In 2018 Perm has retained its leadership in people’s diplomacy in Russia
Modern international relations in Europe and the global world put a special emphasis on promoting links and cooperation in social sphere, primarily at twinned cities and “people-to-people” levels.
The City of Perm has always been very active in this field and is aiming at expanding interaction with its twin-cities as well as gaining tangible results from it.
A proof to this is the fact that in 2017 Perm took the top position among Russia’s million-populated cities in international activity rating issued by Eurasia Regional Section of the World Organization "United Cities and Local Governments". However, in the current year the administration of Perm has put a lot of effort into up-keeping the leader’s position.
In April 2018 Perm has been ranked the best in the competition “People’s diplomacy- effective municipals government» at the International Forum of the best municipal practices held by the Union of Russian Cities in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). The award was given to praise the experience gained by Perm City in structuring and implementing interaction with its twinned cities.
On September 14, Berlin (Germany) hosted a conference summing up the results of 2017-2018Russian-German cross year of regional municipal partnerships. The event was patronized by foreign ministries of the Russian Federation and Germany. At the closing plenary session Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented the Certificate of Merit “To the cities of Perm and Duisburg for their significant contribution into developing municipal cooperation between Russia and Germany” to Mayor of Perm Dmitry Samoilov. Under the framework of Russian-German cross year of municipal partnership the twinned cities of Perm and Duisburg implemented a joint project titled “10-year partnership of Perm and Duisburg: demonstration of tangible results of people-to-people diplomacy”.
Perm City publishes a regular newsletter called “Twinned Cities» to inform the residents about the most successful projects.
In 2018 a new Internet resource was launched for twinned cities at permcitybro.com. The website was created following the initiatives of Perm journalists and activists in collaboration with the “Stimul” Social Projects Center and the «Business Class» newspaper; the project was promoted by the city administration. The website looks at topics which might be of interest to the residents of the twinned cities and will add to better understanding and expanding knowledge of what is unique in each city. The project under the name “City to city” became the winner of the XX Perm City Competition of social projects “The City Is Us” devoted to the 295 anniversary of Perm City foundation.
The experience of Perm City in promoting people’s diplomacy has been presented and discussed at a number of conferences and workshops, with a substantial interest to the creative projects bringing together people from the twinned cities. A successful example of the latter is the 3rd International twinned cities festival “Come together!” held in Perm in September of 2018 to mark the 295th “birthday” of the city. It involved the actors and performers from the cities twinned with Perm – Agrigento (Italy), Duisburg (Germany), Louisville (UAS), Oxford (the UK) and Qingdao (China).
The year of the World Football Cup-2018 gave young footballers from Perm a chance of joining the youth football competitions in the twinned cities: In July one of the groups from Perm went over to Qingdao and later in August another group played in Oxford winning the twinned cities cup. Both events were parts of reciprocal exchange visits to the ones made to Perm Youth Football Summer Camp in 2016 and 2017 .
In late September- beginning of October 2018 representatives from Perm and Duisburg took part in the 2nd Youth Forum of Twinned Cities of Russia and Germany «Development through youth exchanges» (Hamburg, Germany). The young people were working jointly on a project within “Mobility. Digital Environment” section. The partners from Perm and Duisburg are planning to continue the work to organize micro-projects in the residential areas of Perm. These initiatives are aimed at improving the urban environment.
In November 2018 “Evgeny Panfilov’s Ballet” group performed in a joint production called “Still we rise” together with the actors from Oxford and its twinned cities. The unique performance was inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I rise” and Kristen Visbal’s sculpture “The Fearless Girl” and incorporated the female suffrage stories. The joined final performance was presented to the general public on November 11, the Remembrance Day in the UK. The Perm delegation also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the end of the World War I.
December 2018 features a visit from the German twinned city of Duisburg of a delegation taking part in the presentation of a photo album “Perm and Duisburg: the city’s social space in 1950-1960s” – a joint project of Perm Regions State Archive and Duisburg Archive.
The coming year of 2019 will feature many new joint projects which will promote exchange of experience in a variety of city’s life aspects and will strengthen mutual understanding between their residents.