Sister Cities International
1301 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Tel: + 1 202-347-8630
Fax: +1 202-393-6524
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City Mayors Foundation
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
International Organization for Migration
Integration: Building Inclusive Societies
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Association of Mexican cities
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National Urban League
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||Communities in some 125 countries
work for peace through Sister Cities
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit, citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between US and international communities. Citizen diplomacy can be described as the concerted attempt to increase global cooperation through unofficial contacts at the primary and individual level.
The sister city movement goes back to 1956 when US President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for people-to-people exchanges at a special White House Summit on citizen diplomacy. The calling of Sister Cities International is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation - one individual, one community at a time.
Similar to the European ‘twinning’ concept, the partnerships help US cities develop deeper connections with countries in Asia, The Americas, Africa, the Caribbean, Eurasia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Europe. The network represents more than 2,500 communities in 125 countries around the world. As an international membership organization, Sister Cities International officially certifies, represents, and supports partnerships between US cities, counties, states, and similar jurisdictions in other countries to ensure their continued commitment and success.
As an official member of Sister Cities International, members acquire many benefits. They gain the opportunity of networking with all members of Sister Cities International. Through the network, members can gain access to a comprehensive database and search engine that enables them to share information on existing programs. Members can also use an instantaneous translation service in 10 different languages for emails and documents. In addition, the expert professional staff at Sister Cities International provides private consultation services for program development and sustainability.
An elected board of directors governs the organization. A professional staff and an executive director provide membership and program support from the Washington, DC, headquarters. Sister Cities International promotes programs for sustainable development, youth involvement, cultural understanding, and humanitarian assistance.
These are a few of the projects that Sister Cities International has developed:
• Sister Cities Network for Sustainable Development
The Network for Sustainable Development assists with capacity building and aids sister city partnerships in expanding or developing new projects based upon the United Nations 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Using the Sister Cities International "model," sister city partnerships promote the participation of local citizens at all levels of project development. This includes identifying project areas, suggesting and drafting proposed solutions, overseeing their implementation and evaluating the results. Within this network the organization promotes programs in areas such as HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention; Emergency Preparedness; Transparency and Openness; Information and Communication Technology; and Urban Management.
• Millennium Development Goals Challenge Pilot Program
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) City-to-City Challenge Pilot Program mobilizes and enlists the aid of city-to-city relationships to promote sustainable development. Sister Cities International, in cooperation with the World Bank Institute (WBI), selected three sister city partnerships for this exciting project. These cities agreed to focus on MDGs as part of their active membership in the Sister Cities Network for Sustainable Development.
• Open World Leadership Program
The Open World Leadership Program aims to advance ideas on accountability, transparency, and citizen participation in governments in Eurasia. The program brings Russian, Ukrainian, and Uzbek elected officials, political candidates, and emerging political and civic leaders to the United States. The Academy for Educational Development (AED), in partnership with Sister Cities International, administers the program. The Open World Leadership Center at the US Library of Congress sponsors the program.
• Wheelchairs for Peace
In 2002, Sister Cities International and the Wheelchair Foundation embarked upon a five-year initiative to distribute wheelchairs to sister city communities throughout the world. The Wheelchair Foundation has committed a total of $4.5 million in matching funds to be combined with funds raised by sister city chapters to deliver wheelchairs to children and adults in their sister cities living with disabilities.
• US-Iraqi International Partners for Peace Initiative
The "International Partners for Peace" initiative is a new public-private partnership between the US and Iraqi communities. It is designed to strengthen relationships with people in order to cultivate more extensive communications with them, leading in turn to greater cooperation and understanding. Initial efforts will concentrate on humanitarian aid programs. Sister Cities International will organize this initiative with funding support from the US Department of State.
Arts and Culture
• Young Artists Competition
Since 1988, the Sister Cities International Young Artist Competition has engaged youth from around the world in the sister city mission. Young artists use the competition’s yearly theme to express their concept of the quest. Applying their imagination and thoughts to the theme, they creatively convey the significance of sister city partnerships through various images. Recent themes have been “Coming Together to Build a Better World;” “Reach for a Hand, Touch a Heart;” and “No Borders, No Fences… Just Friends.”
Youth and Education
• The Youth and Education Network
Sister Cities International recognizes the role of youth in sustaining current sister city relationships and fostering future partnerships. The Network increases the ability of member communities to design and deliver effective youth and education programs. Members can also find funding opportunities through foundations, government grants, and other potential projects.
• Sister Cities International/Academic Year in the USA (AYUSA) Partnership for Youth Exchange
Sister Cities International and AYUSA International formed a strategic partnership to offer exciting new youth exchange opportunities to its members. Sister Cities International/AYUSA Partnership for Youth Exchange facilitates exchange programs for youth to promote long-term, substantive partnerships between US and international communities.
• Islamic Youth Initiative and Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program
The Youth Exchange and Study (Yes) program, sponsored by the US Department of State, provides full scholarships for students from the Islamic world to travel to the United States for an academic year. The students live with host families, attend school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, and help educate Americans about their own countries and cultures. The 2004-2005 program includes 220 students from Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Yemen. Sister Cities International has formed partnerships with AYUSA, ASSE, and AMIDEAST and iEARN for this initiative.
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