MINNEAPOLIS— Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will join arts, tourism and business leaders in Kuopio and Helsinki, Finland, for a four-day trip departing on Sept. 4. The timing of the trip coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of the sister city relationship between Minneapolis and Kuopio. The 50th
anniversary will be recognized on Sept. 7 with a classical concert and reception at Kuopio City Hall.
While in Finland, the group will take part in exploratory discussions with Kuopio Mayor Soile Lahti and Kuopio City Council members about collaborative business opportunities, arts and culture exchanges, and winter tourism. The agenda also includes sharing best practices on affordable housing, homelessness policies and city operations in a northern climate with public works departments in both Helsinki and Kuopio. Discussions will also include Finland’s work with refugee populations.
The delegates traveling to Finland include:
- Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor
- Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis City Councilmember
- Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Director Minneapolis Public Works Department
- Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis President and CEO
- Bill Deef, Meet Minneapolis Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
- Anita Jain, Chair of the Minneapolis-Kuopio Partnership
- Elaine Kumpula, Honorary Council General of Finland in Minnesota, Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce – Minnesota board member
- Karl Reichert, Executive Director of the Textile Center and former chair of the Minneapolis-Kuopio Partnership
“Our sister city partnerships offer a great opportunity to collaborate with and learn from colleagues across the world,” said Mayor Frey. “Over the past few decades, Finland has proven to be a global leader in their approach to affordable housing and homelessness. I look forward to learning first-hand how they have redefined the housing continuum — and how we could apply similar practices and principles here in Minneapolis. I’m grateful to Meet Minneapolis for planning this delegation trip and keeping us connected globally.”
The sister city relationship with Kuopio, Finland was established in 1973 by Mayor Charles Stenvig and the Minneapolis City Council. Since that time, a citizen group has organized numerous exchange programs and developed connections in arts, architecture, scholarly exchanges, and collaborative relationships between the University of Minnesota and the University of Eastern Finland. The Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership today continues this work to maintain connections with Finland and our sister city, Kuopio.
“Kuopio is one of the 12 international cities where engaged Minneapolis citizens have exercised citizen diplomacy with their counterparts in those cities though the Sister Cities International program,” said Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. “This visit to Kuopio will allow our delegation to explore ways to expand our exchange of ideas in the areas of arts and culture, tourism promotion and economic development.”
The Minneapolis Sister Cities program was established in 1961 with the signing of the first Sister City agreement between Minneapolis and Santiago, Chile. Today, it includes Winnipeg, Canada; Santiago, Chile; Harbin, China; Kuopio, Finland; Tours, France; Najaf, Iraq; Ibaraki City, Japan; Eldoret, Kenya; Cuernavaca, Mexico; Novosibirsk, Russia; Bosaso, Somalia; and Uppsala, Sweden. Meet Minneapolis supports these relationships on behalf of the City of Minneapolis.