Cambridge, Minnesota, and Beli Manastir, Croatia, are looking forward to more great opportunities to build their sister city relationship in the near future.
The sister city committee hopes to soon send a business delegation from Cambridge to Beli Manastir to foster mutual economic business opportunities and benefits. This may include launching an exchange program for students from both cities to visit and stay with host families, see other destinations, and experience other cultures.
Cambridge and Beli Manastir forged a bond by becoming “Sister Cities” in November 2016. This relationship, according to mn.gov, is intended to “help create and reinforce cultural ties, build important educational and political bridges, and pave the way for mutually beneficial business investment.”
The cities of Beli Manastir and Cambridge have many similarities. Beli Manastir has just over 10,000 residents, making it close to the same size as Cambridge. Both cities are located in rural farming communities. Both cities are also home to Cortec® Corporation manufacturing plants, which inspired the sisterhood agreement in the first place.
Cortec founder, Boris Miksic, moved from Croatia to the U.S. in 1974. In October 1977, he started Cortec in his small home in Hugo, Minnesota. Since then, the company has grown worldwide, making corrosion-inhibiting products in the form of plastic films, coated papers, sprays, concrete admixtures and much more.
In 1997, Cortec acquired Cortec Advanced Films in Cambridge (previously Spring Lake Packaging). EcoCortec started operating in Croatia 10 years later. Both companies make a variety of corrosion-inhibiting films to protect multiple types of metal from corrosion during storage and transport.
Shortly after interest in a sister city relationship arose, Miksic invited a Cambridge delegation to visit Beli Manastir, where the official sister city agreement was signed. The delegation attended a formal ceremony as part of the “Day of Beli Manastir” celebration.
They also visited Belje Winery and Josic Winery, followed by some sightseeing in the famous old upper town in the capital of Zagreb.
A delegation from Beli Manastir came to Minnesota the following year in September 2017. Representatives from Cortec brought them to different landmarks including the Isanti County Historical Society, the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve Center, Minnesota’s National Guard Camp Ripley and the Mall of America. They also attended the Cortec World Sales Meeting in St. Paul and went on a Mississippi River dinner cruise.
Learn more about the sister cities at https://www.ci.cambridge.mn.us/sisterCities.
Stephanie Berg and Tim Bliss, of Cortec, are both members of the Cambridge Sister City Commission.