Webinar | Global Nashville, Karl Dean Talks with Sister Cities | June 23

The Tennessee World Affairs Council

invites you to the

Global Nashville with Karl Dean


Tuesday, June 23, 2020 – 7:00 PM CT

Conversations with Nashville Leaders 

Staff and Board Members from Sister Cities of Nashville

Sarah Lingo, Executive Director

Dr. Marieta Velikova, PhD, Member of the Board

Claire Coleman, Director of Student Exchanges

With Host Karl Dean, Former Mayor of Nashville and Member of the Board, TNWAC

And Co-Host Patrick Ryan, President, TNWAC

June 23, 2020

7:00 p.m. CT

Via Zoom Webinar

Sister Cities of Nashville – In this episode former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean talks with SCN’s Executive Director and several Board Members about the role it plays in making Nashville an international place. They’ll discuss the relationships with partner cities: Belfast, Northern Ireland; Kamakura, Japan; Mendoza, Argentine; Madgeburg, Germany; Caen, France; Chengdu, China; Taiyuan, China, Edmonton, Canada; and Tamworth, Australia.

Sister Cities of Nashville Mission

“To connect Nashvillians with people of the world, promoting peace through mutual understanding, respect and cooperation – one person, one community at a time.”

Founded in 1990, Sister Cities of Nashville (SCN) is a chapter of Sister Cities International, which is based in Washington D.C. SCN is a volunteer organization that connects Nashvillians with friends around the world through exchanges, cultural programs, and partnerships.


Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. The region’s connection with Tennessee dates from the Scots-Irish settlement of the area in the eighteenth century to the diverse relationships and cultural ties that link Belfast and Nashville today. Belfast has been an official sister city of Nashville since 1995 in a partnership focusing on social projects, education, and musical and cultural exchange. (Read more)Caen, France
Caen, the capital of Lower Normandy, is located a few miles inland from the D-Day beaches. It was one of William the Conqueror’s capitals and near the departure point for his invasion of England. Caen was Nashville’s first active sister city with the relationship originating nearly thirty years ago. It became an official sister city in 1991. Programs have included annual delegation visits, academic exchanges, programs for students and lawyers, and even basketball games between local teams. (Read more)Chengdu, China
Chengdu is set to officially become Nashville’s 9th Sister City in 2020, with the official signing of the treaty to be done as soon as it is safe to travel again. Chengdu is the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province with a history that dates as far back as the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the Shu Kingdom.  Chengdu is home to many temples, parks, and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System as well as the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries. (Read More) Edmonton, Canada
Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, Canada. Beginning as a fur trading post at the end of the 1700s, the city has grown into an economic, political, and educational center with a population of over one million. Known as Canada’s “festival city,” Edmonton hosts numerous international events in the summer and throughout the year celebrating culture and the arts. It became an official sister city in 1990. (Read more)Kamakura, Japan
Located approximately 30 miles southwest of Tokyo in Kanagawa, Kamakura is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Tokyo, its beaches and its many historic shrines and temples. Sister Cities of Nashville established its Japan Committee in 2009, with the support of the Consul General of Japan’s office in Nashville, who was keen for Nashville to have a sister city in Japan. The Nashville area is home to more than 8,000 Japanese citizens and 300 businesses, including Bridgestone-Americas and Nissan.  One of the few Consulate General of Japan offices in the U.S. is located in Nashville, signaling the importance of our city to the Japanese.  Kamakura became a sister city in September 2014. (Read more)

Magdeburg, Germany
Magdeburg is located along the Elbe River in northern Germany about 90 miles west of Berlin. The importance of the city, which recently celebrated its 1200th birthday, extends from the middle ages through the Reformation to the present. Just to the east of the former inner-German border, Magdeburg is now the capital of Saxony-Anhalt. It has maintained a very active partnership with Nashville for several years and became its official sister city in 2003. (Read more)

Mendoza, Argentina
Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza was settled in 1561 by Pedro del Castillo. Two of the region’s main industries are wine making and olive oil production. Mendoza has been designated as one of the eight great wine capitals of the world. With its proximity to the mountains, Mendoza is a frequent destination for visitors wishing to engage in mountaineering, hiking, rafting and horseback riding activities. Mendoza became an official sister city of Nashville in March 2009. (Read more)

Tamworth, Australia
Like Nashville, Tamworth is a regional centre and a hub for industry, commerce, education and tourism. Located in the state of New South Wales, Tamworth is 260 miles northwest of Sydney and 360 miles southwest of Brisbane, capitals, respectively of New South Wales and Queensland . It is best known as the “Country Music Capital of Australia” as it hosts the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, a gathering of country music devotees lasting 11 days and culminating in the “Golden Guitar” Awards, the Australian equivalent of Nashville’s own Country Music Association Awards. Tamworth became Nashville’s 7th sister city in June 2013. (Read more)

Taiyuan, China
Taiyuan, China became an official sister city to Nashville in April 2007. It is the capital city of Shanxi Province. Shanxi and Taiyuan have been strategically important to China since ancient times, both for location and mineral resources. Shanxi lies near the Yellow River, where China’s civilization began, and Taiyuan was China’s northern and western outpost. Shanxi continues to be a major producer of coal in China, and has developed heavy industry (notably iron and steel). Taiyuan has a dozen universities, some of which specialize in educating engineers. Although considered a small city by Chinese standards, Taiyuan has a population of 3.4 million. The partnership between Nashville and Taiyuan builds on a longstanding regional partnership established between Tennessee and Shanxi Province in the 1980s. (Read more)


Dr. Marieta V. Velikova, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics, Belmont

Dr. Velikova received her undergraduate degree from the People’s Friendship University of Russia. Her M.A. in Financial Economics and Ph.D. in Applied Economics were both earned at Mississippi State University, where she worked as a research assistant, academic tutor, and instructor of economics.

She teaches economics and international business courses in Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey College of Business, where she also advises members of SIFE, Students in Free Enterprise, and has been involved in the creation of the IB Society, an organization for students interested in international studies.

Her research interests include macroeconomics and monetary economics; however, her primary area of

Sarah Lingo, Executive Director, Sister Cities of Nashville

Sarah Lingo has worked in Nashville and Tennessee politics for the majority of her career including with former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen in his Administration working for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and on his 2018 bid for U.S. Senate, and former Nashville Mayor David Briley. She completed a two-year service in the United States Peace Corps, having served in Thailand from 2012-2014, and was the head of Corporate Sponsorships at Nashville Zoo for three years before joining Sister Cities of Nashville. Originally from Ohio, Lingo moved to Nashville in 2004 and it has been her home since.including U.S. banks. An article she authored, entitled “Real Deposit Insurance Coverage at U.S. Banks,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business and Leadership: Research, Practice, and Teaching.

Claire Coleman, Director of Student Exchanges, Sister Cities of Nashville

Claire Bernstein Coleman is the Director of Student Exchanges with Sister Cities of Nashville, a role she has held for four years. Claire has a Bachelor’s of Psychology and Jewish Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington and a Masters of Social Work and Nonprofit Management from Washington University in St Louis. Claire spent the first seven years of her career as a Youth, Camp, Education, and Community Events Director for the Jewish Community Center, where she also worked with Israel exchange programs. Claire facilitated the Summer Shlichim program, worked closely with Get Connected, and staffed eight years of Birthright Israel trips. It was with her Israel programs that Claire gained her passion for international youth programs, and after several years as a Department Director for the YMCAs of Middle Tennessee, Claire attained her position at Sister Cities of Nashville that she has held ever since, where she is privileged to facilitate international youth programs for hundred of Nashville and foreign youth each year, as well as working closely with community partners to build youth leadership opportunities in the global community in Nashville. Claire is married with three small sons and also works part time as a fitness trainer. She is hopeful that one day soon her sons will be old enough to begin traveling the world with her too.







The mission of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.


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