To begin at the beginning we must go back to 1990 to the Village offices late one afternoon—in fact, the lights were off and most people had gone home, but Mayor Rita Mullins was still rolling at break-neck speed.
She told Village Clerk Marg Duer about the Committee she was appointing to plan a Community-wide Birthday party to celebrate Palatine’s 125 years of incorporation.
Rita went on to share her dream of having a Sister City for Palatine, and what an opportune time this would be when Palatine would be celebrating its past—its heritage—its accomplishments—and when Mayor Richard Daley and the City of Chicago would be hosting the 35th Anniversary of Sister Cities International in July of 1991. That seemed far off!
That was the seed of Palatine having a Sister City.
The first 125th Committee Meeting was the germination when individuals from throughout the Community volunteered to investigate the possibilities of Sister Cities. About 20 people met in July, 1990 to hear from Palatine resident, Martha Atherton, President of Sister Cities of Illinois, and to be guided by Des Plaines Sister Cities executives including Tom Tenhove.
This is what they explained about Sister Cities. . .
The basic goal of Sister Cities is global understanding leading to world peace. Town affiliations between the U.S. and foreign cities began shortly after World War II.
The program became a National effort under President Eisenhower with his People to People program in 1956. He proposed to involve individuals and groups on all levels in Personal Diplomacy.
Eisenhower believed that people knowing, sharing and understanding each other would accomplish a more lasting, and certainly a healthier, peace than what guns and tanks, bombs and submarines had accomplished at great cost in World War II.
Initial meetings of the Sister Cities Association of Palatine generated the by-laws, papers of incorporation and not-for-profit status, and a profile of Palatine. Interest throughout the community was confirmed.
With a globe before them, they established the geographic areas of interest. The Middle East, Far East, Asia, Oceania, Japan, and China were determined to be too distant for easy travel. Focus was narrowed to Europe, South and Central America and Mexico. The initial contacts were to cities in Germany, believing that much of Palatine’s history was rooted in Germany. Letters of intent were sent, with little or no response. This was the time of the unification of Germany.
It was not until Mayor Mullins was dinning with M. Didier Pinoit Velancian of Schneider Electric, International in 1994, when Schneider acquired Palatine’s Square D Corporation, that she mentioned our search for a Sister City. M. Valencian suggested his boyhood town of Fontenay-le-Comte, France, where his father had been the country doctor.
Correspondence began, and in March 1995, a delegation of four with Mayor Mullins went to Fontenay to sign the initial papers. The following July, a delegation of four with Mayor Renauld came to Palatine to finalize the affiliation, beginning an ongoing association of sharing friendship through music, dance, visual and culinary arts, history, architecture, celebrations and life events.
In 2010 we celebrated our 20th anniversary of our organization and our 15th anniversary of our fond relationship with Fontenay-le-Comte, France.