ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque and Chihuahua, Mexico, share a number of similarities, ranging from similar climates to a shared cultural heritage. And under a new agreement the parties call historic, the two sister cities are prepared to share a whole lot more.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller joined with Chihuahua Mayor María Eugenia Campos Galván to sign a bilateral agreement earlier this week that allows the two cities to develop shared programs, for businesses, police departments and universities, to help both communities.
“We do hope that this is an example, that it is a role model for other cities to follow,” Keller said.
Keller said Chihuahua, the capital city of the Mexican state of the same name, has a lot in common with the Duke City. Roughly four-fifths of New Mexico residents from Mexico are from the state of Chihuahua, according to Keller who added that their shared location along El Camino Real allowed for a long exchange of goods and ideas. He also noted the two cities even share a similar high desert climate.
“You walk out the door in Chihuahua, you feel like you’re in Albuquerque,” he said.
Campos Galván added that the two cities also face similar challenges, and are working to combat them in similar ways.
“Public safety and economic growth are the two main areas of action, and we have accomplished so much in these two fields,” she said.
Keller said the two cities have long had an exchange program in place for firefighters, but added that they are planning to extend that partnership to police departments as well. Additionally, there will be a partnership between University of New Mexico’s Center for High Tech Materials and Chihuahua’s Center for Research in Advanced Materials. The two cities also helped broker an agreement between the Albuquerque-based cyber technology startup RiskSense and the Chihuahua technology company Disinformatica 21.
Going forward, Keller said the bilateral commission will feature annual meetings, alternating Albuquerque and Chihuahua, between stakeholders in the public and private sectors of both cities.
“That, I believe, is something that our country can be proud of, our state can be proud of, and of course, our city can be proud of,” Keller said.