2013 Annual Conference: A Recap

Thank you to all the 2013 Annual Conference attendees, sponsors, volunteers, speakers, and the City of San Antonio! Your participation and enthusiasm made the Annual Conference a success.

Over 500 attendees from 25 countries came together in San Antonio, July 11-13, for the Sister Cities International 57th Annual Conference and 2013 Urban Environmental Accords Summit. The opening session featured Mayors from San Antonio’s sister cities, Regional Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme, Amy Fraenkel, and former Mayor of San Antonio, Honorable Henry Cisneros. Expert-led sessions on communications, exchanges & partnerships, fundraising and economic development throughout the Conference provided the nuts and blots on strengthening sister city programming. On Friday, Pan-Pacific Summit sessions served as a platform for sharing best practices and new ideas on strengthening U.S.-Asia relationships.
The Conference also starred distinguished keynote speakers throughout, including David Houle, America’s leading futurist, who discussed his perspective on “Entering the Shift Age”. The opening keynote on Saturday featured four Consul Generals from Norway, India, Germany, and Russia, each providing a national perspective on sister cities and how to grow and strengthen the citizen diplomacy movement. The Saturday luncheon keynote speaker, Carola McGiffert, President of the 100K Foundation, stressed the importance of youth exchanges in strengthening U.S.-China relations.
This year at the Conference, over 50 students from all over the country participated in a Youth Leadership Summit. The Summit engaged youth in the Sister Cities International network while exposing them to important international challenges and the ways in which different national experiences drive international cooperation on critical issues. The students met with representatives from the U.S. Department of State, the Embassy of Japan, Consul Generals of Norway, Russia and Germany, as well as the Ambassador from Indonesia.
On Friday evening, Mayor Julian Castro hosted a reception for the Conference attendees. The reception showcased traditional performances from all of San Antonio’s sister cities! On Saturday evening, award winners were honored at the Lou Wozar Annual Awards Dinner and Ceremony, which ended with entertainment by Grammy Award winners , Max Baca & Los TexManiacs.

More photos from the Conference available at: http://bit.ly/14yqjM5.