The international summit is also being hosted by New Castle, Ind.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Mayor Timothy Fulkerson said the International Summit of New Castles of the World is about friendship.
On Sunday, he introduced about 75 of his new friends to a crowd gathered at the city's Scottish Rite Cathedral. The gesture was part of the opening ceremonies of the third annual summit, which is being hosted by New Castle, Pa., through Tuesday and by New Castle, Ind., from Wednesday to Saturday.
"This is my new family," Fulkerson said of the delegates, who all hail from cities whose names derive from New Castle. "We have learned to be friends, trustworthy of each other, and we're trying to prove to the rest of the world love does go a long way and it's better than missiles and bombs."
Representing cities not much larger than New Castle, Pa., the delegates are being treated to American life during their stay in Pennsylvania and Indiana.
About 200 people attended Sunday's opening ceremony, which featured performances by the New Castle, Shenango and Union Area high school bands. The New Castle Honor Guard led the flag ceremony and the city's pipe band played bagpipes.
"It's just an exciting event," Fulkerson said. "It's exciting to have these people here. It's a great thing to be part of. I'm am very glad to have had this opportunity, for our city to have had this opportunity."
The contingent of New Castles came together in the mid-1990s when the mayor of Shinshiro, Japan, which translates into New Castle, started looking for a sister city. He eventually chose New Castle, Pa., but in his travels came across numerous other New Castles in the world and discovered their daily problems were not much different from his own.
The summit of New Castles was born in 1998 in Shinshiro and is held every two years in another New Castle. This year's event was two years in the making.
Delegates from Switzerland, where the summit was held last year, England, Germany, Japan, South Africa and the United States arrived in New Castle, Pa., on Saturday. The delegates were scheduled to spend today at Slippery Rock University in Butler County, where they were planning to talk about environmental ethics and Pennsylvania's environmental initiatives.
Tuesday's itinerary includes a visit to Westminster College in New Wilmington and a tour of Lawrence County.