The City of Paris hosted the 2011 Paris/Chicago Social Services Exchange delegation. The goal, as in the first conference held in Chicago in 2010, was to improve social services in both sister cities through dialogue about “best practices”. The nine Chicago delegates said, “This exchange successfully demonstrated through presentations, site visits, and cultural discourse how Paris addresses social ills and challenges while serving the needs of children and youth. We can now begin to compare and contrast our two cultures and methodologies to improve social services in our global community.” Paris has hosted many delegations, but this was the first Sister Cities exchange in Paris for Social Services.
Professional and personal relationships between Paris and Chicago were strengthened through the week’s interactions, most notably when the delegation was hosted in City Hall by Deputy Mayor Pierre Schapira, in Renee Johnson’s home and also in the home of Geneviève Gueydan.
The delegation thanks Madame Gueydan for her expert organization as well as the professional support from Nicolas de Labrusse. All delegates came away from this conference with a renewed belief that city non-profits and governments play a key role in building dialogue, strengthening trust and delivering the best possible services within the context of coordination with the state and national government, global aid organizations and civil society itself. This bond of mutual cooperation can make a difference and all were interested in continuing the benefits of the on-going exchange model.
We thank Paris for the success and look forward to welcoming the Paris delegation to Chicago in 2012.