Science-Fiction and Agriculture: Concord Delegation Finalized for April 2012

By Ben Mirin, CIR

In place of this week’s episode of “Sister Cities,” I bring you an exciting update (the import of which should explain why there will also be no Sister Cities episode on Friday, April 13th, but look for more delegation updates around that time!):

This week, Nanae’s International Relations section has finalized the schedule for its next official delegation visit from Concord. Arriving on April 10th, 30 Concord delegates will tour Nanae (and the nearby city of Hakodate), home-stay with local Nanae families, and attend various cultural events organized specifically for their four-day stay.

This upcoming delegation has a central focus, since 25 of its 30 members will represent the Concord-Carlisle High School Science-Fiction Club. Led by CCHS English teacher and Sister School Coordinator Dr. David Nurenburg, this will be the Club’s second time making an official visit to the Japanese sister city, after a groundbreaking trip in 2009. (click for photos)

Concord’s delegation will also consist of Concord-Carlisle Librarian Robin Chichetti, Concord translator Junko Kargula, Concord-Carlisle Nurse Cary Bestor Williams, and the delegation leader, Concord-Carlisle Vice-Principal Dr. Alan Weinstein. Collectively, their visit will sustain a 15-year tradition of April delegations from Concord to Nanae. It will also mark 2 years of a healthy sister school relationship between Concord-Carlisle and Nanae High Schools, poignantly, at a time when the Japanese school year is just beginning.

While sister school exchanges are at the center of this delegation, one final addition to the group this year is Tom Johnson, owner of Concord’s Silferleaf Farms.  Joining the rest of the delegation after a solo visit to Kyoto, Mr. Johnson is coming to Nanae to meet with local fruit farmers and gather information about Japanese agrarian methods for pest control after an invasive Asian fruit fly devastated his and other raspberry crops across the state of Massachusetts last fall.

If Mr. Johnson is successful, this import of this delegation visit will certainly extend beyond sister school relationships. Indeed, it will build upon an enduring agricultural bond that has forged partnerships between citizens of Concord and Hokkaido for 136 years.

After four busy days in Nanae, Concord’s 2012 delegation will continue on to Noboribetsu and then to Sapporo, accompanied by the CIR and International Relations’ staff.  The final leg of their journey will bring them to Kyoto and Nara, for a brief bit of sight-seeing before they return stateside.♦

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