Ukrainians visit DeKalb as Chamblee mayor visits Kovel to form new partnership

The city of Chamblee is showing support for Ukraine through a sister city partnership with the Ukrainian city of Kovel.

Chamblee’s city council recently approved a resolution to become the first U.S. sister city to Kovel, a city in northwestern Ukraine with a population of approximately 67,500 people.

Since the passage of the resolution, Chamblee Mayor Brian Mock has visited Kovel and Ukrainian Parliament member Volodymyr Voronov, Ukrainian Olympic Gold Medalist Lilia Podkopayeva, and members of the Ukrainian Congress Committee have visited Chamblee.

Mock said of his recent trip to Kovel, “I felt that it was important for us to do more than approve a resolution; it was vital that we placed action behind our words, and it was important to visit Kovel in person to show support during these difficult times.”

According to officials, Kovel Mayor Ihor Chayka and Mock spent several days in meetings discussing the impacts of the war involving Russia and Ukraine as well as the benefits of the newly established sister city affiliate. Mock said he also spent time touring several other war-torn Ukrainian cities with local mayors, visiting neighborhoods, and speaking with residents.

“Common ties of mutual interest exist between the city of Kovel and the city of Chamblee,” said officials. “The exchange of these interests and cultures by the mutual establishment of a sister city relationship will enhance the city of Chamblee and its residents.”

“With the sister city relationship, our city as well as the city of Kovel, commit to support and encourage opportunities for mutually beneficial practical exchanges in the fields of business, arts, culture, education, sports and tourism,” said Mock. “In the past few days, I have witnessed the extreme resilience of the Ukrainian people, and I look forward to working with Kovel in the journey ahead.”

Voronov who serves on the Committee on Education, Science and Innovation in the Ukrainian Parliament was on an official visit to Washington, D.C. in early November and made a stop in metro-Atlanta prior to returning home to Ukraine.

The delegation met at Doraville United Elementary School where they were greeted by Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman, DeKalb Board of Education member Anna Hill, and DeKalb County School District Regional Superintendent Melanie Pearch. The visit included a tour led by Principal Jesse Berger during which visitors had an opportunity to interact with students, and ask questions of teachers, stated officials.

Following the visit to Doraville United Elementary School, the delegation toured The Goddard School in Chamblee with owner Akshi Naik; Goddard School staff and parents had organized a book and toy drive for the children of Ukraine.

“I was amazed at all they had collected with 24 hours’ notice. I asked that they open their school to us and in return they opened their hearts to the kids of Ukraine,” stated Mock.

The afternoon concluded with a visit to Chamblee City Hall where Mock and members of the delegation discussed ideas for future partnerships, stated officials.

The Sister City Program is administered by Sister Cities International and was initiated in 1956 to encourage greater friendship and understanding between U.S. cities and international cities through direct contact, according to the organization’s website. “The program strives to build global cooperation at the municipal level, encourage understanding and stimulate economic development and the program promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation through one individual, one community at a time,” stated officials.


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