What is a Sister City?
A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A sister city, county, or state relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement.
Sister city organizations promote peace through people-to-people relationships—with program offerings varying greatly from basic cultural exchange programs to shared research and development projects between cities with relationships.
Each sister city organization is independent and pursues the activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community including municipal, business, trade, educational and cultural exchanges with their sister city.
A city may have any number of sister cities, with community involvement ranging from a half dozen to hundreds of volunteers. In addition to volunteers, sister city organizations may include representatives from nonprofits, municipal governments, the private sector, and other civic organizations.
Our Mission with Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International advances peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development exchanges. It serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices in the field of citizen diplomacy.
Since its inception Sister Cities International has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships. Early partnerships included a trading relationship between Seattle, Washington and Tokyo, Japan, repairing post-WWII tensions by creating cultural and educational exchanges and, subsequently, lasting friendships. A 1974 study found that many early sister city relationships formed out of the post WWII aid programs to Western Europe. The relationships that endured, however, were based on cultural or educational reasons that developed lasting friendships. Sister Cities International improved diplomatic relationships at watershed moments over the past 50 years, including partnerships with China in the 1970s. Sister Cities International strives to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for its members.
Sister Cities International remains as important today as it was when it was founded. With the advent of the internet and new technologies, the world is becoming smaller, and the relationships and interactions between the U.S. and its foreign counterparts are more complex than ever. The face-to-face meetings and personal relationships developed through Sister Cities is all the more vital and irreplaceable.
Maui County Sister Cities Foundation participates actively in SCI program-building conferences, forums and events, and is proud to be the only member of Sister Cities International from the State of Hawaii.