MTPR

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

Dolce Canto performs at 35th anniversary sister state celebration
Maxine Speier

Montana is celebrating the 35th anniversary of a sister state relationship with Kumamoto, Japan this week. On Monday a delegation from Kumamoto that included Kumamoto’s Governor Ikuo Kabashima visited Missoula to celebrate and kick off a tour of the treasure state.

It was raining outside when the delegation arrived at the Missoula Community Theatre on Monday night. The theater was nearly full, and Japanese and English chatter mixed together.

Earlier on Monday the delegation of over a dozen distinguished political and community leaders from Kumamoto visited the University of Montana’s campus, but now it was time to have some fun.

In honor of the 35th anniversary MCT had put together a series of performances from local groups including the Missoula Children’s Theatre, Dolce Canto, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and the Rocky Mountain Ballet. The event showcased the cultural exchange that has formed so much of the bond between Montana and its Japanese sister state of Kumamoto.

Bar feet
Flickr user, Roger Jones (cc-by-2.0)

The Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre (RMBT), which is based in Missoula, will once again be hosting the prestigious Vienna International Ballet Experience (VIBE). The five-day international dance challenge will be held in conjunction with the the second annual Art of Diplomacy conference and film festival. Charlene Campbell Carey, the Artistic Director of RMBT and the VIBE U.S.A. Director, discusses how the arts deepen human connections.

The events will take place January 10-14, 2016.

Global energy leaders are meeting at the University of Montana today through Friday for the Asia-Montana Energy Summit.

Leaders in global energy issues from five different countries are converging at the University of Montana Wednesday through Friday for the Asia-Montana Energy Summit. Hosted by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, the summit will highlight trends that are shaping the world’s energy future, and Montana’s role in it. I talked about the summit with the Mansfield Center’s director, Abraham Kim.

Last week, my family hosted a gathering at our home for friends both old and new.  I hadn’t seen our friend Joe in a while, and he asked how things were at the Mansfield Center.  Ironically, on that day, we were welcoming home two Missoula professionals returning from working with youth in Cambodia, and sending off 20 Montana high school students and two teachers for a program in Cambodia.  Things could not be better, on a day when we had such tangible expressions of our work to promote global understanding.

Prior to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, John Steinbeck decided he was out of touch with America.  He took his French poodle Charley on a cross-country road trip, documenting his adventures in his book, Travels with Charley in Search of America. Steinbeck wrote rapturously of Montana, saying, “…I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love….Montana has a spell on me. It is grandeur and warmth….Of all the states, it is my favorite, and my love….”

 

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