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Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors Visit Japan

Fort Worth, TX –  Sister Cities provides unique opportunity for Fort Worth youth.

2014Harashin in NagaokaSince 1990, The Harashin Co. of Nagaoka, Japan has funded scholarships for eight Fort Worth students and two teachers to travel there for an educational and cultural enrichment exchange. In return, the families of these Fort Worth students host students and teachers from Nagaoka in their homes for a reciprocal exchange.

This program and all the scholarships have been funded by the Hara family and Harashin Co. Ltd. of Nagaoka. For nearly 26 years of this program, it is estimated that over $2 million has been generously donated.

Exchange programs are a key element in the overall programs of Fort Worth Sister Cities International and this unique opportunity for Fort Worth students is no exception. The students depart July 26 for a week long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 7 -15.

Exchanges with each of Fort Worth’s eight sister cities provide youth the opportunity to spend 9-15 days with an international host family and experience their history, culture and customs. This is done as citizen diplomats and gives students a better understanding of other cultures providing them an international education only these programs can offer.

All student applicants (grades 9-12) participate in a vigorous selection process including teacher recommendations, essays and personal interviews. The Harashin Scholars are required to attend monthly cultural orientations to further enrich their international experience and prepare them for the exchange.

Harashin scholars include: Rose Bailey, Bob Chao, Samuel DeRobertis, Zoe DeRobertis, Alyssa McClean, Nate Wallace, and Ameera Zaman, accompanied by Tara Forrest and Roselyne Tembiwa, delegation leaders.

Home hosting make these programs possible.  Become a home host to an international student for an amazing experience!

Fort Worth Sole USA Representative at Italian Sports Games

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities fielding youth sports teams.

Reggiio Emmilie 065In its ongoing efforts to promote Fort Worth globally and provide opportunities to enhance the understanding and awareness of different cultures on a global basis, Fort Worth Sister Cities International will be sending nearly 100 student athletes, coaches, and staff to the Giochi Tricolore Sports Games in Reggio Emilia, Italy August 24-31, 2015.

The games create a chance for young people to convey a positive impression of American youth to other people from around the world participating in the event.

Kids with USA hats smiling“By not only visiting a foreign country, but living with and competing against nearly 5,000 young athletes from around the world, our Sports Ambassadors will undoubtedly learn that they have much more in common with the other participants than what separates them,” Fort Worth Sister Cities Chairman Michael Bennett said. “These are the types of experiences that help these young people shape their understanding and acceptance of people from other cultures.”

TricoloreThe Youth Ambassadors and coaches representing Fort Worth will compete and live in an Olympic-style village with student athletes from other countries as well as represent Fort Worth and the U.S.A. through positive sportsmanship and goodwill.

photo“The programs sponsored by Sister Cities have such a broad appeal by offering international experiences you can’t get as casual tourists,” said Fort Worth Sister Cities Sports Games Chair Pam Lea. “The student athletes will remember this trip for the rest of their lives.”

The Sports Games are held every four years in Reggio Emilia, Italy with Fort Worth being the only city in the U.S. invited to participate. Teams participating are girls basketball, girls volleyball, girls and boys swimming, and two boys baseball teams.

Become a Youth Ambassador




City of Fort Worth Councilman Dennis Shingleton accepting the award. Thank you Councilman!


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fort Worth and Guiyang have won Sister Cities International’s 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Award in the “Youth” category. The U.S.-China Sister Cities Awards recognize the accomplishments of outstanding U.S.-China sister city programs and their contribution in building strong people-to-people ties between the two countries.  Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton accepted the award on March 27th at the U.S./China Summit in Washington, D.C.

To read about the youth exchanges between Fort Worth and Guiyang, click here

and the award is shown here:  Fort Worth and Guiyang 2014 Youth Award


Fort Worth’s diverse youth programs with Guiyang create sustainable and meaningful friendships. Since 2011 Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors have visited Guiyang each year. While in Guiyang students visited schools and were immersed in global volunteerism focused on various community service projects.  Fort Worth has also accepted two Chinese interns since 2011 to help manage international projects, marketing, business and international relations. A joint U.S. and Chinese judging panel selected Fort Worth and Guiyang as the winners from a competitive pool of U.S.-China sister city program applicants.

The U.S.-China Sister Cities Awards are awarded in several categories including Best Overall, Longest Relationship, Community Involvement, Youth, Arts & Culture, Economic Development, Most Innovative, and Outstanding Individuals. Award winners will be honored at a special Awards Ceremony on March 27 during the 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference, in Washington, D.C.

The Conference, jointly hosted by Sister Cities International and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, brought together hundreds of business leaders, government officials, and citizen diplomats from the U.S. and China. The Honorary Host Committee for this Conference included General Colin L. Powell, as well as several Governors, Members of Congress, and Mayors from around the country. Conference sessions provided exciting opportunities for U.S. and Chinese cities to learn about strengthening exchanges and business engagement through informative sessions from industry leaders. For more information on the 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference, please visit:


Youth programs provide opportunities for students to develop relationships with students from other countries and gain essential skills to be successful in a global society.  “We had over 100 students apply this year.  It is a very competitive process and we have selected an outstanding class to represent Fort Worth and the U.S. next year,” said Eva Bonilla, Chair of the Programs and Exchanges committee of Fort Worth Sister Cities.

The 2014 exchanges are scheduled for March and June/July 2014 to Italy, Hungary, Japan, Swaziland, South Africa and China. Visit our happenings page to find out what’s happening locally and abroad!



Zaji Girl Magazine Features Sister Cities Delegation to Swaziland

Sharing stories is one of the best parts of the Fort Worth Sister Cities experience.  Denise, a young writer for Zaji Magazine, recently shared her favorite memories with us including a link to the article she wrote about her trip to Swaziland.

“I just wanted to get back with you and tell you how much I enjoyed my trip to Swaziland in June.  Staussa was a wonderful delegation leader and the kids were fantastic!

One of the projects that has been born out of my trip came from a wonderful experience I had with Staussa’s host mom, Ms. Ellen Matsenjwa. She took us to a recycling center to a women’s cooperative where the women are making jewelry out of recycled magazines and newspapers. I bought a couple of items and have had so many compliments on the jewelry. One of the needs, Ms. Matsenjwa pointed out was that especially in the Nkwalini community where the health center was built that clean water was still a major need.   Amateur photo-journalists visiting Mbabane, Swaziland

I discovered this Swedish company that makes solar-powered water purification units and thought that would be a wonderful fundraising goal for Nkwalini. To raise money to buy these solar-powered water purification units and by selling the jewelry being made from Swaziland. I promised I’d check out some hotels and boutiques for the women’s cooperative that might be interested in their jewelry and have had a couple of strong candidates.

It definitely gave me a chance to assess the country and the projects that I want to pursue personally and for my magazine.

I wanted to share the links with you for the magazine Summer/Fall 2013 issue which features HRH Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini of Swaziland and also the photo story I did featuring the Fort Worth Sister Cities Mbabane delegation. Please feel free to share it with everyone.




A couple of the kids wanted me to feature their photographs in the magazine. I didn’t get opportunity to do that with this issue, but I was thinking we could put together a mini mag with their experiences and give them a chance to share their Swaziland adventure and continue with a global community service project back at home.

I really enjoyed my time in Swaziland and will definitely head back soon.

Thanks again.

 ~ Denise”

We’d love to hear your stories too!  Contact us or tag us in your facebook pics.