This letter to The Star was sent in by Lynette Barksdale (Austin, Texas), Maggie Hanna (Denver, Colorado), Dan Moulthrop (Cleveland, Ohio), Brian Siegal (Miami, Florida), Ashley Woods (Detroit, Michigan)
We are writing to thank the citizens of Sheffield for an extraordinary visit.
We arrived in your beautiful city last week as part of a five-city tour of Europe arranged by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. And from the moment we exited the train, your city has been nothing but welcoming, warm, and tremendously engaging.
The five of us come from across America, Denver, Detroit, Austin, Cleveland and Miami, and the purpose of our visit to your city was all about building stronger transatlantic relationships.
We came to learn how you’re solving problems here, how you’re preparing for the evolving economy, how your public and private sector leaders are collaborating to tackle local issues and larger, regional, national and transnational challenges. We’ve come away extremely impressed.
Your collaborative achievements on research and development for advanced manufacturing and wellbeing completely floored us, particularly the size and effectiveness of the apprenticeship program at the AMRC. Our communities would love to have workforce development on that scale.
We were all also very pleasantly surprised by the candour and open manner in which your leaders shared with us the story of Sheffield, its challenges, its successes, and the willingness of community members to experiment, try new approaches, and simultaneously honour tradition and history while embracing the future.
We know we only saw a little of your city, but what we saw will stay with us for many years.
Many of your residents may not realise it, but you’ve got a gem here.
And we should say, too, that we are especially grateful to the civil servants at Town Hall and city council members, especially Councillor Ben Curran, who personally connected us to many of Sheffield’s leadership and so many opportunities to learn.
If ever any of your residents come to our cities, we hope they’ll have half the experience your city afforded us. Thank you.