Historic moment as Oxford and Ramallah in Palestine become twin cities

Published: Monday, 11th March 2019

A new twin city relationship with Oxford and Ramallah in Palestine will be officially agreed on Monday.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Colin Cook and the Mayor of Ramallah, Mr Musa Hadid will sign the Twinning Agreement in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Oxford Town Hall, at 6pm on Monday 11 March 2019.

This signing builds on a 15 year friendship link between the two cities which has been driven by the Oxford-Ramallah Friendship Association. The move follows a decision back in July last year by the Council to initiate a twinning link between Oxford and Ramallah. A memorandum of understanding was signed in December last year.

Ramallah is a Palestinian city located in central Palestine, 16km North of Jerusalem. As the seat of the Government of the State of Palestine, it is a base for many NGOs, diplomatic representations, companies and banks.

Ramallah and Oxford have similarities in terms of population size, universities, schools and hospitals, and many civil society groups as well as commerce, trade unions and cultural ventures. Ramallah is a vibrant city with a historic market, hip downtown and towering, and glamorous hotels. Ramallah is an eclectic hub of activity and continues to evolve with each day. Literature, comedy and the arts in general are also of great importance.

Back in October last year Oxford signed a twinning agreement with Wroclaw in Poland making Ramallah its seventh twin city.

Oxford is also twinned with Bonn in Germany, Leiden in the Netherlands, Grenoble in France, Leon in Nicaragua and Perm in Russia.

Twin city links give citizens the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life, and make these experiences more accessible through established contacts and networks in the linked cities.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Colin Cook said: “I am very glad to be signing this agreement today on behalf of Oxford City Council.  It is the culmination of over 15 years of work by the Oxford-Ramallah Friendship Association building links between our two cities.  The signing of this agreement marks a new phase in our relationship and I wish it every success in the future.”

The Mayor of Ramallah, Mr Mousa Hadid said: “Today, through signing this agreement, we confirm that “Together we can make a difference “.  It’s only through combining our efforts and bringing together our communities to learn more about each other, network and exchange on the level of the different organisations and associations in towns, sharing our experiences and lessons learned, that we can together build a strong and meaningful partnership. Strong communities exist when members have a shared objective or goal that they want to achieve together. This is a strong belief that we Palestinians hold and that is why I am here today with you.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and the City Centre said: “I’m delighted that Oxford and Ramallah have come together for the Twinning Agreement signing. This agreement reflects that our links with Ramallah have been strengthened.  Ramallah and Oxford have much in common. Both cities have established and highly respected universities and are cities of culture and diversity.  I am sure we can learn much from each other for the benefit of residents of both our cities.”

Councillor John Tanner said: “I am thrilled that Oxford is being twinned with Ramallah in Palestine. Well done to the Oxford-Ramallah Friendship Association for building such strong community links between our two cities. This latest twin will create greater understanding and friendship.”

Nikki Marriott secretary of  Oxford-Ramallah Friendship Association said: “The signing of the official Twinning Agreement between Oxford and Ramallah in Palestine is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen both cities already established links.  We are excited as the official Twinning shows a real appreciation of the work of our association both on the Oxford and the Ramallah side.  We are a cities of a similar size and we both have large universities. Our friendship links with Ramallah and the Al Amari Refugee Camp have helped to share cultural understanding through video, dance, youth and women's visit.  We look forward to lots more projects with Ramallah.”