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Pasadena : Armenia Sister City Studied

December 21, 1989

A city formerly closed to foreigners in Soviet Armenia could become the city’s fourth Sister City under a recommendation from the Board of Directors.

Byurakan, Armenia, a town of 25,000 people that was previously not even listed on maps, was proposed Tuesday by the board. The town is in the Caucasus Mountains and is well known as a scientific center and for its observatory, said Charles Papas, a professor of electrical engineering at Caltech.

The Armenian city would join the ranks of Ludwigshafen in West Germany, Mishima in Japan and Jarvenpaa in Finland, if the city’s Sister City Committee approves the choice. Director Bill Paparian suggested that the decision be made by May.

But Anthony Anderson, head of the city’s Sister City Committee, said approval must also be received from Soviet officials in Moscow, who have approved 36 Soviet cities previously.

Committee members also said that the Armenian city may not be an appropriate choice for the program, because of the possible lack of cultural and educational institutions through which visitors are exchanged. But Mayor William Thomson suggested that the relationship with Byurakan might be different–more technical and practical–than previous Sister City exchanges.

Los Angeles Times