sister cities

Often, those of us who study public diplomacy forget about the hard work put forth daily by thousands of U.S. volunteers working as citizen diplomats. The activities of organizations such as Sister Cities International and the National Council for International Visitors not to mention the Fulbright Scholar Exchanges, are great examples of citizen diplomacy in action across America every day.

Chicago continues to forge its way through the 21st century as a leader on the world stage, and over the past several years, we have seen the city’s global presence grow stronger than ever. Chicago’s commitment to expanding the city’s global influence has made positive impacts on the lives of Chicago residents, the residents of our sister cities, and all those who travel to Chicago to experience our city’s unparalleled offerings.

One of the questions newly sworn-in gay Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell got at a meet-and-greet at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center last Tuesday, July 23, was from the Center’s Chief Public Affairs Officer, Jim Key. “You've probably heard about the horrible anti-gay crackdown in Russia, and know that St. Petersburg—which passed the ‘anti-gay propaganda law’—is a ‘sister city’ to Los Angeles. We don't think L.A. should be affiliated with such a city,” Key said.

Crater Lake National Park may soon have a sister park in southeast China's Fujian Province. Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman and Carolyn Hill, executive director of the Crater Lake National Park Trust, are working with Chinese officials as well as the Oregon Legislature and others to create a sister-park agreement between Oregon's only national park and the Mount Wuyi World Heritage and Cultural Site in Fujian Province.

Sonoman Bill Boerum was the final and featured dinner speaker on Saturday night at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Culver City Sister City Committee. Boerum is vice chairman of the board of directors of Sister Cities International, a Washington, and D.C. based organization promoting citizen diplomacy.

This year the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Cultural Exchange program is celebrating its 25th year. Sister Cities is an international, person-to-person diplomacy program that creates friendships and bonds between the US and other nations. New Ulm is a proud participant in the program, which began in the Eisenhower Administration.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko sent greetings to the participants of the 7th meeting of the twin-towns of Belarus and Russia, BelTA learnt from the presidential press service.

Turkish municipalities are developing sister city relations with their counterparts in Balkans, as the two sides aim to boost economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people contacts to foster mutual understanding and co-operation.