In 1989, Melbourne was the first Australian city to form a sister-city relationship with a Russian city, St Petersburg - then known as Leningrad.

This year we mark 25 years of solid collaboration and friendship which has strengthened to include many cultural and educational exchanges between our two cities.

St Petersburg has a remarkably rich history, particularly in music and the performing arts. Home to many of the great composers and splendid art museums, it is a city that cherishes the artistic impulse just as we do in Melbourne.

I can think of no better representative to encapsulate all that is Melbourne than the Corpus Medicorum Orchestra. The City of Melbourne is proud to support the orchestra's visit to St Petersburg and trust that it will be an opportunity to identify medical exchanges and dialogue between hospitals in each city. Council's funding will contribute to scholarships for six students to participate in this 'one chance of a life time' tour to Russia.

May I congratulate Mr Phillip Antippa, the Corpus Medicorum Orchestra and all involved in the 2014 tour.

Robert Doyle

Lord Mayor of Melbourne