By Henrik Blix
Mason Times staff writer
MASON—The city of Mason will host visitors from sister city Vitina, Kosovo, next week for tours and discussion of American business and government .
City Administrator Martin Colburn said there will be three visitors, including Mayor Nexhmedin Arifi, the mayor of Vitina.
“I’m just excited for them to be here,” said Mayor Leon Clark. “We were there for a week and they are such wonderful people. We became friends in a very short period of time.”
Colburn said the guests from Kosovo will fly in Saturday afternoon and on Sunday they will visit people in Mason who immigrated from Kosovo in the late 1990s.
Colburn said although the itinerary is not finalized, they have several events planned.
According to Colburn, on Monday the visitors will be given an agricultural tour of the Mason area that will include three types of farms.
On Tuesday the visitors will be given a tour of the state government facilities in Lansing, including the state Supreme Court and the Capitol. Colburn said the purpose of these tours is for the visitors to learn about the United States’ system of government and legal processes.
According to Colburn, on Tuesday the visitors will be meeting with a representative from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and will be touring businesses in downtown Lansing to see what practices lead to successful enterprise in the United States.
Colburn said they are hoping to visit a medical manufacturing company in Novi on Wednesday. He said the company is interested in forming an economic relationship with Vitina.
The visitors are also scheduled to tour city hall, the fire station and the city’s waste water treatment plant. Colburn said although the tour of a water treatment plant may not seem interesting to some, it is important to the visitors because there is a shortage of infrastructure in many of their communities. Colburn said such treatment plants are not common in Kosovo.
City council member James Mulvany said Wednesday night the Mason Methodist Church will host a dinner for the visitors. He said the dinner is an opportunity for open discussion with focus on the possibility of exchange students in high school and college from Kosovo.
Mulvany said the dinner is invitation only and the dinner organizers are trying to include members of the public and private sectors of Mason to represent government and business in the city.
“We’re trying to invite a cross section of people in the community,” Mulvany said.
Clark said Vitina has a lot of resources and people who are willing to work. He said he hopes the tours will present new opportunities for Mayor Arifi and his city
“My biggest hope is that we give him either some contacts or some information that he can take back that will have an immediate impact on the people he represents.”