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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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    From Medan to Gwangju: Sister City Collaboration in the Spirit of Friendship and International Cooperation

    Students from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) at the Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) embarked on a cultural visit to Gwangju, South Korea, aiming to strengthen bilateral relations through cultural exchange and explore potential collaborations in education.

    This activity is part of the Sister City program between the City Government of Medan and the City Government of Gwangju.rnrnThe Sister City Program is an initiative between two cities from different countries or regions aimed at establishing official relationships to promote cultural, economic, and social exchanges. True to its name, Sister City is grounded in the similarities of two cities despite their geographical differences. The program has gained international recognition, especially in bilateral relations between countries, particularly in non-capital regions.rnrnThe City Government of Medan initiated Sister City collaborations in 1997 with several cities in different countries, including Gwangju (South Korea), Ichikawa (Japan), Chengdu (China), Georgetown, and Ipoh (Malaysia)rnrnTypically involving student exchanges, government official visits, economic collaborations, and joint cultural programs, the program aims to strengthen the relationship between two cities and allows their residents to learn and understand each other’s cultures.

    In November 2023, the Medan City Government implemented the Sister City program to Gwangju, South Korea. The initiative included sending 12 students from four major universities in Medan.rnrnDuring the program, Medan students were accompanied by students from Gwangju, originating from Chungnam National University (CNU) and the Gwangju International Center (GIC), a non-governmental organization in Gwangju.rnrnThe student exchange activities also included panel discussions addressing relevant global and local issues. This provided an opportunity for both Medan and Gwangju students to understand cultural differences and worldviews, ultimately improving cross-cultural communication skills.

    In terms of arts and culture, students from FISIP USU and CNU collaborated in organizing art exhibitions, traditional performances, and other cultural activities. This not only enriched the artistic experiences of both groups of students but also broadened the appreciation of arts and culture from each city. The active involvement of FISIP USU students in this Sister City program creates opportunities for learning and personal development. Through cultural exchanges, social experiences, and joint projects, students not only strengthen the relationship between Gwangju and Medan but also become ambassadors for peace and cross-cultural understanding. To further strengthen the established relationship, CNU students will visit Medan in February to learn about the local arts and culture. With a collaborative spirit, this program is expected to leave a positive impact in building bridges between two different cities, connected by the spirit of friendship and cooperation.