(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A delegation of 40 mayors from more than 30 countries has gathered in Jerusalem for an international conference of municipal leaders.
The 25th Jerusalem Conference of Mayors, which kicks off on Sunday, will include mayors and deputy mayors from Kiev, London, Dublin, Addis Ababa, Lima, Zagreb, Tbilisi, Montevideo, Quito, La-Paz, Banja Luka, and Tbilisi.
Six mayors will be coming from the US alone - the largest contingent from any one country - including the mayors of Cincinnati, Providence, Baton Rouge, Green Bay, Madison, and Dayton.
London Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron will be attending the event in lieu of the controversial Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Besides touring Jerusalem, the mayors will participate in round-table sessions that will explore the various challenges facing modern metropolitan areas, and are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
"The gathering of colleagues from all around the world is a golden opportunity to expose them to Jerusalem and to learn from their experience," Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski said.
The five-day event is being sponsored by the American Jewish Congress, in association with the Foreign Ministry and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
"We hope to give them a fresh outlook on Jerusalem and a new understanding of Israel and its achievements," said AJC Chairman Jack Rosen. "Mayors Conference alumni are among Israel's best ambassadors of goodwill."