businesses will host the delegation while there, all costs for transportation and incidentals for Mayor Garner, and the Palm Springs Delegation, will be paid for privately by monies raised by the Sister City Delegation and its supporters.
“This is a momentous occasion for both of our cities, as we formalize our relationship and commit to working together on issues of mutual interest and benefit,” said Mayor Garner. “San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful and vibrant city with a rich history and culture, and we are honored to be its first sister city in California. As someone whose family has deep Mexican roots, to lead this delegation is especially moving for me.”
Mayor Mauricio Trejo echoed the sentiments of his counterpart and expressed his enthusiasm for the exchange. “We are delighted to host our friends from Palm Springs and show them the best of our city and our people,” he said. “We share many similarities with Palm Springs, such as our artistic and creative spirit, our tourism industry, and our respect for diversity and inclusion. We look forward to learning from each other and collaborating on projects that will enhance the quality of life in both of our communities.”
The trip will also feature visits to some of San Miguel de Allende’s most iconic attractions, such as the Instituto Allende, an art school founded by American veterans in 1950; the Escuela de Bellas Artes, a cultural center housed in a former convent; and the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, a World Heritage Site known for its elaborate murals depicting Biblical scenes. The delegation will also enjoy local cuisine, music, and crafts, as well as interact with students, artists, and business leaders.
San Miguel de Allende is a city of about 140,000 people located in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. Founded in the 16th century by Spanish explores, it became a hub of the Mexican War of Independence in the early 19th century. Today, it is a popular destination for tourists and expatriates who are drawn to its colonial architecture, artistic scene, and mild climate. It’s historic and impeccably preserved center city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
Palm Springs is a city of about 45,000 people located in Riverside County in southern California. It is situated in the Coachella Valley at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. It was originally inhabited by the Cahuilla Indians who called it Séc-he (boiling water). It became a fashionable resort for Hollywood celebrities and wealthy visitors in the mid-20th century. Today, it is known for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, arts and cultural scene, and recreational activities.
The genesis for the Palm Springs Sister City Committee came from Destination PSP owner (and now City Councilmember) Jeffrey Bernstein who first presented his idea at a meeting of the Palm Springs City Council in 2019 just before the outbreak of COVID. Soon thereafter, Bernstein drew in the participation of other local business and community leaders who have spent the last year as an all-volunteer effort, organizing the group and joining Sister Cities International, the governing body for such civic partnerships. The board is now comprised of Al Jones (President), Hugo Loyola (Vice President), Andrea Davis (Treasurer), Ellen Goodman (Secretary), Gary Armstrong, Marlene V. Coulis, Sid Craig, John Miraglia, Scott Nevins, David Eugene Perry and Deb Pierrel.
“It thrills me to see this take shape,” said Bernstein who resigned from the Sister City Board upon his election to City Council. “I’ve always been a believer in tourism as a way to boost economic and cultural ties. I know I share this enthusiasm with my fellow council members and we look forward to soon visiting San Miguel.”
“It’s been an exciting first year for us,” said Palm Springs Sister Board Chair Jones. “During COVID, we explored a number of options for Palm Springs first contemporary sister city, and San Miguel quickly became an obvious choice. We are delighted and honored that they accepted our invitation, and look forward to years of rich and growing exchanges and relationships.”
The Palm Springs Sister City Committee is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity and receives no public funds. The work of the Committee is completely self-funded through donations from the Committee members and interested members of the public. Palm Springs Sister Cities was created with the purpose of enhancing world peace by promoting and servicing relationships between the City of Palm Springs and other similar government units in foreign countries with the object of developing closer understanding and cooperation between people of those respective governmental units. The group hopes to ensure a world of peace through goodwill, compassion, and helping other cultures.
At the heart of all Sister City programs is an agreement, signed by the mayors of each Sister City, confirming the commitment of each community to the Sister City program. Sister Cities agree to send and receive delegations of various types, including political and business leaders, arts and cultural representatives, educators, and technical experts because these exchanges promote cross-cultural understanding, municipal and technical cooperation, and business opportunities. Each Sister City is supported by a committee of volunteers who are committed to the goals and objectives of the program.
Palm Springs had a sister city relationship not only with Victoria, B.C. Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but also with Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Nikki, Japan.