BERLIN – Municipal officials welcomed a pair of international environmental professionals at this week’s meeting of the Berlin Town Council.
In addition to hosting a reception in their honor last week, officials recognized Pradnya Rahmani and Xyla Gualberto at Monday’s council meeting. Rahmani, who is from Indonesia, and Gualberto, who is from the Philippines, will spend a month in Berlin through an International City/County Management Association initiative, the Professional Fellows Program.
“We’re grateful that you’re here,” Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said. “We hope you have a very rewarding experience. We hope you learn some of the things you expected and maybe some things you didn’t anticipate. I know we’ll be learning a lot from you and it’s not all about science it’s about the common humanity among all of us. We are trying, and I think we succeed more than we don’t, to be a community that embraces diversity.”
Town staff said that while the women would be working on their own projects during their time in Berlin, they will also visit the town’s spray sites, study its solid waste program and tour local landmarks.
“They have a lot scheduled,” said Jane Kreiter, the town’s director of water resources and public works.
Rahmani and Gualberto, whose visit runs through Nov. 11, said they were enjoying their educational visit.
“We have been very warmly received by your town, your community, and we’re very happy for that,” Gualberto said.
She told the council she was from the southern part of the Philippines in an area that had just in the past few years started to experience frequent flooding. She’s working on ways to address the growing issue.
“I’m trying my best to mitigate that kind of disaster,” she said.
Rahmani said she was from an area in the south of Jakarta, where she worked as an organic waste treatment researcher. She’s been working on a project in which maggots are used to make compost. During her time in the United States, she wants to learn about recycling programs.
Town staff said the visiting professionals would be able to study local sustainability efforts as well as the town’s efforts to reduce flooding and improve water quality. At the conclusion of their time in Berlin, Rahmani and Gualberto will travel to Washington D.C. to take part in the Professional Fellows Congress, which gives participants a chance to meet other young leaders in their fields.
Williams said that while Rahmani and Gualberto would be learning a lot during their visit, they’d also be sharing their perspective and ideas with the town.
“We can’t thank you enough for your willingness to be part of our community,” Williams said.