Arthur T. Bowley Dubbed Member of the British Empire
British honours are awarded on merit, for exceptional achievement or service. The Queen chooses the recipients of honours on the advice of the Prime Minister and other relevant ministers, to whom recommendations are made by their departments or members of the public. The MBE is one of the Orders of Chivalry and was created by King George V in 1917 to reward non-combatant service.
In this case, Councillor Bowley was nominated by the members of the Brecon community to recognize his decades of service to his community. High on the list of the accomplishments submitted to the Queen was Councillor Bowley's role in the creation and nuturing of the Sister City relationship between Brecon and Saline.
In 1996, the towns of Saline, Michigan and Brecon celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Sister City relationship. That relationship, and the spirit of international cooperation and friendship it has spawned in both communities, is the brainchild, and now flourishing adult product, of Councillor Bowley's efforts. His work for the International Sister City ideal began before 1966 and extended long after his terms of service as Mayor.
Arthur Bowley was determined that this international relationship would be more than some occasional official pleasantries exchanged between government bureaucrats. He expanded the contacts between the two cities to people in every part of our communities. He established the rule, which is still observed, that no visitor between Brecon and Saline would be housed in a hotel but rather that every exchange would be in a home where they could interact and learn from each other's culture. He suggested, and organized, exchanges of adult civic groups and organizations, such as the Brecon Cathedral Choir, the Aberhonddu & District Male Choir, and the Saline Big Band. Arthur knew that the future of the relationship depended on our youth, so he got the schools involved on both sides, which led to the now common exchange visits by groups from Brecon and Saline student organizations. The Bowley Cup is awarded each year at the Saline High School Honors Convocation to the student or student organization which best exemplifies service by youth to the community. He suggested the formation of non-governmental organizations to guide, operate, and fund sister city activities and today the relationship is under the auspices of the Brecon-Saline Twinning Association and the Saline-Brecon Friendship Guild.
The tangible result of these efforts over the last thirty years has been an expansion of the Sister City relationship throughout both communities. The best estimate is that from these two cities with approximate populations of 7,000 to 8,000, over 1100 different people have visited their twin town. It is also estimated that over 2,000 other people in Saline have participated in some Sister City activity, from hosting a visitor to participating in a reception or other shared event.
More important, the intangible result is that Arthur Bowley's vision has been realized in the hearts of citizens in both cities. People from two different countries and cultures have a real understanding and a real friendship with each other. It is that understanding and friendship, on a personal level, that may be the best hope for international peace. Arthur Bowley believes that "peace through understanding" is more than a slogan. It is a goal to be attained one person and one community at a time and he has worked to achieve that goal for over three decades.
On both sides of the Atlantic Ocean we owe Councillor Arthur Bowley our recognition and gratitude. His efforts have made us better people than we would have been without him!