gmhTODAY 01 gmhToday Mar Apr 2015 - Page 82

morgan hill sister cities program J udy Little is a diminutive woman with a big heart and boundless energy. For the past eight years, she and her husband Murv have been helping to build a lasting legacy for Morgan Hill – a bridge that connects us to distant lands and different cultures. The bridge-building saga of the Little’s began when they joined Morgan Hill Sister Cities, the local chapter of Sister Cities International. The non-profit organization was inspired by Dwight Eisenhower when he encouraged the citizens of post World War II America to reach out to cities around the globe and foster cultural under- standing for the sake of world peace. “Morgan Hill took up the mission of Sister Cities when it joined the international organization in 2003,” Judy said. “Over a period of time, five sister cities were carefully chosen and formally adopted through a proclamation between the City of Morgan Hill and the local governments of each city. “Our chapter volunteers, city officials, local students and members of the community have been working together to create strong bonds with those cities ever since. We all serve as ambassadors of good will, and relationships are formed person- to-person, one city at a time.” When Judy and Murv joined in 2006, they offered to coordinate activities supporting Morgan Hill’s brand new sister city relationship with Mizuho, Japan. Today, they continue to fulfill this role. The cultural and educational exchange between the two cities has flourished as a result. Finding Common Ground Judy Little Accomplishes Big Things Written By Robin Shepherd 82 G M H T O D A Y M A G A Z I N E MARCH / APRIL 2015 “Mizuho was chosen for three reasons,” Judy said.“First was its similarity to Morgan Hill in geographical area, population size, climate and agricultural heritage. It is located about 35 miles from Tokyo and produces rice, vegetables, fruits and flowering plants. “Second, both cities expressed a sincere desire to have a close, lasting relationship that would benefit its citizens for years to come. “And third but equally important was the fact that Morgan Hill has a strong and historic Japanese community dating back to the immigrant farmers of the early 1900s who contributed to our agricultural tradition.”