This past week, the Fort Worth chapter of Sister Cities International visited me on Capitol Hill. While in Washington this week, the Board of Directors and Mary Palko, the organization’s Director Emerita and Mission Chair, attended briefings at the U.S. State Department and the Embassies of China, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Hungary, and France.
Sister Cities International began in 1956 when President Eisenhower envisioned a way for U.S. cities to create partnerships with foreign cities. The president’s concept was that cities should exchange information and ideas in order to develop friendships and deepen cultural understanding.
This vision sparked the creation of Sister Cities International, which today includes more than 500 U.S. cities. In fact, the organization now has relationships in 145 countries, with a total of some 2,000 cities participating.
Fort Worth became a member of the Sister Cities International network in 1985, and since then has been named the best program for its size eight times.
I believe that building alliances with foreign cities through citizen exchanges such as Sister Cities is smart public diplomacy, and helps build a more peaceful world.
As a former mayor, I’ve valued their work for many years – and was honored by Fort Worth Sister Cities International with the Diplomatic Leadership Award last year.
It has been my pleasure to support Sister Cities’ goals in Washington as the former chairwoman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. Even though I am now the chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I appreciate the important role that groups such as Sister Cities play in building bridges with other countries.
I was proud to welcome the delegation from Fort Worth Sister Cities International to Washington, D.C. this week, and I look forward to continuing to support their critical work.
Member of Congress