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As It Was: Ashland, Ore., and Guanajuato, Mexico, Observe Anniversary

Ashland, Ore., and Guanajuato, Mexico, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year as Sister Cities, a program established after World War II to further international peace through people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

An official Guanajuato delegation is being feted in Ashland this week and Guanajuato will greet
Ashland “amigos” in Mexico May 27-31.

Ashland and Guanajuato became Sister Cities in 1969.  Simultaneously, supporting Amigo Clubs were formed in each city and Southern Oregon University and the University of Guanajuato created the Amistad, or Friendship, exchange program.  Some 250 Guanajuato students have studied in Ashland and twice as many SOU students have gone to Guanajuato to study, some with Ashland Amigo Club scholarships. There have been 80 cross-cultural marriages.

In recent years, new exchanges have begun between student nurses from the two universities and between the cities’ Little League baseball teams.  Guanajuato firemen have attended wildfire training in Ashland and Ashland police officers have provided training in Guanajuato.

For a half century, Guanajuato has sent a festival queen each year to ride in Ashland’s Fourth of July parade, and Ashland has sent “princesses” in June to serve on the festival queen’s court.


Source: Ashland Amigo Club records.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.