The experience that our committee members are gaining in carrying out affiliation projects has created an America more knowledgeable in foreign affairs than their parents or grandparents. Their visitations and personal experiences have given them first-hand knowledge in a practical and wise manner. -Mark Bortman, Chair of the Civic Committee The very first national sister cities conference was held in Washington D.C. on February 27-28, 1958 and helped point the way to the future growth the program would enjoy.
Mark Bortman was the first leader to chair the Civic Committee (the main cog in the mechanism of citizen diplomacy) and saw the sister cities movement grow from some 40 affiliations after the Committee was formed in 1956 to over 350 U.S. communities linked with communities in 57 countries until his death In 1967.
Two deeply-held convictions unite us in common purpose. First, is our belief in effective and responsive local government as a principal bulwark of freedom. Second, is our faith in the great promise of people-to-people and sister city affiliations in helping build the solid structure of world peace.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower...