Global Citizen Diplomacy of 21st Century — one individual, one city at a time
A Brief History
New Haven and Avignon became sister cities in 1979. Like New Haven, Avignon has a population of about 125,000. It stands on the east side of the Rhone river in the heart of Provence. Avignon’s proud history as a medieval center of commerce and papal seat is evident in the magnificent architecture remaining from the fourteenth century including the Papal Palace and the St. Benezet bridge, immortalized in the song Sur Le Pont d’Avignon. Both Avignon and New Haven have international arts festivals each summer.
Since its inception in 1979, the Avignon Committee of New Haven Sister Cities, with the cooperation of the Comite des Jumelages in Avignon,has devoted its energies to student, professional and cultural exchange. With the support of the New Haven Board of Education, we have been sending groups of high school students to study and do home stays in Avignon each summer for over twenty years. We have also received groups of Avignonnais in our homes. We have also set up professional internships at both venues.
The Avignon committee has also been on the forefront of cultural exchange. The decade of the eighties saw participation in an economic fair sponsored by the city of Avignon as well as an artist exchange. In 1987, New Haven Sister Cities received twenty artists from Avignon for an exhibit in local galleries. In 1988, the Avignon committee sent twenty artists to Avignon for home stays and a well-received exhibition at La Galerie St. Benezet. We also participated with our other sister cities in receiving a chef and an artist who participated in an evening of fine food and entertainment. This was coordinated with an exhibition of children’s art from the sister cities at the Children's Museum of New Haven. Two years ago, a musician and his student from the Conservatoire in Avignon participated in the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. We support our efforts with an annual dinner and wine tasting at Le Petit Café in Branford.