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Meet Austin's New Friend: Jacmel, Haiti

Photo by Marie Sophie-Creamarie-Kazamarie

A Haitian city devastated by the 2010 earthquake has been designated as Austin's newest "Friendship City".  Mayor Lee Leffingwell saysJacmel, Haiti has a lot in common with the Live Music Capital. It's a creative city, famous for its arts scene, film institute and scenic beauty.

Friendship cities are supposed to foster cooperation between their respective residents and businesses. It's not quite as big a deal as the "Sister City" designation, which typically involves more collaboration between local governments and a more formalized agreement.

Jacmel (pronounced zhak-MEL) is home to Haiti's only film school, Cine Institute. Students there have already partnered with an Austin  non-profit called Students of the World to document theClinton Bush Haiti Fundand its efforts in Haiti's reconstruction. The Austin Film Society says that it looks forward to developing a creative relationship with Cine Institute.

“Austin can have a strong presence in the reconstruction of Haiti," Mayor Leffingwell said in a press release. "I believe the continued relief efforts can use our relationship with Jacmel and promote other Friendship Cities between Haiti and the United States."

Jacmel is Austin's second friendship city. It shares the title with Villefranche sur Mer,France. Austin has eleven formal Sister Cities.

You can see a photo gallery of Jacmel here.

Kelsey Sheridan is a news intern at KUT. She currently studies religion and journalism at Northwestern University.