A local authority may have twinning agreements with towns in one or more different countries in order to promote cultural understanding between the communities. Local people may hold exchange visits with the residents of the twinned towns.
The council already have five twinning and friendship arrangements. They are Sainte-Mandé in France, Wandsbeck in Germany, St Johns in Antigua and Barbuda, Roseau in the Commonwealth of Dominica and Mirpur in Pakistan.
Saint-Mandé, Paris, France
The Council has had town twinning links with Saint-Mandé for over 40 years. The 40th anniversary of "The Jumelage" (or Twinning) was celebrated in 1996 culminating in an official delegation visiting Saint Mandé to mark the occasion of the signing of the twinning declaration in April 1956 between Saint Mandé and the then Chingford Borough Council.
As well as official visits, student exchanges take place between Highams Park School and College Offenbach. More recent events have included local artists exhibiting their works at the 50th Annual Salon of French Artists in Saint Mandé Town Hall.
In recent years, the Joseph Clarke School for the Visually Impaired played host to a group of visually impaired pupils from Saint-Mandé. The successful visit was arranged through the offices of the Institut Departemental Des Aveugles, Saint-Mandé. Five pupils visited Waltham Forest, staying at the Gilwell Park Centre, Chigwell.
Wandsbek, a borough of Hamburg, Germany
Waltham Forest was twinned with the German town of Wandsbek, some 60 years ago to ‘mend the wounds of war’. Wandsbek is a borough of Hamburg, and many cultural exchanges have been made since then, including Waltham Forest Councillors and the Mayor.
The association was started in 1949 by Elsie Pracey in Leyton, and for twenty years it was twinned with Leyton, before becoming borough-wide. Wandsbek was chosen by recommendation of Reginald William Sorensen, Baron Sorensen, a former Leyton MP, as being a parallel town to Leyton.
St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
Roseau, the Commonwealth of Dominica
Waltham Forest has a Friendship Treaty with the Municipality of Mirpur in Azad Kashmir.
Waltham Forest is home to one of the largest Pakistani communities in Outer London. Large proportions of the Pakistani population in Waltham Forest, including councillors, are from or have links with Mirpur.