On May 18th, 2012, Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray and Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra signed an agreement reaffirming their sister city relationship as the two cities mark the 50th anniversary of their connection, first established in 1962.

The official signing ceremony in Washington DC was attended by US Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis, Sister Cities International President & CEO Mary D. Kane, DC Councilmember Jim Graham, Washington DC city officials, Thai delegates and diplomats, and journalists.

Speaking at the ceremony, Special Representative Reta Jo Lewis congratulated the two cities on reaffirming their relationship. She added that this renewing of ties will link not only municipal officials but also the business and cultural communities in the two cities. Addressing the attendees, Sister Cities International’s Mary D. Kane thanked Mayor Gray and Governor Paribatra for their efforts in cementing and growing ties between their cities. Ms. Kane added that she hopes to see more partnerships between Thai and U.S. cities.

Mayor Gray emphasized the significance of the city’s connection with Bangkok, Washington DC’s first sister city. He pointed out that the bell that holds a central position in the atrium of the John A. Wilson building, home of the DC government, was a gift from the city of Bangkok presented to Washington DC on July 4th, 1962. Additionally, Mayor Gray said Governor Paribatra is an alumnus of DC’s very own Georgetown University.

Governor Paribatra said he looks forward to many years of strong ties with Washington, DC. At the end of the ceremony, the Governor presented Mayor Gray with an intricate replica of the Royal Barge Suphannahong. The Suphannahong has a central place in the Thai Royal Barge procession. The gift is a replica of the one made during the reign of King Rama VI in 1911.