This morning I came across an interesting article about the city of San Francisco’s decision to become the sister city to Barcelona, Spain. With the help of the non-profit organization, Sister Cities International, mayors from the two cities signed an agreement designed to provide opportunities for cultural exchange and community partnerships.
Created as a result of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s citizen diplomacy initiative of 1956, the sister cities program aims to promote cultural understanding, stimulate economic development and foster global cooperation, goals similar to those of EF Educational Tours (to break down barriers of language, culture and geography through educational travel opportunities for students).
What will San Francisco and Barcelona do as sister cities? Sister Cities offers a wide variety of conferences and initiatives, some of which are specifically geared toward students. The Sister Schools Program pairs students together to participate in letter/webcast exchanges, fundraising projects and leadership development activities. The organization also hosts a Youth Leadership Conference and encourages families to host international exchange students.
At present, more than 2,000 cities are partnered in 136 countries across the globe. Check out which cities, your community has partnered with.