July 13 – International Sister Cities Day

Posted on July 13, 2017

Did you know that more than 2,000 cities, states, and counties are partnered with cities / etc. in 136 countries around the world? They are called Sister Cities, and the nonprofit group Sister Cities International tries to create and strengthen this program.

This kind of citizen diplomacy program seeks to build global understanding, cooperation, and peace. It's one of the great ideas that came out of the horrific World Wars.

Waaay back in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed people-to-people citizen diplomacy efforts. One of the things that came out of that was People to People, which started out as a nonprofit student ambassador program. Other student and youth exchanges and travel programs fit into this category as well.

In addition to youth and education programs, Sister Cities concentrates on art and cultural exchange, humanitarian assistance, and economic development. Here are just a few programs:

Tokyo, Japan, and Washington, D.C., are sister cities. In Washington the National Cherry Blossom Festival honors the city's ties to Japan and Tokyo.

Safe Drinking Water Initiative - cities whose sister cities are in Ethiopia and Nigeria (two of the African countries facing killer droughts) set a goal of distributing hundreds of thousands of water purification packets capable of purifying millions of liters of water.

Kids in Sister Schools exchange videos and webcasts and sometimes run join fund-raising campaigns or start leadership-building projects.

I wanted to find out if Los Angeles, California, a big city near me, had any sister cities. And....Gee-willikers! LA has 25 sister cities!!! Everywhere from Athens, Greece, to Auckland, New Zealand, from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Tehran, Iran, and from Vancouver, Canada, to Salvador, Brazil!

My own smaller city of Chino has none that I can find! But loads of smaller cities in California do have sister cities - including nearby Covina (Xalapa, Mexico), Ontario (two cities in Mexico, one in Canada, and one in New Zealand!), and Walnut (Calamba City, Philippines, and Shilin, Taiwan).

Does your town, or nearby towns, have one or more sister cities?

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