Yerevan, Armenia

In 1985, Yerevan, Armenia (then a part of the USSR) was chosen to be Cambridge first "Peace Sister City." The choice of Yerevan was the result of a search for a city in the Soviet Union which could help counter misinformation and images of the "Evil Empire." Many in the peace communities at that time worried about the Cold War, nuclear weapons build-up, and massive government spending for military purposes justified by a fear of the Soviet Union. They were looking for a way to create citizen-to-citizen exchanges which could interrupt the fear-based stereotyping of Soviet peoples and help to foster dialogue and friendship. Yerevan was also selected because of the large Armenian community in the Cambridge area.

In May 1986, former Mayor and then City Councillor Frank Duehay led a mission of eleven Cambridge citizens to Yerevan, the capital of the Republic of Armenia, to present a formal proposal to the Mayor of Yerevan expressing the desire of the city of Cambridge to become a sister city with Yerevan. Following an exchange of official delegations and signing of protocols, a formal agreement was executed between the two sister cities in 1987, during an official visit by a Yerevan delegation to Cambridge. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the connection with Yerevan has remained very strong.

In 1985, the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA) was founded by the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge Peace Commission as a partnership between the citizens of Cambridge and Yerevan, the capital of the Republic of Armenia. An independent nonprofit organization, its goals are:

  • To foster friendship, mutual trust and dynamic interaction between the peoples of the two cities as well as their neighboring regions;
  • To build links between them, to promote public awareness of issues of mutual concern; and
  • To appreciate and accommodate the various manifestations of diversity in these communities

Over the last three decades, there have been exchanges on matters like water systems and technological issues, exchanges of youth and artists, educators and social workers — as well as help in difficult times, such as after the devastating 1988 Armenian earthquake. More information about CYSCA, its history, and its current programs can be found on its website at www.cysca.org.

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