News Release - Mayor Duffy Signs Sister City Agreement with Alytus, Lithuania

City of Rochester

News Release

(Tuesday, May 18, 2010) – Mayor Robert J. Duffy signed a sister city agreement today with Mayor Cheslovas Daugela of the City of Alytus (ah-LEE-toos), Lithuania, establishing the 12th international connection in Rochester’s 52-year-old volunteer program of citizen diplomacy.

This partnership culminates an effort which began in 2006 by a diverse group of community volunteers, led by Rimas Chesonis of Webster, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Lithuania. Mayor Daugela is leading a delegation of six Alytus business, political, and educational leaders who are visiting Rochester to meet counterparts and visit institutions and attractions in our community.
The delegation exchanged information yesterday with leaders of Rochester’s international business community at an economic forum and reception hosted by the International Business Council of Greater Rochester. Earlier, it took part in the Lilac Festival Parade and visited Niagara Falls.

Alytus lies on the banks of the Nemunas River in southern Lithuania, near the border with Poland. It is the historical centre of the Dzūkija region. Its population in 2007 was approximately 69,000. Historically a notable center of commerce on the Nemunas River, Alytus was the main route for export goods from Lithuania proper. The region is noted for its beautiful landscapes, rapid rivers, lakes, and forests, and the City for its festivals and parks. Its cultural life includes over 500 concerts, performances, exhibitions, and other events and many professional and amateur arts organizations. Alytus College caps the city’s network of general, vocational, arts and music schools.
In 1958 Rochester established its first sister cities relationship, with Rennes, France, helping initiate a national movement of United States citizen diplomacy intended to build international understanding and contribute to world peace. Its activities have included international exchanges in education, culture, tourism, business, and humanitarian aid. Since then, Rochester has developed a total of 11 sister cities relationships, acting through individual sister cities committees and the umbrella organization International Sister Cities of Rochester, NY, Inc. (ISCOR), which runs the Rochester program.

“Rochester’s program has mobilized the talents and resources of hundreds of public-spirited volunteers from throughout our region for its sister cities committees and activities,” said Mayor Duffy. “They make an immense contribution to the educational and cultural life of our community."

ISCOR president, City Council member Carolee Conklin, said “Rochester’s sister cities program has been very active over the past several months. Official delegations visited from and have traveled to Waterford, Ireland, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Rennes, France, Würzburg, Germany, and Novgorod, Russia to build friendships, strength existing cultural and educational exchanges and develop business connections.”

Critical support has been given by institutions such as VisitRochester, the International Business Council for Greater Rochester, Nazareth and St. John Fisher colleges, Rochester Institute of Technology, Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Hochstein School of Music, the George Eastman House, and many other groups from across the community.


News Media: For more information about Rochester’s sister cities program and the above activities, contact Michael Leach at City Hall, 585-428-7319 or
For general information and recent newsletters, visit the International Sister Cities of Rochester Web page at