In 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower started Sister Cities International as part of a White House conference on citizen diplomacy. The broad idea behind developing sister city relationships is to create a person-to-person exchange between Americans and citizens of other countries based on cultural, educational, information and trade exchanges. Americans can and should learn about and celebrate differences that we have with communities around the world, thus creating new friendships and hopefully playing a small role in making future world conflict less likely. This article will focus on Seattle sister cities.
Today, there are 21 Seattle sister cities, the first of which was started in 1957 with Kobe, Japan and the most recent started in 1999 with Sihahoukville, Cambodia. Seattle also broke new ground when they started a sister city relationship in 1973 with Tashkent, Uzbekistan, then a member of the former USSR. The relationship between the two cities is still active today.
For more information about Seattle sister cities, see the Seattle Sister Cities portal of the Seattle.gov website and the Facebook page.. For more information about the sister cities program on a national level, see the Sister Cities International official website.
Seattle sister cities
Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of Seattle’s 21 sister cities, when the sister city relationship was formed and external weblinks (if available). I have also included information about the advocacy for Isfahan, Iran, a proposed sister city relationship since 2015.
- Be’er Shiva, Israel. Established 1977. See the Seattle-Be’er Shiva Facebook page.
- Bergen, Norway. Established 1967. See the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association Facebook page.
- Cebu, Philippines. Established 1991.
- Chongqing, China. Established 1983. See Seattle Chongqing Sister Cities.
- Christchurch, New Zealand. Established 1981. See the Seattle Christchurch Sister City Association & New Zealanders of Seattle and Facebook page.
- Daejeon, South Korea. Established 1989. See the sister city summary on the Daejeon official website.
- Galway, Ireland. Established 1986. See the Seattle Galway Sister City Association.
- Gdynia, Poland. Established 1993. See the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association (SGSCA)
- and Facebook page.
- Haiphong, Vietnam. Established 1996. See the Greater Seattle Vietnam Association.
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Established 1991. See the Seattle Kaohsiung Sister City Association Facebook page.
- Kobe, Japan. Established 1957. See the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association and Facebook page.
- Limbe, Cameroon. Established 1984. See the Seattle-Limbe Sister City Association.
- Mazatlán, Mexico. Established 1979.
- Mombasa, Kenya. Established 1981.
- Nantes, France. Established 1980. See the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association and Facebook page.
- Pécs, Hungary. Established 1991. See the Seattle-Pecs Sister City Association.
- Perugia, Italy. Established 1993. See the Seattle-Perugia Sister City Association and Facebook page.
- Reykjavik, Iceland. Established 1986. See the Seattle-Reykjavik Sister City Association on Facebook.
- Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Established 1999. See the Seattle-Sihanoukville Sister City Association and Facebook page.
- Surabaya, Indonesia. Established 1992. See the Seattle-Surabaya Sister City Association Facebook page.
- Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Established 1973. See the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association and Facebook page.
*** Isfahan, Iran is not presently a Seattle sister city but has been proposed since 2015. For more information, see Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy (SISCA), and their Facebook page. The Seattle-Isfahan Sister City Advocacy was also promoted in an opinion-editorial submission to The Seattle Times entitled “How Seattle can help America and Iran build trust”.
(An earlier version of this article was first published at Examiner.com on Feb. 19, 2015).
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