SCI Expresses Its Condolences to the Family and Friends of Former Organization Executive Thomas W. Gittins

The Sister Cities International team would like to express its condolences to the family and friends of Tom Gittins, who passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on July 6, 2019. Tom’s dedication in promoting SCI’s core values of understanding, mutual respect, and cooperation has left an ever-lasting imprint on SCI. We are extremely grateful for Tom’s many years of service to our organization, and for his commitment and devotion to promoting citizen diplomacy. He will be truly missed.

Tom Gittins was President of Gittins & Associates, Inc., a consulting services firm specializing in international programs and projects, special project activities, organizational development and capacity building, meeting planning and management, strategic planning, program evaluation, organization and institution representation. Clients included colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, overseas institutions, foundations and corporations. He worked throughout the United States and around the world with NGOs in organizational development and management, strategic planning, volunteer leadership development, professional staff training, program development, resource development and capacity building.

As a graduate of Cornell University, Tom joined the administration there as assistant director of alumni relations.  He then moved on to a career as an insurance broker in Delaware, from which he took a leave of absence to become Associate Director and Director of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Following that, he left the insurance business and returned to Washington, DC where he served as chief of operations for the Latin America Bureau of Peace Corps.

Tom left Peace Corps to become Executive Vice President and CEO of Sister Cities International, a private, nonprofit national association of U.S. cities and citizen volunteer committees that have sister city affiliations with cities overseas for the purpose of international professional, educational, cultural, technical, municipal and business exchange. Under his leadership, the program grew to include city linkages throughout the world between U.S. cities and cities in more than hundred other countries.  During his administration, he led the- growth and development of the U.S. Sister Cities program to the point where it is one of the most highly respected and effective private, community-based, citizen exchange mechanisms anywhere, with a proven track record for innovation and achievement. In coordination with the U.S. Information Agency, Tom pioneered innovative sister city training and problem-solving programs for municipal professionals and NGO and community leaders in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, contributing to societal and economic transformations in many communities.

Tom was a founding member of the International Exchange Association, a consortium of citizen exchange organizations in the United States; of the International Leadership Institute for international volunteer leadership; of Fondo Quisqueya, a foundation providing education and training opportunities to needy candidates in the Dominican Republic; and of the Coalition for Citizen Diplomacy.  He was a member of advisory committees to President Reagan and to President Carter and served as a public member of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Selection Board. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Global Ties U.S., Sister Cities International, and served as Chairman of Delphi International, as Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of Citizenship, and on the Board of Trustees of World Learning. He was most recently the Washington Representative for the Network for Citizen Diplomacy.

Tom leaves behind a wife, Suzanne (Sue), two children (Tom Jr and Dianne) and their respective partners, Gina and Suzanne, and two grandchildren, Grant and Kyle, as well as a broad network of friends and colleagues in the Washington, DC area and around the world.