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Boston Sister Cities
The Sister Cities Program began as a national concept in 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for massive exchanges between Americans and people of other countries. The purpose of these exchanges is to create international understanding and goodwill. A Sister City agreement is formalized when two communities from different nations join together to develop a friendly and meaningful relationship. The two cities exchange people, ideas, culture, education, and technology. Citizens from both communities learn about each other's culture and become directly involved in developing unique solutions to common problems. The Sister Cities Program promotes world peace in an individual level and encourages citizens to better understand community, by contrasting their way of life with another culture.

Objectives of the Program

  1. Strengthening Boston's international relations in the areas of: Friendship, Trade, Understanding and Cooperation.

  2. Boston, a city rich in ethnic diversity, strongly believes in cultivating international awareness and understanding. Through the Sister City Program, the City of Boston is able to strengthen ties of friendship with international cities, their people, governments, and cultures.

  3. Enhancing Boston's global reputation.
    Our Sister City Program allows Boston to be recognized internationally as a leading cultural city, in terms of education, architecture and history.

  4. Expanding Economic Interests.
    Our program creates an opportunity for the City of Boston to come in contact with international business communities. Through the Sister City Associations, economic interests and foreign trade relations are increased and nourished. Such exposure also promotes tourism and convention activities.
    *Sister Cities International Guidelines.

  5. Enriching Boston's cultural and educational climate.
    The program sponsors many cultural and educational exchanges, which display the uniqueness and vitality of each city's artwork, music, dance, architec-ture, history, and traditions.

  6. Creating a diplomatic atmosphere.
    The City of Boston often hosts foreign dignitaries and delegations. Because of the Sister Cities Program's continuous international contact, it is often called upon for consultation in the area of diplomatic relations.  

Funding for Boston's Sister City Programs

The Sister City programs operate as non-profit, independent organizations, and are heavily dependent on voluntary support and contributions. Each association welcomes anyone interested in participating in the exchange and planning of events.

History of Boston's Sister Cities

The cradle of American independence, Boston has become a city rich in ethnic and cultural diversity. During the 1950s, citizens and government officials recognized the importance of developing closer international relations, and the search for a Sister City began. In 1959, Mayor Takayama of Kyoto, Japan, suggested an official cultural exchange, resulting in the Boston-Kyoto Sister City Association. The success of this program prompted the development of other goodwill sister relations. To the present date, six Sister City friendships have been formed.

Boston's Sister Cities

KYOTO, Japan
Sister City ties established: 1959
Kyoto became Boston's first Sister City in 1959. The two cities have in common a great wealth of history, education, culture, commerce, and strong neighborhood identities. As a tangible gesture of friendship toward the people of Boston, the City of Kyoto has donated a "Japan House" to the Boston Children's Museum. To date, this is believed to be the most generous gift from a foreign Sister City to an American community.
Kyoto and Boston host several events throughout the year, including an annual high school exchange where ten students from each city visit in alternate years. Recent events have included: two runners and a coach from Boston participating in the Kyoto Half-Marathon, thirteen Boston middle school students participating in a Youth Relay Race, Kyoto children visiting Boston to perform in local concerts, including one in City Hall Lobby. Last year, Boston hosted two exhibits from Kyoto: the Magic Mirror exhibition and Art from Kyoto Public Schools.
Kyoto City Website:

Sister City ties established: 1960
Strasbourg, like Boston, is a center of government, economy, culture, education, and medicine. Already host to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and the European Parliament, Strasbourg is striving to become Europe's new capital. Strasbourg and Boston are known for their majestic churches and beautiful historic landmarks. Both cities place a great emphasis on historic preservation. Since the first official visit to Strasbourg in 1960, many events and exchanges between artists, business interns and students have taken place between the two cities.
Like Kyoto, Strasbourg has an annual high school exchange program where Boston students visit Strasbourg in alternate years. Recent events include a visit by students from Strasbourg's inner city to Boston and a delegation of Boston's committee members to Strasbourg. This year, Boston will send eight inner city youth to perform community service in the Elsau neighborhood of Strasbourg.
Strasbourg Website: (in French) (in English)

Sister City ties established: 1980
Barcelona is, in many respects, a striking twin of Boston, with its port, where Columbus began his historical journey, the modern office tower of its commercial district, and the narrow, winding streets of its Barrio G6tico.
The two cities have had some cultural, education and business exchanges in recent years. In 1990, Boston hosted a visit by Mayor Pasqual Maragall Mira, where he was awarded the prestigious "Prince of Wales" award for excellence in urban design. In 1992, Boston hosted a floating trade exhibition in Barcelona, aboard the Patriot State, the training ship of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. In 1992, the City hosted a visit by three caravels to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to the New World.
Barcelona Website:

Sister City ties established: 1982
Hangzhou, generally regarded as China's most scenic city, was described by Marco Polo as "Paradise on Earth". From this perspective, it is easy to see why Boston and Hangzhou have so much in common. Designated a special trade zone by the Chinese government, the City of Hangzhou is now seeking to strengthen economic ties with Boston. Many events have occurred in the past few years to accomplish this including a trade fair hosted by Hangzhou at the World Trade Center in May 199 1; participation by manufacturing companies in the Asian Trade Festival at Hynes Convention Center, February 1993; a visit by the Hangzhou Silk Fashion Team - to promote its silk industry, April 1993; and a visit by Mayor Wang Yongming in November 1994 to further strengthen ties between our two cities.
Many artistic, cultural and educational exchanges have also occurred since we established sister city ties.

PADUA, Italy
Sister City ties established: 1983
The City of Padua's commitment to excellence in education, as evidence in its fine universities, creates an important bond with Boston. Student exchanges at both high school and university level have reflected this shared dedication. A high point in the Sister City relationship to date has been "Padua Week", an eight-day cultural event featuring fashions, art exhibits, culinary demonstrations, music by Padua Chamber Orchestra, and the gala event, "Serata Veneta".
During the past few years the New England Conservatory Youth Orchestra has performed twice in Padua's famed Scrovegni Chapel. There has also been an exchange between architectural and business associations. Most recently, a group of preservationists from Padua exhibited and lectured at the Restoration '95 convention in Boston. And, a group of artists from the School at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, held a special exhibit in Padua in June of '95 to help the city commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of St. Anthony.
The sister city relationship has also led to a formal business agreement between the Boston based Italy New England Chamber of Commerce, and their counterparts from the Padua/Veneto region.
Padua Website:

MELBOURNE, Australia
Sister City ties established: 1985
Melbourne is Boston's newest and most distant Sister City. This relationship has produced many interesting programs, including: a joint exhibit of children's art and literature; a teacher's exchange; lectures on the Australian American Alliance; and exchanges of artists and performers. Melbourne has established successful programs with area institutions including Beth Israel and Bentley College. The Melbourne Sister City Association helped to sponsor the Melbourne Trade Fair, held in Boston in October of 1989, marking the first such event held in connection with the Sister Cities Program.
Throughout the years, Boston has welcomed many official visitors from the city of Melbourne. Melbourne, like Boston, is a city of parks and gardens, ethnic neighborhoods, museums and universities.
Melbourne Website:

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Republic of China
Sister City ties established: 1996
Taipei is the political, economic and cultural capital of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Sister city relations were established with Boston on September 3, 1996 when a delegation led by Taipei City Council Speaker James Chen visited that city to sign an Agreement on the Sister-City Relationship. During the past six years, many exchanges have taken place such as a visit by Taipei Mayor Ying-jeou Ma, student exchanges, and a visit and performance by the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Delegation. Ongoing exchanges in the fields of business, culture and education will promote mutual understanding to the benefit of citizens in both cities.
Taipei Website:

Sister City ties established: 2001
Sekondi-Takoradi is Boston's 8th international sister city, Boston's first sister city in Africa, and the second of Mayor Menino's administration. A delegation of 12 city officials, led by Executive Mayor Philip Kwesi Nkrumah is in Boston for six days to kick-off this new relationship.
Sekondi-Takoradi population approximately 100,000, the capital of the Western Region of Ghana, on the Gulf of Fuinea, is an important seaport and commercial city, developed around Dutch and English forts built in the 17th century. Sekondi, the older and larger of the two, prospered after the construction (1903) of a railroad to the mineral and timber resources of the hinterland. A deepwater harbor was constructed at Takoradi in 1928. The two parts merged in 1946. Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana web site

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