About Sister Cities

Sister Cities International (SCI) is a non-profit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation, to promote cultural understanding, and to stimulate economic development. SCI leads the movement for local community development and volunteer action, by motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials, and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual benefit.

What is a Sister City

A sister city is a broad-based, officially approved, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A sister city relationship becomes official with a signing ceremony of the top-elected officials of the two local jurisdictions, following approval by the local city councils.

Sister city partnerships have the potential to carry out the widest possible diversity of activities of any international program, including every type of municipal, business, professional, educational and cultural exchange or project. Sister city programs are also unique in that they inherently involve the three main sectors in a community: local government, businesses, and a wide variety of citizen volunteers (and civil society or non-profit organizations).

Sister City History

Sister city, county and state affiliations between the United States and other nations began shortly after World War II, and developed into a national initiative when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a people-to-people program at a White House conference in 1956. Originally a part of the National League of Cities, Sister Cities International became a separate, non-profit corporation in 1967 due to the tremendous growth and popularity of the U.S. program.

President Eisenhower’s intention was to involve individuals and organized groups at all levels of society in citizen diplomacy, with the hope that personal relationships, fostered through sister city, county and state affiliations, would lessen the chance of future world conflicts.

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