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Sister Cities International (SCI)
Legal status501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
PurposeTo create and strengthen partnerships between communities in other countries
Headquarters1012 14th Street NW
Suite 1400[1]
Washington, D.C. 20005
United States
states, counties, cities
Board Chair
Peter Svarzbein[1]

Sister Cities International (SCI) is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that has the goal of facilitating partnerships between communities within the United States and other countries by establishing "Sister Cities."[2] Sister Cities are broad long-term agreements of mutual support formally recognized by the civic leaders of those cities.[3] A total of 1,800 cities, states, and counties have partnered in 138 countries.[4]

As an organization that links jurisdictions in the U.S. with communities worldwide, Sister Cities International recognizes, registers, and coordinates relationships among cities, counties, provinces, and other subnational political divisions at various levels.


Sister City partnerships share similar demographics and town sizes. These partnerships may arise from business connections, travel, similar industries, diaspora communities, or shared history. For example, Portland, Oregon and Bologna, Italy's partnership arose from a shared industry focus in biotechnology and education, an appreciation for the arts, and a deep cultural connection of food,[5] whereas Chicago's link with Warsaw, Poland began with the city's historic Polish community.[6]

Sister Cities International also recognizes "Friendship City" affiliations. These are less formal arrangements that may be a step towards a full Sister City affiliation.[7][8]

Early years

The first U.S. sister city program began in 1956,[9] when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a people-to-people citizenship diplomacy.[10] Originally part of the National League of Cities, Sister Cities International became a separate, non-profit corporation in 1967.


On June 4, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.[11] Zelenskyy asked that cities in the United States take part in rebuilding Ukraine by developing ties between localities that can leverage resources allocated to the effort to repair damaged social infrastructure. Sister Cities has been delivering humanitarian aid[12] to support the Ukrainian people. Poltava, Ukraine has been a sister city of Irondequoit, NY, since June 29, 1992, due to an agreement signed by Anatonij Kukoba, the then President of Poltava City Council, and Fredrick W. Lapple, the then Town Supervisor of Irondequoit. The scope of the relationship is broadly defined in this document, agreeing that many sectors of public life are open for engagement. After elected signatories process documents of this kind, agreements between Sister Cities are submitted to the main branch of SCI and kept on file at the Washington, DC, office.[13] SCI's CEO has advocated for sustained relations between existing Sister Cities programs[14] even in times of conflict.

The agreement between Irondequoit and Poltava states that their Sister City relationship never expires. Former Irondequoit Supervisor Lapple formed a committee to locate a city willing to partner in the interest of honoring the Ukrainian community active in his town. The relationship is ongoing, with a virtual conference occurring on July 14, 2022, featuring elected officials, organization leaders, and various citizens, all given a venue to speak as the Ukrainians fight to secure their independence and democracy. This expression of citizen-to-citizen diplomacy has fostered participation in the international relations of multiple localities. Sister Cities allows individual citizens to achieve global impact through efforts within their own local US communities. The SCI platform allows people to mobilize a network of international organizations, expanding participation in spheres driving democratic values, humanitarian relief, financial markets, and good governance organizations. Irondequoit hosted Ukrainian delegates from Congress' Open World[15] organization, supporting the development of leaders who embrace democratic values. To inform the public for generations to come, the citizens of Irondequoit instituted a special collection of documents[16] at the University of Rochester to historically preserve the more than one-hundred-year history of the Ukrainian community in the greater Rochester area.


Economic and sustainable development

See also


  1. ^ a b sci website
  2. ^ "Our Mission – Sister Cities International (SCI)". Retrieved 2024-03-29.
  3. ^ "Sister Cities International (SCI)". Sister Cities International (SCI). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  4. ^ 2019 SCI maps
  5. ^ "Mission". Portland Bologna Sister City Association. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  6. ^ Leroux, Charles (July 31, 2001). "Chicago has assembled a sorority of sister cities". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Sister Cities International: Affiliation Policy and Types of Affiliations" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  8. ^ "Sister Cities International: FAQ". Archived from the original on 2017-05-09. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  9. ^ "Sister Cities Program". St. Charles, MO. 3 October 2024. Archived from the original on 3 October 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  10. ^ "The Unlikely Sisterhood of Seattle and Tashkent". AramcoWorld. September 11, 1956. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Zelenskyy, Volodymyr (June 4, 2022). "Don't help Russia justify itself and don't let the murderers call you their brothers and sisters—an address by the President of Ukraine to the participants of the 90th annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors". President of the Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official Website. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "Support the Humanitarian effort for our Sister City, Poltava, and the rest of Ukraine - Town of Irondequoit". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  13. ^ "Sister Cities International (SCI)". Sister Cities International (SCI). Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  14. ^ Allala, Leroy. "Citizen Diplomacy and the Importance of Maintaining Sister City Relationships" (PDF). Sister Cities International. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "Social Issues and Accountable Governance Delegations from Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova | OpenWorld". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  16. ^ "Ukrainian Rochester Collection | RBSCP". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  17. ^ "Mission Statement" (PDF). The September Concert Foundation. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  18. ^ "Sister Cities International Partnership (SCI)". American Cultural Exchange Service. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  19. ^ "DOE, Sister Cities International honor clean energy partnerships". FMLink. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  20. ^ "Overview". Open World Leadership Center. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Citrix Does Valuable Work in Agogo, Ghana". Citrix Systems, Inc. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Citrix Honored by Sister Cities International for Bringing Information Technology to the Ashanti Tribe of Ghana". Citrix Systems, Inc. Retrieved 16 July 2012.