sister city nod

Tari JeffersBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton and Sugito Sister Cities Association president Pauline Vukelic has been awarded life membership
Camera IconBusselton and Sugito Sister Cities Association president Pauline Vukelic has been awarded life membership Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

A lifetime love of Japanese culture was rewarded last month with a life membership of the Busselton and Sugito Sister Cities Association.

Association president Pauline Vukelic was presented with the life membership recently for her passion for promoting the relationship between the two cities.

Ms Vukelic’s passion for Japan goes back almost 50 years, when she was part of a Lions and Rotary Club student exchange.

“This is like a life vocation, in being involved in promoting the program,” she said.

“This life membership is humbling and not at all expected.”

Since becoming president in 2014, Ms Vukelic has looked for creative ways to promote the program and sister city Sugito.

“I sought to develop a more collaborative working relationship by developing stronger relationships with the Japanese Consulate in Perth,” she said.

When bringing exchange program participants to Busselton, Ms Vukelic said the trips were planned around the community’s events, such as accommodating two Japanese runners to participate in a half-marathon.

Other ways Ms Vukelic has tried to bring more awareness about the program to the community are through the purchase of a Sugipyon costume, which is Sugito’s mascot.

“The sister city association and its program is important because it is through shared activities that we gain mutual understanding and culture,” she said.

“While there are differences between us, we are all the same — human beings.”

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of Busselton’s relationship with Sugito.

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