City Leaders and Citizen Diplomats Explore Entrepreneurship, Cultural Understanding, and Smart Cities at “Cities Leading the Way” August 2-4

Ron Nirenberg and Tim Quigley at the 2016 Annual Conference Flag Parade
Aurora, Colorado will be the nexus of worldwide connections as Sister Cities International hosts their 2018 Annual Conference and 2018 Youth Leadership Summit. The conference will bring together more than 300 elected and municipal officials, business leaders, and engaged citizen diplomats and over 100 high school students from across the U.S. and the globe to learn about citizen diplomacy. The theme of the conference is “Cities Leading the Way.” “This landmark gathering will demonstrate how citizen diplomacy forges mutual interests and ties of respect across ...

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2018 Annual Awards: Congratulations to This Year’s Winners

2017 Annual Awards Winners
At Sister Cities International, we know that the work our members do to promote peace through mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation changes the world--one individual, one community at a time. Since 1962, we have recognized a few of our most outstanding members all over the nation for the work they've done in the last year to advance the citizen diplomacy movement through our Annual Awards Program. There are 4 award categories broken out by city population size: best overall, innovation, volunteer of the year, and youth leadership. The innovation category has ...

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Seattle Celebrates Friendship with Sister City Bergen with Gala Concert Extravaganza

Submitted by Lori Ann Reinhall President, Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association June 15, 2018, marked the 175th birthday of Bergen’s most famous composer, Edvard Hagerup Grieg. It was a day of celebration in Norway with a 30-hour marathon concert with many of the country’s leading artists at Grieg’s home Troldhaugen in Bergen. The concert was broadcasted throughout all of Norway and streamed online all over the world. In Seattle, the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association (SBSCA) was listening in preparation for their own celebration. The following ...

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A Priceless Experience: Shoppers Get a Taste of Their Sister Cities

Visitors to the Mall in Columbia, Maryland last month enjoyed an afternoon of music, performances and tables spotlighting Columbia's four official sister cities (Cergy-Pontoise, France; Tres Cantos, Spain; Tema, Ghana and; Cap-Haitien, Haiti) and a 5th soon-to-be sister city: Liyang in Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China—which is awaiting signature of the official partnership agreement. Volunteers from the sister city committees staffed the display tables, and dancers and drummers offered performances representing the cultures of each city. The event on April ...

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Juneau Extends a Friendly Hand Over the Bering Sea

Members of the Vladivostok Sister Cities Committee
The long-dormant relationship between Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, and its sister city in Eastern Russia, Vladivostok, was rejuvenated early last month when American Consul General Michael Keays delivered a book to the sister city committee there. The book, written by Alaskan author David Ramseur, describes the blossoming of citizen diplomacy efforts across the Bering Sea during the late 1980s and early 90s, set against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union and normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia. Families ...

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3rd Annual Coulee Hoolie Ceili Links Charities in Wisconsin and Ireland

La Crosse Wisconsin
The La Crosse Bantry Friendship Association works to build a bridge between two charities on opposite sides of the Atlantic next week, with a fundraising night of traditional Irish music and dance. The 3rd Annual Coulee Hoolie Ceili will benefit Sacred Grounds, a group that aids homeless and vulnerable people in the Wisconsin city of La Crosse, and Cork ARC, a support service for those in Bantry, Ireland, with family members needing medical care.A ‘hoolie’ is a gathering or party, and ‘Ceili’ refers to traditional Irish music, dance, and singing, all of which ...

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Birmingham Ushers in the Year of the Dog

Birmingham and Chao Yang District Lunar New Year Celebration
Record crowds flocked to an auditorium in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, last month to celebrate the Lunar New Year, in an event featuring performances by dancers of all ages, and even a Beijing Opera singer. The city’s 12th Annual Chinese New Year Festival drew more than 4,000 people, not including performers from Birmingham’s sister city Chao Yang District (in the Chinese capital city of Beijing) and Chinese-Americans and others from the Birmingham area. The festival is just one of the many international events sponsored or founded by the Birmingham Sister ...

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The City of Auburn Goes to the Olympics

A delegation from the City of Auburn, Washington will touch down in South Korea this week to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics. They come at the invitation of host city PyeongChang, who counts Auburn as its only American sister city. Seven delegates, including Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and others involved with the sister city program, will join delegations from PyeongChang’s sister cities in Japan, China, and Mongolia for the opening ceremony. The cities of Auburn and PyeongChang entered into talks to become sister cities nearly a decade ago. ...

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Virtual Classroom Links Schools in Highland Park and Puerto Vallarta and Modena through Poetry

A virtual classroom project launched this month, connecting Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park, Illinois, to Los Volcanes School in Highland Park’s sister city Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico. The joint effort of the Highland Park Sister Cities Foundation (HPSCF) and the Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Committee connects the classes of Elm Place teacher Lori Wyatt and Los Volcanes teacher Raul Gibran through the study of poetry. Using a virtual platform called Edmodo, students will explore the values we share with people in other countries. The project also enables ...

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Legislators Bring the World to Annapolis

Legislators and officials in Annapolis welcomed delegations from Maryland’s 20 sister state relationships late last month to showcase their programs’ achievements over the past year at the annual Sister States Legislative Reception. The event also fosters greater cultural awareness in the Maryland community through special food, drinks, and items characteristic of each of Maryland’s sister states (in 17 countries total) set up at tables in an exhibit hall. This year’s reception, which was held January 30, also featured cultural performances by Chinese Taiji ...

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