Town Twinning - 60th Anniversary visit to Augsburg
Led by Provost Helen Carmichael, a group from Inverness recently visited Augsburg to commemorate the diamond anniversary of their twinning. The visit was organised by Inverness Town Twinning Committee, in recognition of 60 years of successful partnership between the two cities.
In that period many exchanges have taken place between schools, colleges, families, clubs and societies involving citizens of all ages and from every walk of life. From this, strong bonds of understanding and friendship have been forged between several generations in the two communities, across the breadth of Europe.
The success of the twinning partnership was warmly acclaimed in Augsburg, who made Inverness and Scotland the central theme of their annual Europa Week and associated celebrations in the sunny medieval city square. They displayed an excellent local pipe band and other entertainments, and organised an official ceremony in the magnificent City Hall at which warm greetings and friendly tokens were exchanged between the Provost and the Mayor.
The Inverness group of twenty included a piper, highland dancers, fiddlers and accompanist who were in popular demand throughout the weekend. Particular highlights were the performance and presentation at the official ceremony by piper Scott Taylor of a tune he specially composed for the occasion, and the singing by pianist Erik Spence of his haunting composition “Give Me Your Hand’, which he sang in English, Gaelic and German.
The group were generously hosted by Augsburg families, warmly welcomed by Augsburg city and involved in a range of events and activities. They were shown the attractions of the ancient town and taken on an excursion into the beautiful surrounding countryside in the Alpine foothills of Bavaria.
A group from Augsburg will make a reciprocal visit to Inverness in early September, to further commemorate and cement the strong bonds of friendship between the two communities and advance new ways to strengthen them further.
An important new dimension of the twinning was the involvement of Professor Clive Mulholland, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Professor Alasdair Munro, from the Highland Centre for Health Science, who had meetings with senior representatives of the impressive Augsburg University of Applied Science and senior staff from Augsburg Klinikum, the city’s main 1,700 bed hospital.
Discussions took place regarding current activities and the scope for possible exchange and collaboration. These will now be pursued in more detail between the institutions, with the possibility of productive joint activities in the future. At the graduation ceremony of the University, Professor Mulholland was awarded the 2016 Hans Benedict medal for internationalisation in higher education.
Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael said: “The visit powerfully confirmed the warmth of friendship felt in Augsburg towards Inverness, which is the product of 60 years of successful twinning. I was very proud of our musicians and dancers, who all performed magnificently to great local acclaim. I believe it is good for Inverness to have such a strong relationship with such a city at the heart of the Bavarian economic powerhouse.”
Professor Clive Mulholland, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "It is a privilege to be a part of the celebrations marking the long and successful relationship between Inverness and Augsburg. I hope that our collaboration with the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences will help to extend this partnership, proving new opportunities for our institutions and our regions."
David Henderson, Chairman of Inverness Town Twinning Committee said: “Twinning is all about international partnership, understanding and collaboration, and this visit celebrated and reinforced all of these with our good friends in Augsburg. On the strong foundation of our 60 year partnership, we look forward to ever closer and mutually beneficial links in the future.”