Late last month, the cities of Medellín and Fort Lauderdale celebrated 55 years of friendship and cooperation. A delegation led by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler traveled to Colombia’s second city on August 31 to sign an agreement commemorating the special relationship that the two municipalities have shared for more than half-century.
During his trip, which was coordinated along with ACI Medellin, Seiler met with city leaders Mayor Federico Gutiérrez and city council vice president Nataly Velez. The delegation also sat down with members of the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and others representing the private sector.
Among the initiatives that Medellín and Fort Lauderdale are partnering on is a plan to help improve firefighting by sharing strategies related to rescue operations and first aid. The firehouse in the Florida city has been named as one of the best in all of the United States in recent years by various media publications.
“It is a time of joy but also the opportunity to assess what we have done with this relationship for so many years,” said Sergio Escobar, executive director of the ACI Medellín (the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellin). “We cannot deny that beautiful words put on paper are often lost throughout history. However, Fort Lauderdale has managed to develop cooperation programs in education, and we hope to advance future activities in the near future to improve the practices of our city in first aid.”
The partnership — or “twinning” — between the two cities dates back to 1961, making Medellín, along with Venice, the longest-tenured “sister city” or Fort Lauderdale.
This was formalized even further during the administration of then-Medellín Mayor Jaime J. Nicholls in the early 1980s when he presented a key to the city to the then-Fort Lauderdale Mayor Virginia Young. In 2011, the two cities again celebrated their friendship when Medellín Mayor Alonso Salazar traveled to Fort Lauderdale to celebrate 50 years of twinning.