Similar communities from different countries may propose a formal affiliation as “sister cities” or “friendship cities,” sometimes referred to as “twinning towns,” to learn more about each other and to develop friendly and meaningful exchanges. Citizens and organizations in both communities engage in long-term educational, municipal, professional, technical and youth projects of mutual interest, thereby increasing international understanding at all levels of the community.
The sister city program was launched at a 1956 White House conference by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hundreds of American cities responded to that call and are continuing to carry out meaningful exchanges in 136 nations around the world.
A sister city program enables the citizens of both communities to become directly involved in international relations. It enables all who participate to:
exchange ideas and develop friendships with their counterparts in another culture on a direct, personal basis;
establish an identity as members of the global family involved in the constructive process of building world peace;
develop a way for the diverse elements of each community to come together to enjoy and profit from a cooperative program;
open new dialogues with the people of another culture to find unique solutions to improving the quality of life of all citizens;
feel they are contributing to international understanding; and
better understand their own community by interpreting their way of life to the people of another culture.