US/Russian Relations From An Insider’s Perspective

Fort Worth, TX – Timely topic for Sister Cities forum

Join Fort Worth Sister Cities International to hear about Russia Today from an Insider’s Perspective, October 11, noon at Texas Christian University’s Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at

The event will include an analysis of US and Russia relations by Sharon Tennison, President and Founder of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI).

CCI’s mission is to conduct a series of Citizen-to-Citizen initiatives and exchanges, buttressed by official media PR and social media networks across America and across Russia. They wish to bring the two peoples together, including those in leadership to listen and learn and hammer out ways to cooperate rather than plot war against the other.

“After hearing Tennison speak on this subject earlier this year, we decided to host her in Fort Worth to hear about what it’s really like on the ground in Russia today and how we can help with more peaceful relations,” said Mae Ferguson, President/CEO of Fort Worth Sister Cities.

Tennison has written a book on the subject, entitled The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens’ Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises and travels back and forth frequently between the two countries.

A small group of Fort Worth participants may travel to Russia in the Spring 2018.

For more information about joining the mission to Russia and to make your reservation for the luncheon, please contact Danielle at 817/632-7106 or

Japanese Mayor Leading Delegation to Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas – Celebrating 30 years of partnership

Fort Worth Sister Cities International will welcome a delegation of people from Nagaoka, Japan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sister Cities partnership between Fort Worth and Nagaoka on October 27, 2017.

Led by the Mayor of Nagaoka, Tatsunobu Isoda, the delegation plans to visit with Fort Worth City Council members and Mayor Betsy Price, tour Sundance Square and the Cultural District, attend the Japanese Fall Festival in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and participate in an educators panel discussion at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

On October 28, a 30th anniversary celebration dinner will be held in Mayor Isoda’s honor at Billy Bob’s Texas. Tickets to the celebration include dinner and a ticket to the Trace Adkins concert that evening. To buy tickets go to:

“We are excited to welcome our guests and show them what Fort Worth has to offer, as well as to celebrate thirty years of friendship which is something to be valued and is more important today than ever before,” said Jane Bass, Chair of the Nagaoka 30th Anniversary committee.

A delegation from Fort Worth plans to visit Nagaoka in 2018 to continue the 30th anniversary celebrations.

For more information or to make your reservation, please contact Danielle at 817-632-7106 or

Fort Worth Elects Global Leaders

Fort Worth, TX – Sundance Square’s Johnny Campbell Leads Sister Cities

Newly elected officers at Fort Worth Sister Cities International’s 32nd Annual Meeting, are Secretary, Casey Dyer Oliver, Texas A&M University; Treasurer, Frank Tilley, SeatonHill; Development Chair, Julie Johncox, JP Solutions; Government Relations Chair, Michael Crain, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty; and Exchanges & Outreach Chair, Dr. Sheryl Harris, Tarrant County College.

New board members include: PJ Budler, the Cattle Market; Mark Davidovich, JP Morgan; Vishal Gandhi, Hillwood; Ratna Goenardi, Sugar Biscuit Cakery; Andrew Johnsen, BNSF Railway Company; Cindy Milrany, Freese & Nichols; Andy Roseliep, Bank of America; Andy Taft, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.; and Libby Watson.

The Bob Bolen Award for Outstanding Board Leadership was awarded to Greg Irwin.  The Fort Worth Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and Women’s Policy Forum were awarded the Eisenhower Award for Organizational Involvement and Sherri Whiting was awarded the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award.

Tim Quigley, Chairman of the national office of Sister Cities International in Washington, D.C., spoke to the Members Circle about the importance of sister city relationships and the close connection with Department of State priorities. “When public policy fails, citizen diplomacy is our connective tissue,” Quigley told the crowd.

Board members returning for a 2nd term include: Veronica Chavez Law, Michael Parker, and Lu Pham. City chairs include: Ratna Goenardi, Bandung; Greg Jackson, Budapest; Nommo Donald, Mbabane; Libby Watson, Nagaoka; Tom Law, Jr., Reggio Emilia; Anette Soto, Toluca; and Hannah Behrens, Trier. 

Fort Worth Sister Cities celebrated raising $300,000 for its annual Members Circle campaign with the help of Campaign Chair, Bob Jameson, and is setting a launch for the 2018 campaign for January 2, 2018. 

The Members Circle is a thriving network of individuals, organizations, corporations, and community leaders committed to expanding global relationships for peace and prosperity at home and abroad. For information on joining the Members Circle, contact Danielle at 817-632-7106 or

German Mayor Leading Delegation of 53 to Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas – Celebrating 30 years of partnership

Fort Worth Sister Cities International will welcome a delegation of 53 people from Trier, Germany to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sister Cities partnership between Fort Worth and Trier on September 30, 2017.

Led by the Mayor of Trier, Wolfram Leibe, the delegation plans to visit with Fort Worth City Council members and City Manager David Cooke, tour Sundance Square, and take part in a Reaffirmation Ceremony with Mayor Price. At mid-day on October 2, the famous Stadtgarde Augusta Trevororum, the official marching band of Trier, will perform in Sundance Square. This group travels on all official visits with the mayor and it is an honor to have them perform in Fort Worth.

This exchange comes after a delegation from Fort Worth visited Trier in 2016 to leverage Fort Worth’s long-standing friendship with Trier and capitalize on the opportunity to grow a new platform in the business sphere of influence.

“Our visit to Trier was just the beginning of continued growth.  The business counterpart meetings created value and experience to think and grow small business internationally,” said Johnny Campbell, Chairman of the Board of Fort Worth Sister Cities. “We are excited to welcome our guests and show them what Fort Worth has to offer, as well as to celebrate thirty years of friendship which is something to be valued and is more important today than ever before.”

Click here for more information about the visit and how you can participate

Rotary Leads Humanitarian Mission to Mbabane

Fort Worth, TX First Partnership with Rotary Club for 2017 Swaziland Mission

Fort Worth Sister Cities International, in partnership with the International Service Committee of the Rotary Club, is planning a mission to Mbabane, Swaziland. An adult delegation of 25 will travel to Fort Worth’s seventh sister city from Sept. 1 – 10, 2017. Participants will deliver 265 wheelchairs and 5 bicycles directly to those in need and teach the recipients how to maintain the chairs to provide income for them and sustain the project.

Additionally, Fort Worth Sister Cities is partnering with Dream Outside the Box founder Kam Phillips to provide “Dream Delivered” boxes to the Swazi children. These boxes, brimming with fun and educational activities and pamphlets, are designed to introduce children to diverse careers, such as forensic science, journalism, and archaeology.

“Our Swaziland trip is taking the Rotary Wheelchair program to the next level. We are not only distributing donated wheelchairs to those in need, we are establishing a wheelchair and bicycle repair shop business that Mbabane citizens will operate long after we are gone,” said David Campbell, Rotary President. “The training and equipment we will provide makes this project more sustainable, creating a legacy of trade skills that will ensure the repair of wheelchairs and bicycles we bring and provide jobs for years to come.”

Some participants are also staying an additional two nights at the Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge to experience a South African safari. With lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos, the group will see the “Big Five” up close and personal.

For more information about future Sister Cities exchanges, call Danielle at 817/632-7100 for more information.

Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors Visit Japan & Prepare for Reciprocal Exchange

FORT WORTH, TX Sister Cities provides unique opportunity for Fort Worth youth

Since 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 experience. In return, the families of these Fort Worth students host students and teachers from Nagaoka in their homes.

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

Fort Worth Harashin scholars include: Henry Chao, Charlie Estes, Valeria Gutierrez, Zoe Nichols-Payne, Jamil Okada, Matthew Ontiveros, Janrose Samson, Shay Smith, and delegation leaders Liliana Hinojosa and Mikako Daniel.

“Exchange programs are a key element in the overall programs of Fort Worth Sister Cities and this unique opportunity for students is no exception,” said Johnny Campbell, Chairman of Fort Worth Sister Cities International. The students depart July 26 for a week-long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 8-16.

On August 14, Fort Worth and Nagaoka Harashin scholars will visit Globe Life Park for Japan America Friendship Night with the Texas Rangers. The students and delegation leaders will have the opportunity to take part in a pre-game flag ceremony on the field.

All student applicants (9th-11th grades) 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.

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. These students become citizen diplomats through this program.  It gives them a better understanding of other cultures providing them an international education only these programs can offer.

International Students Attend Leadership Academies

Fort Worth, TX: The Art of Diplomacy, Theme of Academies

High school students from around the world will descend on Fort Worth starting July 10.  Students from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Swaziland, along with Fort Worth students, will be in Fort Worth for the 28th International Leadership Academy. The Academy’s goal is to increase communication and leadership skills through team-building and problem-solving using the art of diplomacy.

Since 1989, the International Leadership Academy (ILA) has brought young people from Fort Worth’s 8 sister cities to the area to discuss pressing global issues. This year, nearly 75 participants will converge at Texas Christian University (TCU) July 15 – 30 to share their cultures and learn about citizen diplomacy and its importance in today’s world.

Participants will live on the TCU campus and share a room with students from another country. They will attend classes that are designed to challenge stereotypes, highlight cultures, promote diplomatic dialogue, develop leadership skills, and solve global problems. Activities will also include visits to area businesses, museums, and other cultural venues specific to Fort Worth, as well as a community service project.

This year marks the 13th year of ILA’s middle school program, the Jr. International Leadership Academy (JILA), held July 10—14. College students from Toluca, Mexico and Mbabane, Swaziland will serve as facilitators for Fort Worth students who will discuss the same issues as their high school counterparts, gaining international perspectives.

“The students will be challenged to improve and refine their leadership skills and learn how diverse cultures can support common goals. It’s a tremendous opportunity for personal growth,” said Nancy Marchant, ILA and JILA Coordinator.

The closing ceremony for ILA takes place July 29, 10:00 a.m. at TCU’s BLUU Ballroom and is free and open to the public. For more info call 817/632-7100.

Mayor’s International Dinner Big Success 2017

Fort Worth, Texas – Sister Cities Recognizes Global Award Recipients 

Mayor Betsy Price and Dinner Chairs, Becky & Henry Borbolla, lead the crowd of nearly 400 through an evening of international cuisine and entertainment as Sister Cities recognized and honored individuals, businesses, and organizations that have made significant contributions to citizen diplomacy, global understanding, world political stability, and international commerce.

Awards were presented to: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company – THE GLOBAL NEXUS AWARD Catholic Charities of Fort Worth –  THE GLOBAL CITIZENS AWARD Bob Jameson – GLOBAL IMPACT AWARD

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company received the Global Nexus Award as good representatives of Fort Worth to the world, creating commerce and a healthier community for all.

Catholic Charities of Fort Worth was given the Global Citizens Award for their strong representation of Fort Worth by creating a positive view of the U.S. through educational and humanitarian initiatives.

Bob Jameson received the Global Impact Award for his long-time service to the Fort Worth community and development of international partnerships through global business, culture, and tourism.

The event was made possible by the Fort Worth Sister Cities 2017 Members Circle, a network of individuals, organizations, corporations and community leaders committed to expanding global relationships for peace and prosperity at home and abroad.  Funding and in-kind support from the City of Fort Worth plays a key role in its mission, but most work is made possible through public support through the Members Circle.

The dinner was held June 1 to celebrate 32 years of service by Sister Cities to the City of Fort Worth.  Entertainment was provided by the Taiko Drummers, Mariachi Real de Alvarez, Andrea Tullis from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, KJRI Dancers from the Consul General of Indonesia’s office, Swahili Carmel Choir from Christ Chapel Bible Church, and representatives from each of Fort Worth’s eight sister cities.

Sister Cities Partnering With FWISD For 4th Spanish Immersion Camp

Fort Worth, Texas — Local elementary students receiving Spanish enrichment training

Fort Worth Sister Cities International will welcome 10 university students and 2 educators from Toluca, Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey university this week for the 4th Spanish Immersion and Enrichment Camp for elementary students in partnership with the FWISD. The Toluca students will act as international facilitators for the two-week camp ending June 23.

“The FWISD is thrilled to partner with Sister Cities in this way providing our students an opportunity to study Spanish from native speakers. Last year’s camp proved to be very successful with over 125 elementary students participating,” said Elda Rojas Director of the World Language Department for the FWISD.

All Toluca facilitators and educators are being home hosted by local families in order to give these visitors a glimpse into American life and to give the hosting families exposure to Spanish from native speakers as well.

While here the group will also explore local cultural attractions and experience true Texas hospitality. Visits include the Stockyards, AT&T Stadium, the Kimbell Art Museum, Concert in the Gardens, Sundance Square Plaza and more.

Toluca, Mexico is Fort Worth’s closest sister city. Signed in 1998, this partnership has resulted in many exciting programs such as: middle and high school-to-school partnerships including a Model UN program; municipal and economic forums; monarch butterfly tourism exchanges; culture, language, and mentoring programs; a medical school intern program; a City of Fort Worth Police Department training program; and a symposium on women’s issues.


Sister Cities Youth Group Partners with Catholic Charities

Fort Worth, TX – Partnering on an Easter Egg Hunt for refugee families 

This week, the Fort Worth Sister Cities International Youth Group is partnering with Catholic Charities for their annual community service project.

The students will work on the Catholic Charities Need YPO Annual Event, Spring Fling.

Need YPO, the young professionals arm of Catholic Charities, is hosting an Easter egg hunt for refugee clients and their families.

“This event gives volunteers a chance to meet and play with some of the refugee families Catholic Charities has helped resettle,” said Jennifer DeHaro, service chair for Need YPO. “It shows support for our refugee populations in Fort Worth and gives a unique multicultural experience to those native to this city.”

Sister Cities youth will provide and manage carnival games, including several international varieties, at the event. The students also raised money to purchase emergency preparedness supplies to distribute such as flashlights, first aid kits, and batteries for the refugee families.

“We hope to make an impact on these refugee families because they have been through so much and deserve to relax and have a good time,” Fort Worth Youth International community outreach officer, Nate Wallace said. “The Youth Board is looking forward to this project and is ready to throw the best Easter egg hunt around for these amazing and inspiring families.”

Students ranging from 6th to 12th grade make up Fort Worth Youth International, the youth group of Fort Worth Sister Cities.

“Participating in the youth group has been one of the highlights of high school because it is incredibly meaningful,” Alexandra Galloway said. “Being in the Youth Group has given me eye-opening opportunities to give back to the Fort Worth community in ways I had never considered before such as working with refugees.”

The Easter Egg hunt will be at the La Dera Palms Apartments on April 20 at 5:30 p.m.