Inter-regional cooperation of Ukraine and USA
Ukraine-US regional cooperation and sister city ties
The recent years of Ukraine – U.S. relations were marked by the climate of mutual trust and intensive political dialogue which paved the way for increased bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation. Consequently, these developments contributed significantly to the momentum of interregional ties and sister-city cooperation, notably in business, research, educational, cultural, humanitarian and social areas.
Between 1991 and present, more than 25 bilateral interregional agreements on partnership relations between the cities and regions of the two countries have been signed. These documents have become the basis for regular exchange visits of Ukrainian and American local officials dealing with municipal issues, businessmen interested in investment projects, scholars tackling problems of history, experts in local self-governance, as well as representatives of NGOs, members of non-profit groups that seek to promote excellence in citizen diplomacy. The most active ties at the moment are between the cities of Kyiv and Chicago, Dolyna and Prairie Village, Ivano-Frankivsk and Arlington, Chernivtsi and Salt Lake City, Vinnytsia and Birmingham, Kharkiv and Cincinnati etc.
A wide network of Ukrainian and the U.S. governmental and non-governmental organizations provide effective functioning of the local and regional partnership bodies between the two countries. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the U.S. State Department with its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are the main entities supervising this process. Non-profit and public organizations, funds and associations, tens of thousands of volunteers contribute to the progress of Ukraine-U.S. sister-cities contacts.
They are “National Council for International Visitors” (NCIV) that has a number of regional centers all around the USA; “US-Ukraine Foundation” covering democracy, human rights and market economy issues; “United States Agency for International Development” (USAID) providing economic and humanitarian assistance, “American Councils for International Education” (ACTR/ACCELS) servicing academic communities and administering a variety of cultural exchanges, study and research programs; “Open World Leadership Center” with the Library of the U.S. Congress enabling emerging leaders from Eurasian countries to experience American democracy and civil society in action; “U.S. Sister Cities International” creating opportunities for all people to experience and explore other cultures through long-term partnerships; “Association of Ukrainian Cities and Communities” (AUC) together with “All-Ukrainian Foundation of Regional Initiatives” contributing to the strengthening of democratic principles, constitutional rights of the territorial communities, fostering local self-government and advocating the interaction and cooperation with local governments of foreign countries.
The sister-city relationships have proved to be the most effective for the U.S. On the other hand, the practice of establishing partnerships between American counties and their administrative and territorial counterparts in other countries (districts or areas) is not that widespread. Most U.S. states prefer to establish direct cooperation using mechanisms developed by the legislatures of the states (California, South Carolina), the Departments of State Governor (Alaska, Idaho, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Florida), Departments of Trade and Investment (Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio) or non-governmental organizations specifically created for such purposes (Iowa, Vermont, Oklahoma, Oregon).
Regional cooperation between Ukraine and the U.S. has been consistently facilitated by visits of Ambassador of Ukraine to various states of the U.S. The development of mutually beneficial partnerships between the regional businesses and entrepreneurs is also possible due to efforts of the Consulates of Ukraine.
Sister city relations and partnerships between the cities and regions of Ukraine and the U.S.
According to the 2015 “Sister Cities International” Membership Directory more than 20 partner cities representing various Ukrainian regions and American states have been maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. At present the official sister-city status was granted to the following cities:
- Bogodukhiv, Kharkiv region – Boyertown, Pennsylvania;
- Brovary, Kiev region – Rockford, Illinois;
- Chernivtsi – Salt Lake City, Utah;
- Chyhyryn, Cherkasy region – Sebastopol, California.
- Dolyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region – Prairie Village, Kansas;
- Donetsk – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
- Drohobych, Donetsk region – two cities: Muscatine, Iowa and Buffalo, New York;
- Horlivka, Donetsk region – two cities: Pensacola, Florida and Buffalo, New York;
- Ivano-Frankivsk – Arlington County, Virginia;
- Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk region – Grand Prairie, Texas;
- Kaniv, Cherkassy region – Sonoma, California;
- Kharkiv – Cincinnati, Ohio;
- Khmelnyskyi – Modesto, California;
- Krasnodon – Birmingham, Alabama:
- Kyiv – Chicago, Illinois;
- Lviv – two cities: Corning, New York and Parma, Ohio;
- Odessa – Baltimore, Maryland;
- Poltava – Irondequoit, NewYork;
- Smila, Cherkasy region – Newton, Iowa;
- Tysmenytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk region – Bandera, Texas;
- Uzhgorod, Transcarpathian region – Corvallis, Oregon;
- Vinnytsia – Birmingham, Alabama;
*Sister-city ties between Alushta, Crimea and Santa Cruz, California are suspended because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Apart from this, a number of Ukrainian cities took part in projects and initiatives within the framework of agreements and memorandums on friendship with the U.S. cities. However, these relations are not formally recognized as sister-city ties:
- Artemivsk, Donetsk region – Omaha, Nebraska;
- Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia region - Lowell, Massachusetts;
- Berezhany, Ternopil region - Wethersfield, Connecticut;
- Cherkasy - Des Moines, Iowa and Santa Rosa, California;
- Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk region - Little Rock, Arkanzas;
- Kamianets-Podilsky, Khmelnitsky region – Athens, Georgia;
- Kherson - Kent, Washington;
- Komsomolsk, Poltava region – Ithaca, New York;
- Konotop, Sumy region - Helena, Montana and Skokie, Illinois;
- Korsun-Shevchenkivskiy, Cherkasy region – Marshalltown, Iowa;
- Kremenchuk, Poltava region - Providence, Rhode Island;
- Myrgorod, Poltava region - Randolph, Vermont;
- Rubizhne, Luhanks region – Louisville, Kentucky;
- Shpola, Cherkasy region - Oskaloosa, Iowa;
- 15. Simferopol - Salem, Oregon;
- Slavutych, Kiev region – Richland, Washington;
- Svitlovodsk Kirovograd region - Springfield, Illinois;
- Ternopil - Yonkers, New York;
- Uman, Cherkasy region - Davis, California;
- Yalta, Crimea - Santa Barbara, California.
Currently Ukrainian districts do not have officially recognized partners among the U.S. counties. The only region of Ukraine, which has established partnership with the state of the U.S., is Cherkassy region, whose leadership signed a partnership agreement with the Office of the Governor of Iowa in 1996 (with the assistance of NGO “Iowa Sister States”). The city of Cherkasy also signed a partnership agreement with the capital of Iowa - Des Moines. In addition, in June 2012 while in the U.S. the delegation of Cherkasy region signed a memorandum of cooperation between Cherkassy region and the State of New York.