Long Beach, California Wins Sister Cities International’s Innovation Award for Youth and Education

WASHINGTON, DC – Long Beach, California has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Innovation Award for Youth and Education for a city with a population greater than 100,000. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

In August 2018, the Sister Cities of Long Beach, Inc., (California) through its Long Beach-Qingdao Association (LBQA), provided support for a new project to bring Chinese and US students together to learn how to program small robots and to compete in multi-national teams to show what they had learned.  The LBQA provided business and diplomatic expertise as well as funding for equipment and for some students to compete nationally.  The program was designed to give U.S. and Chinese students an intensive cross-cultural competitive experience in team building, language, and leading-edge technology.

Because of Long Beach sister cities and the programs that they have provided, the students learned how to program robots, and their work was enhanced by using concepts of intentional creativity to solve problems related to food, on a multi-cultural team. They have given students to opportunity to help break down the language barrier as Chinese students practiced their English and American students started to engage in Mandarin. Their concept of multi-national student team collaboration, facilitated by coaches and interpreters, was prototyped and proven successful. They have tested a program framework that can ultimately be grown to create international youth opportunities for multiple skills training—from technical, robotics-oriented to creativity/entrepreneurship and, perhaps, beyond. They have also created a team of cooperative organizations that will be helpful in the future.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.

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Contact: Patricia Tsoiasue ([email protected])