Erbil-Nashville ties to be strengthened, underlines newly-elected Nashville mayor
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Freddie O'Connell, the newly elected Nashville mayor, spoke with Washington-based Kurdistan 24 correspondent Rahim Rashidi on Friday about Erbil-Nashville relations.
“[The] Erbil governor’s visit here speaks to the importance of the Kurdish community to Nashville,” the mayor said and reaffirmed that “the relationship with Kurdistan that we know has been informal and strong for a long time, and now this gives that strength to a new formality.”
O'Connell reiterated that his administration wishes to continue strengthening the city’s relations with Erbil.
“We know our Kurdish community is one of the largest in the United States and we know it’s an incredibly important part of our cultural and business community and has an incredible amount to offer Nashville. It will have my full attention,” he added.
Possessing a versatile background, O’Connell’s career experience includes a position as a software engineer at Rustici Software. He had previously been president of the Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association, board member of the Nashville Metro Transit Authority, and a senior advisor of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. He was also a co-host of a public affairs radio program for five years.
O'Connell was elected on Sept. 14, days after his predecessor John Cooper inked a historic sisterhood agreement between Nashville and Erbil.
Cooper and the Governor of Erbil, Omed Khoshnaw, signed the agreement on Sept. 9, in the presence of a number of political figures from the Kurdistan Region and the US.
The agreement aims to promote cultural, educational and business ties between the two cities. It also aims to strengthen the relationship between Kurdistan and the US, and to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.
Among the other sister cities of Nashville are Belfast in Northern Ireland, Caen in France, Chengdu and Taiyuan in China, Edmonton in Canada, Kamakura in Japan, Magdeburg in Germany, Mendoza in Argentina, and Tamworth in Australia.