By David Falkner
Did you know that there are more than 100 different “New Castles” or “Newcastles” around the globe, in many different countries and in many different languages? Not only that, but many of them are directly connected through the “Newcastles of the World” network or alliance.
The idea of bringing together places around the world that share the name “New Castle” in the English language came in 1996 from the England-based arts manager John Nicolaou in Newcastle upon Tyne. He created the “Newcastles of the World United” project, which resulted in a book with this title, covering 25 of the Newcastles of the English-speaking world. The aim was to foster links of friendship, culture, education and tourism.
However, there are also many New Castles in the non-English speaking world and, following a visit to Newcastle-under-Lyme in England, it was the mayor of one of them, in Shinshiro, Japan, who took the initiative to bring the Newcastles together via the Newcastles of the World summit. The first took place in Japan in 1998 with delegates from Newcastle (South Africa), Neuburg-an-der-Donau (Germany), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), New Castle Indiana (USA), New Castle Pennsylvania (USA), Newcastle-under-Lyme (England) and Neufchateâu (France) joining their hosts.
Since then, New Castles have met together every two years and more of them have become involved. The only conference in North America was in 2002 when the co-hosts were the New Castles of Indiana and Pennsylvania. But the gathering returns to North America this year when the alliance will meet in Newcastle, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto) from 19th to 23rd September. And the New Castles or Newcastles of the US are being extended a warm invitation to attend.
That invitation is not only to the mayor and other elected representatives but to tourism agencies, chambers of commerce, community groups and to interested individuals. Our Newcastles of the World alliance is about helping our different communities learn from each other and find areas of common interest which we can pursue together.
We link schools through our Global Schools project, and soon we will be launching our Newcastles “Passport” scheme that encourages tourism between us all through special offers and hospitality”.
Meanwhile, increasing tourism will be one of the conference themes in Canada, alongside the sharing of experiences about creating “age-friendly” towns and cities and many other topics and study trips.
To find out more about the Newcastles of the World alliance, check out www.newcastlesoftheworld.com and direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about the conference in Canada, see http://www.newcastlesconferences.com
David Faulkner is a city councilor in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and was Leader of the Council in 2010/11 (and Deputy Leader for the four preceding years). He acts as coordinator of the Newcastles of the World network on behalf of those mayors around the world whose towns and cities are involved in the initiative. He has been involved with an extensive range of charities and projects in his home Newcastle, and was given an award by Her Majesty The Queen in 2000 in recognition of this work.