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Erbil becomes Nashville’s 10th sister city

The city will host a special ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 9 to make the sister city designation between Nashville and Erbil official.

City officials remove a cover from a historical marker unveiled earlier this year.

A historical marker commemorating Nashville’s Kurdish community was unveiled in January 2023. | Photo via Metro Nashville

Nashville’s sister city partnership with Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, will be made official this weekend.

Erbil becoming a sister city is a big deal for Nashville, which is home to the largest Kurdish population (read: over 20,000 residents) in the US. Earlier this year, the city dedicated a historical markerlocated near the Salahadeen Center off Nolensville Pike — recognizing decades of Kurdish immigration to the city.

What is a sister city?

According to Sister Cities International, a sister city is a “broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries.” A relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities.

Erbil will be Nashville’s 10th sister city, with the designation creating opportunities for exchanges, cultural programs, and business connections.

It’s not every day Music City gains a new sibling. Three international cities — Tamworth, Australia, Kamakura, Japan, and Chengdu, China — have been designated as Nashville sister cities in the past decade.

Join the celebration

A delegation from Erbil arrived in Nashville earlier this week ahead of the official signing ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Nashville Public Library’s downtown branch will host Mayor John Cooper and Erbil Governor Omed Xoshnaw for the 1 p.m. ceremony. The event is free and open to the public + a panel discussion led by Sister Cities of Nashville at will follow at 2:30 p.m.

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