San Antonio, Texas Wins Sister Cities International’s Award for Best Overall Program

WASHINGTON, DC – San Antonio, Texas has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Award for Best Overall program for a city with a population greater than 300,001. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

In 2018, San Antonio Sister Cities program leveraged the celebration of San Antonio’s 300 year anniversary to reach out to its global relationships while positively impacting their eleven sister cities and two friendship cities from around the world. San Antonio Mayor traveled to and co-hosted the first “All Mexico-U.S. Sister Cities Mayors Summit” in its sister city Guadalajara, accompanied by approximately 20 San Antonio civic and business leaders. In celebration of the Tricentennial, nine sister and friendship cities visited the City including five sister city mayors throughout the year with the highlight during a series of commemorative events under the umbrella of Commemorative Week.

Another special event in 2018 was the historic visit by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in June that was featured in media outlets in over 15 countries, especially in Latin America and Europe resulting in over $40 million dollars of media impact in press outlets across US, Latin America and Europe. The signature Tricentennial cultural event of the San Antonio Sister City program was the Sister Cities Jazz Ensemble, which connected fourteen jazz musicians from most of San Antonio’s sister and friendship cities with residents organically and across airwaves using the digital platform in an authentic people-to-people exchange. Lastly, 2018 was a landmark year for not only the City of San Antonio and its Japanese Sister City of Kumamoto as the mutual relationship reached its 30-year milestone.  San Antonio and its Indian sister city of Chennai also celebrated their 10-year anniversary with the annual Diwali celebration which attracted over 30,000 locals and visitors.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19, in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.

About San Antonio Sister Cities:

Contact: Ian Cruz (ian.cruz@sanantonio.gov)