Calling it “the start of a new era of cultural sharing,” Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith joined Mayor Choi Hyung-sik of Damyang, South Korea, in a Thursday evening ceremony, during which the two signed the Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the official Sister City relationship between their two cities.
In the works since February, the agreement signed at the Lynnwood Convention Center lays the groundwork for a variety of exchanges that will enrich both communities. “We are making history as we sign this agreement,” said Mayor Choi Hyung-sik. “Lynnwood and Damyang have much in common, and there is much we can learn from each other.”
Located approximately four hours south of South Korea’s capital city of Seoul, Damyang has a population of 48,000. Called the “City of Bamboo,” Damyang and its surroundings contain 25 percent of the nation’s bamboo forests and is famous for its stunning bamboo gardens and parks. Each year the city hosts the Bamboo Festival in early May, and is a center of eco-tourism.
“Koreans make up 4 percent of the population of Lynnwood, and we have more than 240 Korean-owned businesses,” Smith said. “Having a Sister City relationship with Damyang is a meaningful tribute to our engaged Korean community. With tonight’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, we memorialize this relationship and begin our shared journey to explore the many opportunities for cultural, educational and economic exchange.”
The Damyang mayor was accompanied by a delegation from Lynnwood’s new Sister City, who arrived at Sea-Tac airport from Korea on Wednesday. Prior to Thursday evening’s reception and dinner, the delegates toured Lynnwood High School, visited Edmonds Community College, took a driving tour of Lynnwood and had a meeting at City Hall, followed by a tour of the Recreation center and fire and police stations. The delegation will return to South Korea on Friday.
The Lynnwood Sister City Program organized the reception and dinner.