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Sister Cities International Logo

Sister Cities International

Representing more than 2,400 communities in 123 countries, Sister Cities International ( is a citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities abroad. Begun in 1956 after a White House summit where U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for people-to-people exchanges, sister city partnerships are tailored to local interests and increase global cooperation at the grassroots level. Sister Cities International promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation by focusing on sustainable development, youth and education, arts and culture, humanitarian assistance and economic growth programs.

Web site:

Click here to go directly to the Youth Programs

Program Update

Sister Cities International received a grant from iEARN to accomplish two goals:

  • To provide small grants to five local sister city organizations with partners in predominantly Islamic countries to bring at least two students and one teacher to the U.S. for the purpose of establishing and enhancing connections between schools and communities.
  • To create sister school partnerships between U.S. and Afghan schools and to make a documentary film of the teachers involved in sister school exchanges.

The five sister city organizations that participated in this program were: Burlington, Vermont (Bethlehem, Palestine); Chicago, Illinois (Casablanca, Morocco); Pleasant Hill, California (Merzifon,Turkey); St. Louis, Missouri (St. Louis, Senegal); and Prince George's County, Maryland (Ziguinchor, Senegal).

To read more this program, please visit


Find a Sister City
When a community of any size decides to join with a community in another nation to learn more about the other and to develop friendly and meaningful exchanges, the two propose a formal affiliation leading to official designation as "sister cities." Ask your teacher, family, neighbors and city leaders to work with you to find a sister city/school for your community!

Young Artists Competition
This program invites youth, ages 13-18, to take part in a worldwide art competition. Young Artists is open to young people in all sister city partnerships.

Sister Cities International/AYUSA Partnership for Youth Exchange

Sister Cities International and AYUSA International have formed a strategic partnership to offer exciting, new youth exchange opportunities to our members. Sister Cities International/AYUSA Partnership for Youth Exchange facilitates exchange programs for youth to promote long-term, substantive partnerships between U.S. and international communities, to build bridges of cultural understanding and to ensure a more peaceful, just world.

Islamic Youth Initiative: Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

The Sister Cities International Board of Directors decided to respond to the events of September 11, 2001, by establishing the Sister Cities United for International Peace and Friendship Initiative in October 2001. This project mandated that Sister Cities International should reach out to under-served regions, including countries in the Islamic world.

As part of this initiative, Sister Cities International applied to be involved in a program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. We are pleased to announce that Sister Cities International was selected to be one of the sub-grantees in the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. This program awards scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the U.S. The program is vital to expanding communication between the people of the U.S. and the partner countries in the interest of promoting mutual understanding and respect.

To read more about these and other Sister Cities International youth programs, please visit

New Year Celebration


Regional Photo from China


Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball

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