Arnauld Desplanques – September 26, 1943-August 11, 2014

It is with profound regret that we share the news of the passing of the guiding spirit of our

Monsieur Desplanques at  the Newseium in downtown DC
Monsieur Desplanques at the Newseum in downtown DC

sister city in Reims, Arnauld Desplanques. Arnauld was President of the Reims-Arlington Committee from 2004 until his death Monday, August 11th. He was a wonderful friend and a pleasure to work with. The contributions of Arnauld Desplanques to friendship between our two cities, and his help in bringing us the story of the American Unknown Soldier of WWI while in France, constitute significant additions to the history of the U.S.Army. Arnauld was also instrumental in the publication of two recent books on American help to France during wartime: American Aviation at the Front 1914-1918 (by Jacques Pernet) and Reims and the Americans. Another book, Regards Croisés, Crossing Glances,comparing our two communities through photographs, was also brought to fruition through Arnauld’s efforts as well as those of others. And he started an annual American film festival in Reims which has enjoyed great success for the past few years.

Arnauld was passionate in his interest in the United States and was involved in the Association France-Etats-Unis before forming the Sister City Committee Reims-Arlington in 2004. He was thrilled to be at the inauguration of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States in January, 2009.
Despite his advanced illness, Arnauld participated fully in the Joan of Arc festival in Reims in early June, welcoming the delegation from Arlington (Barbara Favola and husband Doug, Walter Tejada and wife Robin, and Libby Schollaert) to celebrate our 10th anniversary and renew our vows as Sister Cities. He also came out a month ago to be part of the celebration of our triangular Reims-Arlington-Aachen relationship. These gestures typified his love of our connection and his generosity of spirit.
Our hearts go out in sympathy to Arnauld’s family and friends, to the Committee Reims-Arlington, and to all those who will miss this charming and devoted man. We are certainly among these and will cherish the memory of our times with Arnauld.

CALL FOR ARTISTS: Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Arlington Arts Center has issued a CALL FOR ARTISTS: Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). ASCA’s Coyoacan Committee supports this event each year by participating in the day long event held on November 1 at Arlington Arts.

Day of Dead, by David Amoroso
Day of the Dead, by David Amoroso















WHAT IS DIA DE LOS MUERTOS?  More about celebrating life than remembering death, this special day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind past to present. This free event invites the public to join AAC for dancing, a live mariachi band, and refreshments. At the heart of the excitement is an exhibition featuring artworks assembled from this open call to artists to present works related to the Day of the Dead theme.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 12, 2014, 5pm
Submit your application online here!

The Dia de Los Muertos exhibition will take place November 1 – December 20, 2014.

Any artist living in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.
Artworks submitted should respond to the theme of Dia de Los Muertos in some way.

1. Work Samples. Submit 3 images of works for consideration.
2. Work Sample Index. List of the samples submitted, including the title, dimensions, medium, price or insurance value, and year of creation for each piece.

Questions? We’re here to help. Email us at

This exhibition and concurrent events are organized in close collaboration with David Amoroso. Entries may be submitted on this page


by Bernie Chapnick

‘The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry’ as Bobby Burns might say. A year of planning meant the logistics were perfect – all the hotels were good, the food was wonderful but the one uncontrollable element – the weather – SUCKED. My big concern with a ride in July was the fear of excessive heat – I needn’t have worried – it was wet and cold. A number of the group had colds and other minor health issues, but nothing serious and there were no accidents. In general, the food was good, but last year’s Italian food experience raised the bar to a level that may never be surpassed. The cohesiveness of the group and the camaraderie were better than ever – a side benefit of shared cold/wet cursing of the weather-gods. One of the ‘regulars’ said it best – ‘I used to think of my American friends and my German friends – now I just think of my friends’. Another said that SISTERBIKE had changed her life.

The weather was awful, but that is not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves – our reception in Aachen was particularly touching with a wonderful dinner on the terrace of Town Hall facing the Cathedral (both date from Charlemagne) and we were the guests of the City of Aachen. 4th of July in Aachen was a first-time experience for some of the group, and a familiar tradition for the ‘old-hands’.

We spent a day without bikes in Luxembourg City using trains, a tour bus and a walking tour – an impressive city with an unbelievable number of banks (and a beautiful old city as well). We had a great lunch and proceeded by train to Metz (Special thanks to Stephan for a de-LUX day).
After the worst morning of cold driving rain & wind, we had our wonderful picnic by our picnic-meister Dick in a barn (not classy, but dry and not windy) – BTW they are no longer called picnics, they are now known as Dic-nics. As someone who negotiated multi-million dollar loans in Spanish, I am proud to say I negotiated the use of the barn using my 4 words of French.

Verdun is a very solemn place – a monument to senseless death. It puts all the rude comments about French military experiences in their place – the scope of death and destruction from THE GREAT WAR in France is staggering. Virtually every French town has a monument to the young men killed in WWI, but seeing a field of thousands of graves at Verdun is numbing.

Nancy was (as always) beautiful – our class picture this year is in Place Stanislas in Nancy, and there are 2 – one in front of the gilded fountain and one in front of the Statue of Stanislas (who is wearing a yellow jersey in honor of the TOUR DE FRANCE).
Speaking of the TOUR DE FRANCE, we were stopped for 3 hours by barriers to allow them to pass – thereby not giving us the chance to show them up with our cycling skills. The hundreds of support vehicles and advertising ‘camp-followers’ were ridiculous.

Our first night in Reims was the World Cup final, and our German contingent is almost entirely comprised of football fanatics, so you know we were planted in front of the largest big-screen TV we could find. Our second day in Reims included a wonderful tour of the Pommery champagne cave (18 km of caves and 2 million bottles). We had a glass of the ‘regular stuff’ plus a glass of the fancy 2005 Grand Cru vintage. The day concluded with an anniversary dinner with members of the Reims/Arlington committee. The Reims arrangements were helped immeasurably by committee member Martine Lorson.

Many of us returned from Reims to Aachen on a chartered bus that got lost (despite GPS and much advice from the German men). This seems to be an unwanted tradition – a bus driver getting us lost has happened before on SISTERBIKE.

Two days respite (mostly to do laundry), and then the cycle resumed with the scouting trip for next year and a new set of logistical challenges as we plan Riga–Tallinn-Helsinki (I don’t think the fear of excessive heat will be a major concern…).


by Carl Lankowski

Arlington and Aachen celebrated the first twenty years of their sistership during the first two weeks of July in five countries. For ASCA and Aachen it is a year of round numbers beyond 20:
• We are also celebrating 10 years of our relationship with Reims, and therefore with the Aachen-Reims-Arlington triangular relationship.
• Our connections have developed in awareness of our sometimes fraught joint history and we had occasion in our journey through several countries this July to connect peoples at war with each other in the Great War (aka WWI) into which Germany and France descended exactly 100 years ago, with the United States entering the war in April, 1917.
• 1200 years ago this year, Charlemagne (Karl der Groβe), the first unifier of trans-alpine Europe, died in Aachen, his seat of rule. His accomplishment launched the western Christian commonwealth that defined Europe as we have come to know it. In so doing, the Carolingian emperor set in motion forces that would eventually prompt a transatlantic migration and a new transatlantic relationship based on a fresh, democratic unification of Europe after the continental, indeed worldwide, cataclysm of 1914-1945.

In a series of events mobilizing over 300 friends old and new, at least three generations of Arlingtonians were welcomed in the usual hyper-generous Aachen fashion—we were met at airports and train stations, conveyed to the homes of our hosts, feted in both familiar and grand style.

After months of planning, led on the Arlington side by Jennifer Wright and Margie Bell, and on the Aachen side by Helmuth Feuerriegel, eighteen Arlington high school students and two chaperones began their seventeen-day tour. Arriving on the 2nd of July, the group was officially welcomed in the historically resonant chambers of the Rathaus on the 3rd. They visited Aachen schools and local institutions and then traveled to nearby Liege, Maastricht and the German Eifel in the Euro-region that makes the environs of Aachen so distinctive. Berlin, once Prussian, then imperial capital that controlled Aachen in the 19th century, since 1999 again the capital of Germany, was the group’s final destination before returning home.

The lively sharing of experience and ideas that animates ASCA’s Aachen relationship is reflected in encounters like these taking place during the first few days of July:
• A meeting at the Ludwig Gallery with Executive Director, Brigitte Franzen and collector, Gabriele König, to discuss bringing the photo-exhibit, Eros und Stasi, to Arlington;
• Sharing economic development experience at a meeting arranged by Aachen County politician, Karin Schmitt-Promny with Peter Gier representing AGIT-mbH, Aachen’s company start-up agency, and Chamber of Commerce (Grunder Region Aachen) representative, Iris Wilhelmi, together with Arlington County Council Chairman, Jay Fisette and Arlington Transport Department official, Dennis Leach;

• An opportunity to congratulate Joachim Geupel and Arlingtonian Tom Skladony on organizing and implementing the project involving essays by high school students in Aachen in Arlington, commemorating the 70 anniversary of the American liberation of Aachen;
• A conversation with cellist and youth orchestra organizer, Walter Mengler, about reprising an Arlington-Aachen collaboration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon;
• Connecting with dance-impresario Rick Tavorkian about possibilities for collaboration with an Arlingtonian dance company;
• Talking with Ditmar Spiegel about a project to preserve an important WWII command bunker in Aachen.
• An all too brief chat with Monika Radhoff-Troll about the next phase of the Aachen Euro-region women’s art collective exchange with Arlington.
• Three additional interviews with Aacheners destined to be posted to the ASCA Online Oral History Archive were conducted: with Oberbürgermeister Jürgen Linden (ret.), Greens Aachen County Council representative Karin Schmitt-Promny, and sister-city activist Fatima Küsters.

Even as Arlington’s relationship with Aachen is productively decentralized, a de facto Kommandozentrale is the home of Partnerschaftkomittee-Chairwoman, Dr. Gertraud (Traudl) Kösters. Leading also in the hospitality department, she took in four SisterBikers, including the author of this report. We affectionately applied to ourselves the appellation “Traudl’s boys.”

Naturally, because of the prior and well-developed channels of communication between us, one aspect of the welcome was the sheaf of newspaper articles Partnerschaftkomitee director for high school exchanges, Helmuth Feuerriegel, handed me on WWI commemoration. It is a typical example of the care taken by our counterparts in integrating us in the local discursive universe according to interests we have articulated. The papers included first page coverage (30 May) of the Charlemagne Peace Prize award several weeks ago to EU European Council President Herman Van Rompuy—an exponent of support for Ukrainian resistance to Russian subversion that brought out a band of pro-Russian sympathizers in protest.

Nevertheless, none of this really prepared the Americans for the party put on by the Partnerschaftkomitee Aachen-Arlington on the American national day, the Fourth of July. Organized by Deputy Chairman Inge Marquadt-Drees, the event surprised and delighted the Amis and Aacheners alike.
• Oberbürgermeister Marcel Philipp gave us all—a crowd of about 300—a warm welcome.

• Aachen’s baseball team, the Greyhounds, was on hand to demonstrate swinging techniques; so was Aachen’s cheerleader squad and its square-dance ensemble, all accompanied by Aachen’s big band combo. Were it not for the special wide-screen TV monitor brought in to accommodate the 100 or so who needed to see Germany beat France 1:0 in the FIFA quarter-finals, we could be forgiven for wondering whether we had even left the States. Did I mention the cuisine? Hot-dogs, hamburgers, corn, as well as Tex-Mex fixings. While Inge made sure that the many aspects of the party operated smoothly in a logistical sense, Tobias Schierp served as master-of-ceremonies, flawlessly alternating between German and English in introducing guests, running the raffle, and interviewing individuals from the mix insightfully.

After three days of festivities, visiting, and making fresh contacts with counterparts in Aachen, SisterBike XIV, led by the transatlantic Bernie Chapnick, and guardian-Engel (Cycle Tours van operator, Dick Engel)

departed from Aachen, heading into rainy Belgium on the Vennbahn rails-to-trails bicycle path to begin an adventure that was to take 38 participants through Luxembourg as well, and culminate in France’s Champagne capital, Reims, on Bastille Day (La fete de la Nation) nine days later. The peloton covered nearly 500 kilometers—nearly 300 miles—over eight riding days. Some highlights:

• Crossing three international borders on trails and country roads

• Witnessing the Tour-de-France race from the roadside in Sivry with all the preparations and accompaniments (e.g., the mardi-gras-like cavalcade that precedes the racers) you don’t see on TV

• Guided tours of WWI battlefields (Verdun) and a capital of postwar European integration (Plateau Kirchberg in Luxembourg City)

• Cranking through the incomparable vineyards supplying Champagne’s famous houses of fizzy libations and visiting the caves of one well-known producer in Reims

• Contemplating the architecture and works of art in one of the world’s greatest cathedrals in Reims—with its triptych eastern windows executed in 1971 by the émigré Russian Jewish artist from Vitebsk, Marc Chagall.

• Experiencing the excitement of viewing a FIFA world cup final, which the German team won, in a Reims pub whose clientele in our section that night was divided roughly in thirds—French, German, American (with the odd Brit and Swede for seasoning).

• Linking with our Reims sister city partners, led by Arnauld DesPlanques, and representing Arlington-Reims, Anne-Marie Daris, in their city on France’s national day, raising flutes to French civilization and friendship: vive la France!

Ours is a joint odyssey—Arlington-Aachen-Reims—three municipalities bound together by the sinews of transatlantic history. We become more aware of both the trauma of the past and the joys and possibilities of the present and future as we deepen our relationship in ongoing frank conversations made possible by the generous hospitality of our friends and acquaintances. We Arlingtonians stand in awe of the bottomless well of good will we encounter there. It refreshes the spirit and confirms our commitment reciprocate the generosity and kindness we have enjoyed and to share the benefits our connections more broadly in our own community.

Click here to read the full report with photos: TRIP REPORT 72014

Seeking host families and volunteers for Ukraine student visit – October 2014

Eight high school students from Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine and two chaperones will be arriving in October for a visit to ARLINGTON at the invitation of the ASCA Ivano-FrankivskCommittee. This is the second such visit to Arlington by students from Ivano-Frankivsk.

We are looking for host families for these young people from Wednesday evening, October 8 through the morning of Saturday, Oct 19.

The group consists of seven girls and one boy. They will be accompanied by two female chaperons.

We are also interested in volunteers to help with planning the activities for the visit.

A reciprocal visit to Ivano-Frankivsk will follow hopefully in the summer of 2015.

To volunteer or to be a host family please contact:

Mary Beth Zimmerman

Anniversary SISTERBIKE – July 1 – 11- Aachen to Reims

This month, a group of cyclists from Arlington and our sister city Aachen, Germany, will embark on the 14th Annual SISTERBIKE. Leading the charge will be Bernie Chapnick, the organizer of all the bike rides since 2003.

The ride honors the 100th anniversary of World War I, the 20th anniversary of the Aachen/Arlington sister city relationship, and the 10th between sister cities Reims (France) and Arlington.

The 2014 Anniversary ride will begin in Aachen and end in Reims. After gathering together in Aachen, the 38-member group will embark on a ride which will take them through  Bütgenbach andClervaux, then by train to Luxembourg City and Metz, and continuing to

Nancy, Lac de Madine, Verdun, Vienne-le-Chateau and the Verdun battlefield. In Chalons-en-Champagne riders will see the original resting place the WWI Unknown Soldier, now in Arlington National Cemetery. Finally, the cyclists arrive in Reims, France and will celebrate Bastille Day with their hosts.

Stay tuned for more on their trip!

10th Year Anniversary between Reims and Arlington

On a recent visit to Reims, our sister city relationship was renewed, and our 10 year anniversary celebrated!

The Joan of Arc Festival parade 6/1/2014 Pictured:  second from left, is Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada. In the middle is Barbara Favola, Virginia state senator, who was chair of the Arlington County Board in 2004 and signed the accords in Reims for Arlington to establish our Sister City relationship. Between Walter and Barbara is Reims Mayor Arnaud Robinet.
The Joan of Arc Festival parade 6/1/2014
Pictured: second from left, is Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada. In the middle is Barbara Favola, Virginia state senator, who was chair of the Arlington County Board in 2004 and signed the accords in Reims for Arlington to establish our Sister City relationship. Between Walter and Barbara is Reims Mayor Arnaud Robinet.


Article above from L'Union:  With Walter Tejada, Barbara Favola, Libby Schollaert with the Reims mayor, Arnaud Robinet and members of his staff. Taken at the City Hall in Reims,  May 31, 2014.
Article above from L’Union: With Walter Tejada, Barbara Favola, Libby Schollaert with the Reims mayor, Arnaud Robinet and members of his staff. Taken at the City Hall in Reims, May 31, 2014.

Ukrainian Museum in New York City – Exhibiting Taras Shevchenko through 11/2/2014

If you’re visiting NYC this summer or fall, put the Ukrainian Museum on your list.

June 29 through November 2, 2014

The exhibition Taras Shevchenko: Poet, Artist, Icon offers a rare opportunity to see many of the treasures created by artist and poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861). Marking the 200th anniversary of Shevchenko’s birth, the exhibition includes original art works by the artist and archival objects from Ukraine seen in this country for the first time ever!

image001The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive, illustrated catalogue containing a scholarly essay by the curator, George G. Grabowicz, Professor of Ukrainian Literature at Harvard University.

The collection from the National Museum of Taras Shevchenko in Kyiv, comprised of selections that span nearly the entire lifetime of the artist, includes fifty original watercolors, sepia works, drawings, etchings, in addition to objects such as publications and Shevchenko’s own artist’s tools. Reproductions of more than sixty other works by Shevchenko, along with documents-facsimiles of the artist’s albums of sketches and poems-enhance the exhibition. A rare 1840 edition of a Kobzar (“The Minstrel”), one of Shevchenko’s first collections of poetry that became his most widely read work, is on loan from the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York. Selected items from The Ukrainian Museum’s archival collection along with audiovisuals and a recorded guided tour serve to complete the narrative presented in the exhibition.

The Ukrainian Museum, 222 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003, 212-228-0110

Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

Everyone_6SD0365On May 5, 2014, members of the Arlington Sister City Association Board of Directors hosted a 20th anniversary event focused on community building.

We reached out into the community to find people who were not familiar with ASCA or who might, as a result of their expertise, guide us into our next decade, a stronger and more influential organization.

The event was held at the Arlington Arts Center. The program was led by Master of Ceremonies Carl Lankowski, who inaugurated the ASCA Online Oral History Archive.  Brief statements were made by Arlington County Board Member Walter Tejada, former Miss Sister City Cindy Zavala; Aachen Exchange founder Heidi Addison and ASCA Chairman, Malcolm Phillips.

We were honored to have the following dignitaries with us, who also made brief statements to the enthusiastic crowd: Jay Fisette, Chairman, Arlington County Board;  Daniel Serwer, US diplomat and author; Counselor Stanislav Yezhov, Embassy of Ukraine; Consul General of France, Olivier Serot-Almeras;  Minister-Counselor Karl Bergner,  Embassy of Germany; and Deputy Chief of Mission, Oscar Chavez, Embassy of El Salvador.

Photos of the event can be viewed by clicking here. (Johannes Markus, photographer)

We value all of our members and friends across the area and in this 20th year, are committed to reaching across borders to connect our community, person-by-person, in an enriching network of experience, illumination, and insight. Please help us by joining or renewing your membership, or making a donation by visiting the membership section of website.