Washington is becoming part of a big family. The nation’s capital now has 10 sister cities—Bangkok, Thailand; Dakar, Senegal; Beijing; Brussels, Belgium; Tshwane, South Africa; Paris; Athens, Greece; Seoul, South Korea; Accra, Ghana; and Sunderland, United Kingdom. And it may be adding one more: Rome. Attorney and D.C. voting rights activist Joseph N. Grano says he’s attended two meetings organized by the Office of the Secretary to lay the groundwork for bringing Italy’s capital into the fold. Roughly 30 people showed up for a June meeting, and 25 or so came to a meeting last week, he says. Grano says he’s been pushing the idea for four years. Before moving to Washington some 30 years ago, he traveled to Rome. Despite the obvious differences—-the quality of pizza being one—-the similarities in architecture in the two cities floored him.
But what will D.C. get out of the deal? Previous alliances have yielded a nebulous bounty. Take Accra: The 2006 agreement between D.C. and Ghana’s capital gives vague promises of support and says the sisters will “exchange information and know-how in the field of urban (city) administration.”
When asked what we’d get from Italy, Grano says, “I’d like to see a greater appreciation of what D.C. has gotten from Roman civilization—-and maybe an exchanging of people.”