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Sarajevo a better choice

It was unsettling and strange to read of Aspen’s association with Bariloche as a sister city. When I lived in Aspen, I recall meeting a few people who had actually been there. They liked it well enough ” there’s good people everywhere. However, it has always been my feeling Aspen could do a lot better with its sister cities choices than Bariloche and Davos.

I’ve always thought the best of Aspen would be shown if it were somebody’s big sister ” there in a time of need. I recall many moons ago, maybe 1996, I went before the Aspen City Council, stood up and asserted Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, would be a better choice here. It went nowhere, but Sarajevo, surrounded by mountains, and having a strong skiing/alpine/Olympic culture and history, at that point desperately needed a big sister.

One of our Aspen sisters, Kristin Cooper, skier extraordinaire, felt strongly enough about Sarajevo to make it there during the Balkans conflict. With the Cities of Light program, she tried to make a difference as the war raged, organizing soccer matches for kids, and trying in her own way to help maintain what remained of Sarajevo’s historic multiculturalism in the face of the Balkan war’s horrors.

Aspen really stands to make a difference with a program like Sister Cities, to do something extraordinary. Perhaps Davos and Bariloche can get by without Aspen’s Sister Cities program, and Sarajevo again be considered for this association. It’s never too late, and, well, it might actually mean something more than mildly exciting citizen exchanges and some low-intensity, albeit well-meaning, chamber of commerce folderol.

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Eric Lecht

Boise, Idaho


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