The mayors of Athens and New York signed a twinning agreement on Thursday at the Greek capital’s Town Hall.
Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, who received visiting New York Mayor Eric Adams, underscored in his speech that, despite being divided by an ocean, the two cities are linked by a common goal of democracy and eliminating inequalities.
“From the Parthenon to the Statue of Liberty and from Astoria to Koukaki, we are proud to offer the opportunity to the thousands of Greeks of New York to see the two capitals of their heart come even closer,” he said.
Athens and New York believe in the values of democracy
On his part, Adams noted that New York is the Athens of the U.S. because both cities believe in the values of democracy, the eradication of social inequalities, and the protection of the environment to ensure a better quality of life for inhabitants.
“The aim should be for the two cities to work together to solve the same problems and become model cities for whole world,” the New York mayor said.
“We are going to work together to grow tourism between our two cities, address climate change, commit to cultural cooperation, and more. Athens teaches us that we must always dream and work towards a better tomorrow,” he added.
The sister city agreement — which recognizes the crucial role of cities in the stability, development, prosperity, sustainability, and well-being of their societies and their citizens — focuses on several key issues of collaboration, including:
- Investigating the organization of joint art exhibitions, festivals, concerts, opera, theater, ballet, or other relevant cultural events;
- Engaging in information sharing about the resilience of modern urban centers, specifically on topics related to climate change mitigation challenges, prevention of natural disasters, and emergency management, including earthquakes, winter weather emergencies, and wildfires;
- Exchanging best practices and know-how on the digitalization of municipal services, such as the issuance of official forms, licenses, and electronic applications without requiring the citizen’s physical presence; and
- Examining appropriate ways to encourage the travel of their citizens to each other’s respective city in order for them to visit their monuments and local landmarks.
Adams is in Athens for the World Summit of Mayors against Anti-Semitism, which is co-organized by the Municipality of Athens, the organization Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), and the Centre for Jewish Impact in cooperation with the Jewish Federations of North America.
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America and around the world,” Adams wrote on Twitter. “It has become normalized. My fellow Mayors from around the world and I are fighting back.”
“I am proud to stand with them in Greece,” he added.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America and around the world. It has become normalized. My fellow Mayors from around the world and I are fighting back.
Proud to stand with them in Greece and honored to have received the prestigious Civic Leadership award. pic.twitter.com/eD5urvrKiC
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) November 30, 2022
“Athens is very proud to host the Summit of Mayors against Anti-Semitism,” Bakoyannis said in a Facebook post.
“Hate has no place in our societies,” he added. “The capital of Greece has historically and throughout time been synonymous with democracy, security and freedom for all.”
Mayors and representatives from fifty-three cities and twenty-three countries take part in the World Summit of Mayors against Anti-Semitism.
“Mayors and other local and regional decision-makers are the closest officials to the ground in towns and cities around the world,” said CEO of Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Sacha Roytman Dratwa.
“They have the best understanding of the challenges and the solutions to combat all forms of hate, including antisemitism,” Dratwa said. “They are the ones charged with issues that take place on their streets and neighborhoods, so they are closest to the pulse of their communities.”
CAM is a global coalition engaging more than six hundred partner organizations and nearly two million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred.