Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit which serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the U.S. This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in over 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in 145 countries on six continents.
Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House summit on citizen diplomacy, where he envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world. By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people from different cultures could understand, appreciate, and celebrate their differences while building partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts. Since its inception, the Sister Cities International network has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships. Click here to read more about our mission and history.
Sister Cities International serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices in the field of citizen diplomacy. As a membership association, Sister Cities International continues to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for its members. Sister Cities International provides essential services and resources to help members find partners as well as to expand and improve activities. Sister Cities International motivates and assists private citizens, municipal officials, and business leaders to conduct long-term, mutually beneficial sister city, county, or state relationships. With a mission “to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time,” Sister Cities International’s member programs focus on four main areas of exchange: arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development and technical exchange to connect citizens around the globe. Click here to read more about our member programs and activities.
The mission of Sister Cities International is just as important today as it was when it was founded. With the advent of the internet and new technologies, the world is becoming smaller, and the relationships and interactions between the U.S. and its international counterparts are more complex than ever. Despite this increase in online communication, the face-to-face meetings and personal relationships developed through sister cities are still vital and irreplaceable. Sister Cities International continues to expand its reach to new and emerging regions of the world and dedicates special focus to growing partnerships in Africa, Southeast and East Asia, and Latin America. Click here to see an infographic showcasing sister city connections between U.S. cities and cities worldwide (Courtesy: Asia Society).