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City Celebrates 60-Year Sister City Program

From left, Michael Shiosaki and husband Mayor Ed Murray meet representatives of sister city Kobe including Tetsuya Sometani, director of Kobe Trade Information Office, and Karin Zaugg Black, former chair of the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association. Photo by Dana Berenson

By The North American Post Staff

The City of Seattle recognized its 21 sister cities and commemorated decades of an international program promoting people-to-people diplomacy last Thursday. The evening reception was joined by the sister city representatives and featured international foods, music, dancing, raffles, a silent auction and displays from Seattle’s sister cities.

The globally-recognized brand, Seattle Sister City program is a key component of the city’s mission to advance its international profile. More than 3,000 volunteers leverage Seattle’s sister cities relationships to increase economic, cultural and educational ties with international cities and their citizens. President Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International in 1956 to promote peace and prosperity at a citizen level through municipal-level affiliations.

“Through stronger partnerships with our international peer cities, we are expanding Seattle’s reputation as a global hub of trade, innovation, and culture,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The Sister City reception is our opportunity to celebrate our 60 year participation in the program and showcase Seattle as a truly global city.”

Seattle began the sister city program with Kobe in 1957 and will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year. Japanese consul-general Masahiro Omura also presented the Japanese Foreign Minister Award to Burton E. Bard Jr. president of the Seattle Sister Cities Association. The Japanese government announced the award in July for “his contributions to deepening relations between the United States and Japan.”

The event is part of an effort to strengthen the strategic impact of Seattle’s Sister Cities and will have the theme of “Global Connections through World Travel.” The reception highlighted four cities with special display cases to remain in City Hall for one year: Nantes in France, Christchurch in New Zealand, Mombasa in Kenya and Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

More information can be found at <www.seattlesistercities.org>.