Not because it rhymes but because it speaks to something higher than commerce.
Sister cities are of course consummate collaborators and perfect partners but those of us fortunate enough to have sisters know that the the ties of family trump all.
To have one sister in Boston would be a matter of pride. But to have the entire city of Boston as a sister is quite the boast indeed.
After all, Boston is the life sciences Silicon Valley of the US, the college capital of America and the crucible of Irish America. This is the city in which the Irish first discovered the power of the vote and placed public service at the heart of political life.
And, as anyone who reads these missives regularly will know, Belfast is no mean city either.
Bring both together and you have a sister act certain to play to full houses.
First to really mine the potential of our Boston relationship are those unrivalled Belfast Ambassadors, the Belfast Giants, who will facilitate a Friendship Four ice hockey tournament in Belfast for four Massachusetts colleges at the end of this month.
Leading that sporting caravan of players, college alumni, sports directors, trustees and hockey fans, will be Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, son of Connemara emigrants. A US Big City mayor doesn’t get much opportunity to travel so the fact that Mayor Walsh is determined to make this trip underlines his unrivaled commitment to the Boston-Belfast sister cities initiative.
I’m thrilled that Mayor Walsh is taking the time out from his hectic schedule to be guest of honour at the 19th annual Aisling Awards in Titanic Belfast on Friday 27 November.
In what will be his optimum opportunity to address Belfast’s civic leaders, Mayor Walsh will no doubt reflect on the ambition and vision which have driven the remarkable journey our sister cities have been on over the past two decades. And as for the future? Well, now we’re family, Boston and Belfast will surely advance in lockstep to create cities which are innovative, prosperous and diverse. Boston will expect nothing less from its big sister.
As Chair of the All-Party Group on Ethnic Minorities in the Assembly, I hosted our first meeting outside Stormont in the rooms of the Presbyterian International Meeting Point in South Belfast on Tuesday past. The group heard from Equality Commission Chief Commissioner Michael Wardlow about continuing efforts to ensure children newly-arrived in the North receive full educational opportunities. I am a big fan of the Presbyterian International Meeting Point which extends an unqualified welcome to locals and ethnic minorities alike.