Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sister City Relationship Established: Tepatitlán de Morelos, Mexico and Madison

On Thursday, May 31st, Alberto Vargas (LACIS’ Associate Director), moderated a “Partnership Meeting” at the University of Wisconsin, hosting an official delegation from Tepatitlán de Morelos*, in the state of Jalisco, México which came to Madison  to discuss and celebrate the recent establishment of a new sister city relationship between Madison and Tepatitlán.

At the “Partnership Meeting”, Stephen Kolison, Viceprovost for Academic, Faculty and Global Programs of the University of Wisconsin System, and Fernando Delgado, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UW-River Falls welcomed the delegation to UW and made votes to form a productive partnership. The meeting included presentations by Lori Di Prete Brown, of the Global Health Institute, Sandy Magaña, Professor of Social Work, Michel Wattiaux, Professor of Dairy Science, Maria Moreno, of the Latino Earth Partnership and Gerhard Fischer of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The day’s events concluded with a special workshop entitled the “History and Origins of Tequila” which took place at the Cardinal Bar in Madison;  it was co-sponsored by LACI, Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM Chicago), represented by Arturo Castro.  José de Jesús González Ibarra, an expert on tequila from Jalisco, and Arturo Castro, gave a detailed presentation about the birth, distillation process and evolution of tequila. Attendees also had the opportunity to taste-test several different varieties of tequila!

The origins of the efforts to form a sister city with Madison go back to 2005 when Salvador Carranza, Senior Academic Planner, UW-System, accompanied then-Governor Jim Doyle to Mexico to ratify an existing Wisconsin/Jalisco relationship and sign a new UW-System/Universidad of Guadalajara agreement.  It was then that the Mayor of Tepatitlán asked Governor Doyle to develop a sisterhood with Madison.  Since that point, Carranza, Vargas, and others had been trying to consolidate the latter agreement. However, it wasn’t until this year, when the Latino Chamber of Commerce joined their efforts, that they finally made progress. Antonio Molina, Vice President of the Latino Chamber, was instrumental in moving it forward when a formalized Madison-Tepatitlán Sister City Committee was formed.  Molina and Carranza act as Co-chairs of the committee.  Additionally, the leadership and support of Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff was crucial in helping finalize the agreement.

Participants on the Sister-City Committee plan to “develop and facilitate cultural, municipal, business and educational exchanges between the two cities”. The delegation, headed by Jorge Luis Rodríguez, Municipal Mayor of Tepatitlán, and María Eugenia Villaseñor and Miguel Angel Casillas, of the Sister City Committee also met with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin during their visit.

Other members from Madison on the Committee include Carlos Alvarado, of the Latino Chamber, and Kent Craig, Brenda González, and Mario Garcia Sierra all from Centro Hispano of Dane County.

*Tepatitlan de Morelos has a population of just over 136,000 and is the located in the second highest milk producing region in Mexico. Its size and ties to the dairy industry illustrate some of the similarities between the two cities.