Sisters cities conference in Adelaide

The City of Adelaide was host to the national conference of the Australian Sister Cities Association (ASCA) from 2 to 5 October. With the title, New Millennium New Ways, the ASCA 2000 conference attracted over 300 delegates and partners including delegations from three of Adelaide's sister cities.

The conference assembled a substantial program of high calibre keynote speakers looking at major issues facing the Sister City Association. Delegates also had many opportunities to develop business networks and explore corporate contacts.

Internationally respected futurist, Dr Peter Ellyard, gave the keynote address and opened a window on the future of economic and cultural issues confronting sister cities during the first decade of the 21st century.

Dr Ellyard is adjunct professor in intergenerational strategies at the University of Queensland. His latest book is entitled Ideas for the New Millennium.

Other stimulating subjects at the conference included, the use of the internet and e-commerce by local specialist, Steven Smith; a comparison of Japanese and Australian sister city relations by Kevin O'Toole from Deakin University; and a case study of Chinese and Australian affiliations by China expert, Paul Ivory, from Queensland's University of the Sunshine Coast.

Running in parallel with the ASCA 2000 conference was a young ambassadors conference which attracted over 60 delegates from around the country.

The youth conference had a separate program designed to help young delegates aged between 14 and 24 years develop their life skills and broaden their experience in communications, public relations, leadership and program planning so that they can be ambassadors for their city and their state.

Lord Mayor Alfred Huang, hosted a civic reception for delegates at the Town Hall and also addressed the conference on the subject of Adelaide's sister city affiliations.

"Sister City visits are often portrayed by the media as an excuse to go overseas and have a holiday," the Lord Mayor said.

"The benefits to the community have not been appreciated fully. As Councils, we need to effectively communicate the benefits, to change the perception that Sister City affiliations only benefit the few who are involved.

"In this period of globalisation, no region can afford to close off contacts with others.

"One of the major areas of activity which Adelaide can develop significantly is its potential as an education exchange.

"Adelaide is a City with a strong educational focus. Adelaide City Council has teamed up with the State Government and the Universities to form Education Adelaide to market Adelaide overseas as a centre of excellence.

"We can use our Sister City relationships to help us enter this potentially lucrative market."

Lord Mayor Huang said that as well as establishing business contacts, credibility and trust, Sister Cities benefit the next generation. He said the cultural and youth programs provide a great opportunity to learn from others and about others.