Know this: We are about to have two less. Apparently Managua, Nicaragua and Bac Giang, Vietnam are no longer official "Sister Cities." In addition, representatives of those cities have not had the best attendance records at past meetings of the Madison Sister City Committee.
Today the Sister City Collaboration Committee will vote to eliminate positions for both of those cities. However, Madison remains a sister city of the following: Ainaro, East Timor; Arcatao, El Salvador; Camaguay, Cuba; Cusco, Peru; Freiburg, Germany; Mantova, Italy; Obihiro, Japan; Oslo, Norway and Vilnius, Lithuania.
Could we get some kind of discounts on travel to those cities? I'm looking to take a big trip to some place random in the next year, and I wouldn't mind an incentive to travel to any of the above.
The most interesting city to me is Camaguay, Cuba. According to the Madison-Camaguay website, both cities share a tradition of dairy. There is no mention of a shared love of leftism. Nevertheless, it's a great example of how diplomacy can continue with or without the state department.
Another example would be the North Korean schools in Japan, which serve as the unofficial embassies for the Dear Leader's fief. North Korea's best soccer player in this World Cup was largely raised in Japan, but was educated and indoctrinated in one of those schools. When it was time to choose a side it wasn't tough. Not only did he apply for North Korean citizenship to play on its team, but he promised to score a goal in every match.