Thank you 2020 Members Circle of Giving

2020 has certainly been a year to remember and, for all of us at Fort Worth Sister Cities, we are grateful for the donors to the Members Circle of Giving who gave generously to help us weather a difficult time. We not only survived but thrived adapting to a new reality.

While travel and in-person gatherings are restricted, we have focused a great deal of our time creating virtual programming. Just this summer we created a curriculum designed to engage students virtually teaching them our core concepts of cultural competency and civic participation. A student who graduated from this seven-week course said, “It was a truly eye-opening and magical experience helping me understand others different from me”.

The pandemic has caused us to rethink how we do things and we have met that challenge providing programs for youth and adults alike. With your help we will continue to provide these services to the people of Fort Worth for another 35 years.

Thank you for your commitment to helping us continue to focus on teaching respect and understanding of other cultures.

Click here to see the full list.

Recognition of Sister Cities Leadership

In just a few days, we hope you will join us at our first virtual 2020 Annual Meeting: 35 Years of Excellence, where you will be introduced to the 2020/21 leadership – but, before that happens, we want to recognize the outstanding work of our current Board of Directors and thank Chairwoman Veronica Chavez Law.

Veronica has led the Board of Directors for two years and before that, chaired the Reggio Emilia, Italy committee. During her time as Chairwoman, Fort Worth Sister Cities has won two national awards: Best Overall Program in the Nation and Innovation in Business and Trade. Also under her leadership we saw an increase in our family of partner cities by adding Nimes, France, conducted our first Open World program with Kazakhstan and pivoted to virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. We are fortunate to have had her at the helm along with a dedicated Board of Directors.

On Sept. 9, the day before our Annual Meeting, the new Board of Directors will be elected. Click here for a full list. Becky Renfro Borbolla will assume the role of Chairman of the Board. She and her team of 48 board members are ready to position Sister Cities for another 35 years of excellence. This board, along with our members, volunteers and staff, believe we can make a difference in our world and are ready to make that happen.

Sister Cities Youth Board Elected for 2020-2021 School Year

Last weekend, the Fort Worth Youth International youth board met to elect new officers for the 2020-2021 school year. Stay tuned to hear about their new and innovative plans to engage the Fort Worth youth community as we restructure the way we connect with other during these times.

We also thanked and celebrated the outgoing board for their accomplishments during the 2019-2020 school year. Led by President Solana Adedokun, the youth board participated in two impactful service projects and educated their peers about our sister city relationships. They also helped us raise nearly $90,000 volunteering for our Sundance Santa fundraiser.

Congratulations to the new board!

President: Will Lourcey, R.L. Paschal High School

Vice President, Erin Fishman, Fort Worth Country Day School

Secretary, Reshma Niraula, Fort Worth Country Day School

Public Relations Officer: Nyasha Muwalo, Chisholm Trail High School

Community Outreach Officer: Bela Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School

Fundraising Officer: Elizabeth Duque, Chisholm Trail High School

Fundraising Deputy: Rob Lourcey, R.L. Paschal High School

Cultural Orientations Officer, Rowen Kleithermes, Trinity Valley School


Karen Ayala, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

Jameson Bauer, Westlake Academy

Jude Butler, Westlake Academy

Katherine Gallardo, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

Valdemar Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School

Nicole Helms, Westlake Academy

Garin Kelly, I.M. Terrell Academy

Girah Lundy-Joseph, McArthur High School

Noah Reyes, North Crowley High School

Fort Worth Has Best Sister Cities Program in Nation

Fort Worth, Texas – 10th time to be recognized with award

At the 2020 Sister Cities International annual conference attended by over 1,200 people from around the world, Fort Worth was recognized as having the “Best Sister Cities Program in the Nation” for the 10th time in its 35-year history.

Will Lourcey who is a member of our youth board Fort Worth Youth International graciously accepted the award on our behalf. Furthermore, Will was recognized with the Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to our community

“We recognize the significance of the international relations established for our city and its citizens through Fort Worth Sister Cities International and are proud to once again accept this award. We have an amazing network of members and volunteers that work tirelessly to bring impactful programs to Fort Worth for students, adults and businesses,” said Veronica Chavez Law, Chairwoman.

Established 35 years ago, Fort Worth Sister Cities has brought international attention to Fort Worth through its nine sister city relationships in China, Eswatini, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico in an effort to create respect of and better understanding between cultures.

With a major focus on youth programming, Sister Cities serves a diverse group of students creating culturally competent youth who are prepared for the challenges of a global community. These programs help decrease violence, racism and stereotypes in Fort Worth and abroad. They focus on international understanding and leadership training which can change the trajectory of a student’s life.

Sister Cities June Update

While in-person relationship building and international travel are curtailed right now, the exchanges and outreach of Fort Worth Sister Cities are still just as vibrant as ever due to the commitment and dedication of our many partners, members and volunteers. They understand this work is important – now more than ever before.

Our youth have been conducting virtual meetings with students in Budapest, Hungry; Nîmes, France; Reggio Emilia, Italy; and Trier, Germany this spring and have shown that we can still create relationships – only in a different way. Students from these cities have been able to connect with Fort Worth youth exchanging information about what life is like in their communities during this quarantine era. Their voices were enthusiastic and attitudes eager to continue virtual connections, despite zoom fatigue they experienced from their online classwork.

Even our Fort Worth Youth International local group are meeting virtually and have created a community service project that they could participate in from their own living rooms. They are making cards with original artwork and messages of inspiration for families who are part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County.

The premier high school International Leadership Academy and Jr. Academy are also going virtual with students organizing weekly games like charades, scavenger hunts, and leadership building activities throughout the summer with students from Fort Worth’s nine sister cities. And, we’ve created adult virtual dinners and entertainment with some of our sister cities to provide cultural insights.

Fort Worth and its nine sister cities are also helping each other on how to best reopen our communities and energize our economies. Recently we coordinated a virtual economic relations meeting with officials in Toluca, Mexico with participation from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, City of Fort Worth Economic Development Department, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce arranged by Councilman Carlos Flores. We can always learn from each other and these longtime partnerships are proving to be valuable during this time.

It is a different time for us for sure, but we are determined to press on and continue to connect globally. We may not be experiencing the usual exciting greetings and departures at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport but we are traveling through the skies in a different way – via Zoom. We’ll pick right back up in 2021 to renew and create even more connections here in Fort Worth and around the world.

Fort Worth Sister Cities Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Fort Worth Sister Cities International was established on June 26, 1985, 35 years ago, after a group of dedicated volunteers with a goal to create a nonprofit, citizen diplomacy organization, focused on understanding and respect of other cultures, came to life in the City of Fort Worth.

As stated in this year’s annual report by Veronica Chavez Law, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, “Sister Cities has played a major role in Fort Worth and around the world creating culturally competent individuals who accept and respect others.” Today our mission is more important than ever to help close the divide we are experiencing right now here in our own communities.

Understanding and respect of others is needed universally and as we celebrate our 35th anniversary let us live by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

While we can’t meet in person to celebrate, we hope you have been celebrating virtually with us on Facebook through our 35 Things in 35 Days campaign. You can found out more here.

Fort Worth Sister Cities Update

We’ve all been adjusting and learning new ways to communicate and engage during this abnormal time of social distancing and Fort Worth Sister Cities has been experimenting with virtual exchanges through video conferencing. We are continuing to engage the local community in our work, as well as reach out to other parts of the world. In fact, in June we’ll be conducting virtual professional development training for urban planners in the Republic of Georgia. 

Since so many of our international exchanges occur with students, we focused a lot of our energy on them this last month. Our Youth Ambassadors, delegation leaders and associate delegation leaders experienced disappointment over the cancellation or postponement of their spring and summer exchanges to several of Fort Worth’s sister cities. Outbound exchanges to France, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Japan and China will be moved to 2021. Excited students ready to travel and embark upon new adventures and to make new friends had to accept the sad news that 2020 was not the year they would have that international experience. 

So, how were we going to be sure our youth programs move forward? Thankfully, our students have had plenty of experience with virtual classrooms and were comfortable with meeting new friends in our sister cities virtually. In the month of April, virtual exchanges with friends in Trier, Germany; Toluca, Mexico; Nimes, France; and Budapest, Hungary all took place. Fort Worth students and their new international friends were able to connect face to face, exchange cultures and information with one another, and just hang out like teenagers do. One of our students who was to travel to Budapest in March shared her experience and you can hear about it below.

Congratulations Class of 2020!

We want to give a special shout out and recognize all our youth participants who are graduating this year. We know it must be an incredibly difficult time with classes transitioning to an online format and exciting end of year events canceled. Fort Worth Sister Cities wants all our students to know that we are incredibly proud of them and can’t wait to see how they apply their international education to their future endeavors.

Class of 2020

  • Solana Adedokun, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Daisy Aguilar, Northside High School
  • Carlos Armendariz, Crowley Collegiate Academy
  • Gabriela Barrientos, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School
  • DJ Carter, Arlington Heights High School
  • Erik Cura, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Alicia Flores, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Lilian Hicks, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Imani Kayembe, Richland High School
  • Katie Kopf, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Benjamin Orr, Tarrant County College
  • Felicia Pang, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Katey Parham, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Saleem Razack, Trinity Valley School
  • Melany Rodriguez, World Languages Institute
  • Umaya Suliman, Paschal High School
  • Mercedes Swinney, The Oakridge School
  • Carlos Turcios, World Languages Institute
  • Bayan Williams, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

COVID-19 Update

When the coronavirus outbreak in China became big news in the U.S., way back in January, Fort Worth Sister Cities International knew cultural competency education and training for students and adults alike was going to change for us. No way could we fathom how much it would change.

Since that time, this evolving pandemic has resulted in restrictions on travel, and quarantines, and the idea of social distancing has been introduced. Public health experts emphasize that we must all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 to protect our world. All of it.

For these reasons, it was clear that some spring travel programs, as well as local events should be canceled. From the beginning, we wanted to ensure the safety of our Youth Ambassadors and their leaders, as well as protect our global community.

Fort Worth has formal relationships with sister cities in nine countries, many of which have been hit hard. At this time, building connections and creating international relationships is more important than ever and let’s not lose sight of how people who are falsely associated with the disease’s origin are being cruelly teased. We are better than that. Over the coming days and weeks, we will look for creative ways to stay connected, help where we can and strengthen efforts to eliminate this pandemic.

The organization has served Fort Worth for 35 years creating connections that benefit us all and we have been extremely successful having won numerous national and international awards. Fort Worth has the best program in the country and we will continue to do great things for our citizens here at home and our friends abroad.

Many of you have relationships around the world from participation in our programs and exchanges. Take this time to reach out to them. See how they are doing. Start a video chat. Tell them how you are adapting to working at home, or keeping kids entertained. You may pick up some great ideas from our friends around the world like the always creative Italians who sing from their balconies or conduct fitness classes from rooftops. We’re all in this together, so use your time to connect with others.

The staff of FWSCI is working remotely through the end of March and can be reached through our contact information below. If you have ideas you would like to share on creative programs or questions about any canceled or future programs, please do not hesitate to contact one of us. We hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy and thank you for your continued support.

International Connections Thrive in Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas – Fort Worth Sister Cities International Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

Now 35 years old, Fort Worth Sister Cities International has brought international attention to Fort Worth with its nine sister cities in China, Eswatini, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico.

Last month, they launched the public campaign of the Members Circle of Giving by announcing Charlie Powell, President of Ciera Bank, as the 2020 Campaign Chair.

The Members Circle of Giving is a thriving network of individuals, organizations, corporations and community leaders committed to expanding global relationships for peace and prosperity at home and abroad. Lead donors to this year’s campaign will be recognized at the Mayor’s International Dinner & Global Awards on Nov. 12.

“Due to the generosity of corporate and individual donors, $196,000 has already been pledged and Sister Cities is well on its way to meeting its $325,000 goal,” said Charlie Powell, 2020 Campaign Chair.

This early support comes from Visit Fort Worth, as a Platinum member; Texas Health Resources and Rae & Mike Hyatt as Premier members; and BNSF Railway, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP as Global members. Presidential members include Bank of Texas, Ciera Bank, Cook Children’s Healthcare System, Greg Jackson Law, Hillwood, Hilde & Helmut Horchler and Mary Palko.

100% of the Sister Cities’ board of directors are members and invite the community to join them in making Fort Worth a more culturally diverse city.

“Our business is people-to-people relationships, youth and adults alike. We do it well and want to do even more to benefit Fort Worth,” said Veronica Chavez Law, Board Chairwoman.

Funding and in-kind support from the City of Fort Worth (4% of Sister Cities’ budget) plays a key role in its mission, but most work is made possible through public support like that received through the Members Circle of Giving.

To support Fort Worth Sister Cities and join the 2020 Members Circle, contact Katie Wharry at 817-632-7101 or