Dr. Russell Brown honored by the King of Spain for work with Sister City collaboration
Muskingum College Professor of Spanish Dr. Russell V. Brown was recognized by the King of Spain Juan Carlos this March at a celebration marking 75 years of extraordinary international goodwill between the Sister Cities of Toledo, Ohio and Toledo, Spain.
That Sister City relationship is considered the oldest in the world and has been sustained throughout the years by Dr. Brown whose father, Russell G.C. Brown, is credited with creating the program.
“The Brown family has stayed faithful to the principles which served to carry on the Sister City relationship,” writes Juan Ignacio de Mesa in a recent column in La Tribuna. De Mesa, the first democratically-elected mayor of Toledo, who heads the Real Fundacion de Toledo which sponsored the 75th anniversary ceremony on March 2. Spain’s King Carlos is the honorary chair of the foundation.
“I’m proud of what I’ve been a part of and the personal associations that I have made,” said Dr. Brown. He notes that he is especially pleased to use these relationships to provide access for Muskingum College students.
Dr. Brown and his wife, Karen, a professor of Spanish at Ohio University, Zanesville, take annual summer study groups to Spain. “Dr. Brown’s deep personal connections with civic leaders in Toledo, Spain, have opened incredible opportunities for Muskingum students,” said Dr. Jean Morris, chair of Muskingum’s Modern Languages Department.
Two Ohio documentary film producers recently interviewed Dr. Brown about the history of the relationship between the two cities. The film, Two Toledos, will premiere in May, 2006 in Spain.
Since the inception of the program in 1934, the relationship between the two cities has waxed and waned, according to Dr. Brown, who cited World War II and the Spanish Civil war as disrupting influences. Today, cultural exchanges such as art exhibits, recitals, symposia, and movie premieres are key to the sister city relationship. “Programs of this type have spread across the globe to encompass thousands of citizens,” he added.
Dr. Brown was instrumental in cementing Muskingum College’s relationship with the University of Castilla-LaMancha. That collaboration has allowed for an exchange of language assistants.
Dr. Brown joined Muskingum in 1975 and holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.