When President Dwight Eisenhower unveiled what would eventually become Sister Cities International in 1956, he saw the program as a new approach to secure peace worldwide. He encouraged local communities to do their part. Being part of Sister Cities allows towns and cities to exchange information and ideas to develop friendships and deepen cultural understanding.
There are more than 700 Sister City communities in the United States. Arizona has 14 cities/towns as members of the Sister Cities International, including Fountain Hills. Other members in Arizona include Phoenix, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria, Prescott, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Show Low/Pinetop-Lakeside, Sierra Vista, Tempe, Tucson, and Yuma. There are 49 international partners the Arizona Sister Cities participants work with to build relationships.
Fountain Hills is hosting the 2022 Sister Cities 2022 Annual Arizona State Sister Cities Conference on April 30 at the Fountain Hills Community Center, located at 13001 N. La Montana Drive. The conference is open to the public. There is a $95 per person registration fee for the full-day event, which includes the meeting with a breakfast bar, lunch, and wrap-up event with appetizers and beverages. To register, go to www.fountainhillsaz.gov/scac.
The keynote speaker for this event is the Honorable Barbara Barrett, Former Ambassador to Finland and Former Secretary of the Air Force. Other presentations include discussions on international diplomacy with the Honorable Glenn Williamson, Honorary Consul Emeritus of Canada in Arizona. There is also a panel discussion with the Diplomatic Corps of Arizona Members, moderated by Rita Marko, President, and CEO, Phoenix Sister Cities. The panel includes the Honorable Jorge Mendoza Yescas, Consul General of Mexico, the Honorable Odette Bakker, Honorary Consul of the Netherlands, the Honorable Carolin Gey, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Honorable Nathan J. Fidel, Honorary Consul of the French Republic.
For a complete list of activities and presentations, go to www.fountainhillsaz.gov/scac.
Fountain Hills joined Sister Cities International in 2,000 when Mayor Sharon Morgan formerly established the relationship with Kasterlee, Belgium, on September 16, 2000. Other Sister City relationships soon followed. On June 25, 2005, Dierforf, Germany, was established by Mayor Wally Nichols. Ataco, El Salvador, was formerly enlisted by Mayor Nichols on November 8, 2007. Finally, in 2014, Mayor Linda Kavanagh established Zamość, Poland, as 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 broadest possible diversity of activities. The partnership aims to achieve international understanding, cultural sensitivities, humanitarian efforts and encourage trade and tourism. Goals include cultural and student exchanges, educational programs, and community events.