Foreign Relations

Norwalk’s International Relationships Thrive

The City of Norwalk has been an official Sister-City to Vushtrri, Kosovo since 2018. The State of Iowa and the Republic of Kosovo have had a strong partnership since America’s military intervention in the Serbian war in 1999. Since then, the relationship has grown between Iowa’s National Guard, government relations, sister-city designations, and Iowa’s first foreign embassy with the opening of the Republic of Kosovo Consulate in downtown Des Moines four years ago.

Norwalk’s partnership is one of the most active of all the sister-cities in Iowa. Several business and trade opportunities have been established between Norwalk and Vushtrri, Norwalk delegates have been asked to lead large trade initiatives between the two nations, Norwalk and Vushtrri’s school systems have engaged in youth programs, and now Norwalk will be receiving its first foreign direct investment from this partnership with two Kosovar investors as primary owners of a new hotel to be built this year.

Culturally, Vushtrri kicked off a phenomenal project to celebrate and honor their sister-city by building a public recreational space in their ancient town center called ‘The Norwalk Park’. In return, Norwalk plans to build a pedestrian sized replica of Vushtrri’s Roman-era Stone Bridge. This bridge will be located between the two ponds in the newly opened Elizabeth Holland Park, and it will connect the two trails making easier and more enjoyable access around the park.

Last month, a large delegation of Kosovo officials including Vushtrri’s Mayor Xhafer Tahiri, the Minister of Local Governments Emilia Rexhepi, and the Director of the American-Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Arian Zeka, visited Iowa. Norwalk welcomed the group by visiting the site of the future bridge in Holland Park, the site of the soon to be built Sleep Inn Hotel, and held a business meeting with local leaders. Artan Duraku, Chief of Mission for the Consulate in Des Moines, the Minister of Local Governments, and Hollie Zajicek, Economic Development Director all had interviews with Channel 5, We Are Iowa News to discuss the opportunities and initiatives between Iowa, Norwalk, and Kosovo.

If you are interested in becoming involved in Norwalk’s Foreign Relations, or would like more information on how to expand your business into Europe through the Kosovo-American incentive program, please contact Hollie Zajicek at HollieZ@Norwalk.Iowa.Gov 515-314-5862 or Jaki Livingston at 515-306-1640.

*A very special thank you to Gregg Young Chevrolet, and Pyra Pizzeria for graciously providing your goods and services to our foreign guests!

Visit Kosovo American Economic City or our Facebook Page to learn more!