Fresh impetus for the city cooperation between Kassel and Novy Urengoy
The successful city cooperation between Kassel, one of Wintershall Dea's two headquarter locations, and the city of Novy Urengoy in Western Siberia, where the company produces gas and gas condensate in three joint ventures, is entering its next phase. This year, the traditional Summer School for staff from the cities’ administrations will take place in autumn, namely between 15 and 18 November 2021, bringing a warm summer breeze to the late autumn in both cities.
This year's exchange will focus on a whole range of topics: new forms of civic participation, prevention of crime and substance abuse, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to inner cities, and volunteer engagement. The pandemic-related travel restrictions have not diminished the level of cooperation between the two cities: as Kassel and Novy Urengoy have already worked together productively in digital formats over the past 16 years, not least because of the enormous geographical distance between them, the employees of the city administrations are very well adapted to staying in touch online. This made it possible for this year’s Summer School to switch from face-to-face to a digital format without any problem.
Thilo Wieland, Member of the Board at Wintershall Dea, is convinced that cooperation at city level is an elementary part of German-Russian relations. "16 years of successful city cooperation with numerous projects and exchange experiences are living proof that cooperation at the municipal level can make a big difference. Wintershall Dea is at home in both cities. As a socially responsible company, we support a number of projects in Kassel and Novy Urengoy and are, of course, particularly pleased that these two cities are firmly linked by a bond of friendship," says Thilo Wieland. Wintershall Dea has supported the cooperation between the two cities since its establishment in 2005.
For the Mayor of Kassel, Christian Geselle, the cooperation with Novy Urengoy is a success story. "We want to continue our longstanding and successful cooperation, even under pandemic conditions, with as few interruptions as possible. That is why I have invited our friends to our traditional Summer School again this year," says Mayor Christian Geselle. "Even though meeting in person is hugely important, this time we will be collaborating online. I am convinced that even in digital format the cooperation between our cities can continue to make a significant contribution to the development of both cities and thus strengthen mutual understanding. This ultimately contributes to the development of German-Russian relations and peaceful coexistence," he emphasises further.
The Mayor of Novy Urengoy, Andrey Voronov, agrees: "Thanks to the long-standing and fruitful cooperation between our cities, we have been able to implement numerous cultural, educational and social projects. The programme of the Summer School for staff from the city administrations covers many areas of municipal interaction. The Summer School always provides new approaches, which makes our cooperation a success and enriches all its participants. Despite the current challenges, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, the solid foundation of our partnership has allowed us to maintain our collaboration and to communicate and share experiences digitally. I look forward to many future joint projects that will enrich the lives of the residents of our cities."
Background: city cooperation since 2005
The cooperation between the city of Kassel (204,000 inhabitants) and the Western Siberian city of Novy Urengoy (120,000 inhabitants) was initiated in 2005 by Wintershall, the City of Kassel, and Kassel University. For 16 years now, the intensive and diverse exchange of experience between experts from the city administrations and representatives from business, education, and culture has provided important impulses for the development of both cities. The project received an award from the foreign ministers of Russia and Germany in 2018 on the occasion of the German-Russian Year of Municipal and Regional Partnership.