The 2019 New Orleans - Matsue Exchange is a program designed to foster continued friendship between New Olreans and Matsue in honor of the 25-year anniversary of our sister-city relationship. Two representatives, Doug Tassin and Madelyn Fox, were chosen to participate in this professional exchange and learn about the striking cultural and socioeconomic ties between our cities, accompanied by JSNO board member, program coordinator, and 2015 TOMODACHI Exchange participant Samantha Perez.
From the 9th - 16th of October 2019, JSNO’s delegates participated in a variety of activities meant to heighten appreciation for Matsue City and its surroundings and gain a better understanding of the areas where our cultures intersect. While in Matsue, the delegation stayed with host families, furthering opportunity to engage in conversations about the challenges and history our two cities share and plant seeds for future programs and exchange opportunities. Central to this visit was the delegation’s participation in Matsue’s Little Mardi Gras festival and parade, Matsue’s 25 Year Friendship City Ceremony, and a mutual interests forum with Matsue City officials on our shared challenges of historic preservation and water mitigation. The delegation additionally delivered letters from Chalmette High School’s Japanese class to Matsue Municipal Girl's High School's English class in order to encourage pen pal relationships between the youth of our two cities.
The delegation was joined for many of these activities by JSNO board member Mike Dispenza, Alana Harris of the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, and 2015 TOMODACHI participant Lauren Nicole.
The events of this exchange, particularly in light of relationships built since the 2015 TOMODACHI Exchange, has inspired its participants to share what they have learned and bring as much of Matsue back to New Orleans as possible. This 25-year anniversary has brought to light a beautiful and unique bond between the peoples of our cities, and we hope to continue sending fellow enthusiasts on future exchange programs.
This exchange was entirely funded through donations collected from JSNO’s generous supporters. Thank you to all who made this possible. If you are interested in funding future exchanges, please consider donating at the link below.