Fort Worth Wins Sister Cities International’s 2020 Innovation in Arts & Culture Award

Fort Worth, Texas has won the Sister Cities International 2020 Innovation in Arts & Culture Award for a city with a population greater than 300,000 for the production of the 35 Things in 35 Days social media campaign. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International was established on June 26, 1985, making the year of 2020 the organization’s 35th anniversary. Because meeting in person was not an option, 35 Things in 35 Days was born with the goal of educating the community about the cultures of Fort Worth’s sister cities and celebrate the organization’s 35th anniversary through fun and informative videos. Starting 35 days prior to June 26, 2020, a new video was debuted each day live on Facebook featuring one of Fort Worth’s sister cities.

This project was a unique way to connect with supporters not just in Fort Worth, but all over the world. Volunteers and colleagues in Fort Worth and all nine of Fort Worth’s sister cities participated. Participants were able to stay involved by contributing their time and talents to the organization from home. They were energized when invited to participate and developed creative ways to engage with others from cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment, tai chi classes, asparagus picking in France and more.

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; and youth and education. All award winners were honored during Sister Cities International’s 2021 Annual Conference held virtually July 15-16.

Click here to watch the presentation of Fort Worth’s award by Sister Cities International President and CEO Leroy Allala.

Click here to watch the videos from 35 Things in 35 Days.

2021-07-27 05:11

Fort Worth Wins Sister Cities International’s 2020 Innovation in Arts & Culture Award

Fort Worth, Texas has won the Sister Cities International 2020 Innovation in Arts & Culture Award for a city with a population greater than 300,000 for the production of the 35 Things in 35 Days social media campaign. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International was established on June 26, 1985, making the year of 2020 the organization’s 35th anniversary. Because meeting in person was not an option, 35 Things in 35 Days was born with the goal of educating the community about the cultures of Fort Worth’s sister cities and celebrate the organization’s 35th anniversary through fun and informative videos. Starting 35 days prior to June 26, 2020, a new video was debuted each day live on Facebook featuring one of Fort Worth’s sister cities.

This project was a unique way to connect with supporters not just in Fort Worth, but all over the world. Volunteers and colleagues in Fort Worth and all nine of Fort Worth’s sister cities participated. Participants were able to stay involved by contributing their time and talents to the organization from home. They were energized when invited to participate and developed creative ways to engage with others from cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment, tai chi classes, asparagus picking in France and more.

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; and youth and education. All award winners were honored during Sister Cities International’s 2021 Annual Conference held virtually July 15-16.

Click here to watch the presentation of Fort Worth’s award by Sister Cities International President and CEO Leroy Allala.

Click here to watch the videos from 35 Things in 35 Days.

Leadership Academy Maintains Momentum Through Virtual Format

Since 1989, the International Leadership Academy has brought young people from Fort Worth’s nine sister cities to the area to discuss pressing global issues. This year, Fort Worth Sister Cities is once again taking the Academy virtual as we celebrate this dynamic summer leadership program’s 32nd anniversary.

Students from Fort Worth and Southlake were selected to participate in the Virtual International Leadership Academy with other students from Eswatini, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico. This year’s theme, “Global Connections for Inner Peace” will encourage students to explore aspects of mental wellness and how other cultures interpret, manage, and integrate it into their overall health. They will also examine the importance of human connection, especially as it relates to the pandemic.

By attending this program, students will gain essential leadership and communication skills through cross-cultural activities such as art, music, and language studies. Participants will attend classes that are designed to challenge stereotypes, highlight cultures, promote diplomatic dialogue, develop leadership skills, and solve global problems. Activities will be virtual, using Zoom and Facebook, with both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

“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, Leadership Academy Coordinator.

The students begin meeting on July 10 and will conclude the program on July 31.

2021-06-29 10:44

Leadership Academy Maintains Momentum Through Virtual Format

Since 1989, the International Leadership Academy has brought young people from Fort Worth’s nine sister cities to the area to discuss pressing global issues. This year, Fort Worth Sister Cities is once again taking the Academy virtual as we celebrate this dynamic summer leadership program’s 32nd anniversary.

Students from Fort Worth and Southlake were selected to participate in the Virtual International Leadership Academy with other students from Eswatini, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico. This year’s theme, “Global Connections for Inner Peace” will encourage students to explore aspects of mental wellness and how other cultures interpret, manage, and integrate it into their overall health. They will also examine the importance of human connection, especially as it relates to the pandemic.

By attending this program, students will gain essential leadership and communication skills through cross-cultural activities such as art, music, and language studies. Participants will attend classes that are designed to challenge stereotypes, highlight cultures, promote diplomatic dialogue, develop leadership skills, and solve global problems. Activities will be virtual, using Zoom and Facebook, with both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

“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, Leadership Academy Coordinator.

The students begin meeting on July 10 and will conclude the program on July 31.

Sister Cities Youth Board Elected for 2021-22 School Year

On April 25, the Fort Worth Youth International youth board met to elect new officers for the 2021-2022 school year. Stay tuned to hear about their new and innovative plans to engage the Fort Worth youth community.

We also thanked and celebrated the outgoing board for their accomplishments during the 2020-2021 school year. Led by President Will Lourcey, the youth board held a dialogue on the evolution of language, volunteered at the Reggio Emilia, Italy 35th anniversary celebration at Coyote Drive-In, learned about holidays all around the world, and hosted an alumni panel.

Thank you to our outgoing board and congratulations to the new board!

Officers

  • President – Reshma Niraula, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Vice President – Rob Lourcey, Paschal High School
  • Secretary – Katherine Gallardo, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Public Relations – Seth Mayhue, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Community Outreach – Leah Peterson, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA
  • Fundraising – Caroline Nartz, Timber Creek High School
  • Fundraising Deputy – Valdemar Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Cultural Orientation – Gianna Razack, Trinity Valley School

At Large Members

  • Evan Bazikov, All Saints Episcopal School
  • Chelsey Etta, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Kennis Georges, Birdville High School
  • Garin Kelley, Paschal High School
  • Girah Lundy-Joseph, McArthur High School
  • Noah Reyes, Crowley High School
  • Haleema Williams, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

2021-05-10 04:39

Sister Cities Youth Board Elected for 2021-22 School Year

On April 25, the Fort Worth Youth International youth board met to elect new officers for the 2021-2022 school year. Stay tuned to hear about their new and innovative plans to engage the Fort Worth youth community.

We also thanked and celebrated the outgoing board for their accomplishments during the 2020-2021 school year. Led by President Will Lourcey, the youth board held a dialogue on the evolution of language, volunteered at the Reggio Emilia, Italy 35th anniversary celebration at Coyote Drive-In, learned about holidays all around the world, and hosted an alumni panel.

Thank you to our outgoing board and congratulations to the new board!

Officers

  • President – Reshma Niraula, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Vice President – Rob Lourcey, Paschal High School
  • Secretary – Katherine Gallardo, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Public Relations – Seth Mayhue, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Community Outreach – Leah Peterson, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA
  • Fundraising – Caroline Nartz, Timber Creek High School
  • Fundraising Deputy – Valdemar Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Cultural Orientation – Gianna Razack, Trinity Valley School

At Large Members

  • Evan Bazikov, All Saints Episcopal School
  • Chelsey Etta, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Kennis Georges, Birdville High School
  • Garin Kelley, Paschal High School
  • Girah Lundy-Joseph, McArthur High School
  • Noah Reyes, Crowley High School
  • Haleema Williams, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences

Young Artists and Authors Chosen to Represent Fort Worth

For decades, Sister Cities International has leveraged the power that art has to transform societies and transcend cultural boundaries through the Young Artists and Authors Showcase, or YAAS. The Showcase has given youth worldwide the opportunity to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world through original art and literature.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International held the local showcase to choose student pieces to be submitted to the worldwide competition.

We want to give a special thanks to our Young Artists and Authors Chair LA Moncrief and her committee for recruiting judges, securing prize money and creating a judging criteria.

We also want to thank our amazing and talented judges Afton Battle, Rachel DeLira, Hilde Horchler, Sheran Keyton, Hillary Shepheard, and Dawn Taft.

Congratulations to all the artists and authors who were selected and entered into the international competition.

Artists

Authors

Photographers

Musicians

2021-05-06 02:53

Young Artists and Authors Chosen to Represent Fort Worth

For decades, Sister Cities International has leveraged the power that art has to transform societies and transcend cultural boundaries through the Young Artists and Authors Showcase, or YAAS. The Showcase has given youth worldwide the opportunity to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world through original art and literature.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International held the local showcase to choose student pieces to be submitted to the worldwide competition.

We want to give a special thanks to our Young Artists and Authors Chair LA Moncrief and her committee for recruiting judges, securing prize money and creating a judging criteria.

We also want to thank our amazing and talented judges Afton Battle, Rachel DeLira, Hilde Horchler, Sheran Keyton, Hillary Shepheard, and Dawn Taft.

Congratulations to all the artists and authors who were selected and entered into the international competition.

Artists

Authors

Photographers

Musicians

May 2021 Update

If you’re like many people right now, you’re craving personal connections, which is human nature. We were created that way. Relationships are important for our emotional well-being. They create stability, teach us how to be a good friend, and provide us with someone to count on and trust in times of need.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International, while having to curtail international in-person relationship-building this past year, has mastered the art of virtual relationships through a variety of adult and youth programs. This has been the silver lining to the pandemic for us – it gave us the opportunity to be creative and look for other ways to fulfil our mission. If you want to know how we did that, take a look at our year in review below.

We’re very proud of our accomplishments during the pandemic, but are equally excited to be planning in-person international exchanges and experiential educational programs. While our first adult trip will not occur until February 2022 to Toluca, Mexico to see the monarch butterflies, we are setting all the wheels in motion now to, like the butterflies, emerge from our cocoons and take off! Other trips are being planned to Reggio Emilia, Italy in spring 2022 and Nimes, France in fall 2022. Youth trips will again take place during the spring break and summer. Stay tuned for notifications of these trips and come join us as we renew friendships and create new ones around the world.

Volunteer Appreciation

April is National Volunteer Month and we’ll be honoring and celebrating our volunteers all month. We can never say enough about our volunteers because — they are our life-blood!

Sister Cities has a small staff of four and many people ask us, how do you all do the hundreds of programs and exchanges you do every year involving thousands of people?

We tell them, it’s easy! How? We have amazing volunteers including:

  • Students who make friends around the world for Fort Worth and help refugees here at home;
  • Home and day hosts who open their hearts and homes to international visitors;
  • Educators who, along with their enormous workloads, take the time to encourage their students to participate in this unique opportunity called Sister Cities;
  • Donors to the Members Circle of Giving who open up their wallets and support our mission;
  • Committee members who plan events, secure donations, help market activities, recruit others to help and are always there when we need them;
  • City officials who host guests visiting Fort Worth and travel as official representatives to other countries; and
  • Our board of directors who guide us through sometimes difficult decisions, plan for the future and are committed to making a difference here at home and in the rest of the world;

That’s how we do it and we are so thankful for each and every one of you!

The Staff of Fort Worth Sister Cities International

Mae, Joe, Beth and Danielle

Happy New Year from Fort Worth Sister Cities

HALLELUJAH!  IT’S 2021!

While we are all ready to leave 2020 behind, we shouldn’t forget some of the positive things that have happened like:

  • The outpouring of kindness from so many people to those who were suffering
  • Time with our families (some maybe too much)!
  • Driveway concerts
  • Getting bread or cookies from friends
  • Living room discos
  • The ability to gather with our international friends so easily even if it was via Zoom

We’ve all done some prioritizing this past year and are grateful for the little things we may have taken for granted. Therefore, join us in celebrating this New Year as we look forward to hopefully seeing you here in Fort Worth and around the world.

HAPPY 2021!

Happy Holidays from Fort Worth Sister Cities

Christmas is just around the corner and Santa and his elves have been working tirelessly at the North Pole – using proper protocols for social distancing, of course. While our traditions may be a little different this year due to the pandemic, let’s look back to those days when we were kids when we took making that Christmas wish list seriously.

Do you remember the Sears Catalog? It was huge!!! Must have been 20 lbs. My sisters and I would look through it for weeks trying to pick out the toys we wanted. We would make our lists over and over and over (because Mama said we shouldn’t be greedy ‘cause other kids wanted something, too). We would seal the lists in a special envelope for Santa, put it in the mailbox and watch anxiously to be sure the mailman got our letters. And then, miraculously on Christmas morning, the gifts we wanted so badly were in front of the fireplace just waiting for us. Now, we never got everything we wanted but, by the time Christmas arrived, we were so happy – I think we just forgot.

So, to get you in the spirit (if you’re not already there), and to help you get started with your list, here’s a few we came up with – let’s get the serious ones out of the way first:

  • We want this pandemic to end!
  • We want to gather safely and celebrate.
  • We want to see our friends here and around the world.
  • We want to feel the excitement of greeting our friends at the airport.
  • We want to experience the butterflies of traveling to a new place and making new friends.
  • We want peace in the world!

The excitement on Christmas morning, the long days leading up to Christmas, and the smell of cookies baking are memories many of us share. This year, we’re a little older (okay, maybe some of us a lot) but we’ll still anticipate this wonderful time of the year. 2020 may be a little different for many though and our wish is for all those who have personally borne the brunt of this awful disease, who have lost so much – loved ones, jobs, financial security – to receive the peace brought to us on this day so many years ago.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season,

Mae Ferguson
President/CEO

2020-11-25 05:09

Happy Holidays from Fort Worth Sister Cities

Christmas is just around the corner and Santa and his elves have been working tirelessly at the North Pole – using proper protocols for social distancing, of course. While our traditions may be a little different this year due to the pandemic, let’s look back to those days when we were kids when we took making that Christmas wish list seriously.

Do you remember the Sears Catalog? It was huge!!! Must have been 20 lbs. My sisters and I would look through it for weeks trying to pick out the toys we wanted. We would make our lists over and over and over (because Mama said we shouldn’t be greedy ‘cause other kids wanted something, too). We would seal the lists in a special envelope for Santa, put it in the mailbox and watch anxiously to be sure the mailman got our letters. And then, miraculously on Christmas morning, the gifts we wanted so badly were in front of the fireplace just waiting for us. Now, we never got everything we wanted but, by the time Christmas arrived, we were so happy – I think we just forgot.

So, to get you in the spirit (if you’re not already there), and to help you get started with your list, here’s a few we came up with – let’s get the serious ones out of the way first:

  • We want this pandemic to end!
  • We want to gather safely and celebrate.
  • We want to see our friends here and around the world.
  • We want to feel the excitement of greeting our friends at the airport.
  • We want to experience the butterflies of traveling to a new place and making new friends.
  • We want peace in the world!

The excitement on Christmas morning, the long days leading up to Christmas, and the smell of cookies baking are memories many of us share. This year, we’re a little older (okay, maybe some of us a lot) but we’ll still anticipate this wonderful time of the year. 2020 may be a little different for many though and our wish is for all those who have personally borne the brunt of this awful disease, who have lost so much – loved ones, jobs, financial security – to receive the peace brought to us on this day so many years ago.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season,

Mae Ferguson
President/CEO

Thank you to our supporters!

The ever-present “things we are thankful for” lists are everywhere this month, especially during these challenging times and the Fort Worth Sister Cities staff is grateful for many things this Thanksgiving. Our lean and mean team of four are immensely grateful to the people who continue to believe in our mission and serve in various ways to strengthen this organization.

  • YOU are the reason we have the number one sister cities program in the nation!
  • YOU are the reason for our ability to reach so many youth and involve them in our international education programs.
  • YOU are the reason we were able to continue our robust programming virtually in a time when in-person programs and travel were not possible.

Our family of committed and dedicated volunteers, board members, Global Academic Fellows, educators, members and supporters keep us going. We mean it when we say we can’t do it without you.

So, please accept our sincere THANK YOU! We are so thankful to have YOU on our team!

Sincerely,

Your Staff – Mae, Joe, Beth and Danielle

Fort Worth Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Reggio Emilia, Italy

October 29, 2020 marked a cold evening in Fort Worth, Texas, as residents bundled up in cars parked throughout the Coyote Drive-In Theater to celebrate Fort Worth’s 35-year anniversary with Reggio Emilia, Italy. The evening began with a special video message from Mayor Betsy Price and Reggio’s Mayor Luca Vecchi shown on the big screen. To cap off the evening, the crowd was then treated to pizza and the 2003 film – The Italian Job.

Our friends in Reggio also held a celebration of their own in Italy for this long and fruitful relationship. In a recent letter from Mayor Vecchi to Mayor Price, Vecchi made these comments:

“In a challenging period like this, we strongly believe that international exchanges and collaborations are an important lever for the relaunch of our community, economy and the values we believe in. I wish you a happy anniversary to you hoping to see you next year.”

35 years ago, Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen and Reggio Emilia Mayor Ugo Benassi signed the official documents to establish Fort Worth’s first sister city relationship with Reggio Emilia. The Reggio City Chair at that time, Mary Palko, then took the reigns and the first inbound exchange took place when 135 runners from Reggio Emilia participated in the Cowtown Marathon. Later that year Fort Worth Sister Cities received its first national recognition – the Readers Digest award for Best New Program – and that’s how it all began.

As our very first sister city, Reggio Emilia holds a special place in our hearts. Originally a Roman fortress situated in the Apennine foothills of Northern Italy, this historic city is home to spectacular cathedrals and palazzos dating back to the 12th century, the Municipal Theater and the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory.

Our relationship with this amazing city offers equally amazing opportunities for Fort Worth’s citizen diplomats. In addition to exchanges featuring the daily life and culture of Italy, Italian cooking and language classes and visits to the nearby city of Florence, the program is recognized for developing unique first-ever exchanges, including:

  • Tricolore Youth Sports Games, a youth-based version of the Olympics for which Fort Worth is the sole United States participant
  • A Handicap Life Skills Symposium
  • International Wheelchair Basketball Tournaments
  • Annual student exchanges
  • Smithsonian’s U.S. Tour of Reggio Emilia’s education model
  • Cutting and quarter horse training, breeding and competition
  • Stage, craft and performance arts training programs
  • Marathons
  • Culinary, hotel, and professional internships
  • Fashion and artisan industry programs

You can view a compilation of several short videos from participants and leaders of many exchanges and programs over the last 35 years between these two cities here.

2020-10-28 05:15

Fort Worth Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Reggio Emilia, Italy

October 29, 2020 marked a cold evening in Fort Worth, Texas, as residents bundled up in cars parked throughout the Coyote Drive-In Theater to celebrate Fort Worth’s 35-year anniversary with Reggio Emilia, Italy. The evening began with a special video message from Mayor Betsy Price and Reggio’s Mayor Luca Vecchi shown on the big screen. To cap off the evening, the crowd was then treated to pizza and the 2003 film – The Italian Job.

Our friends in Reggio also held a celebration of their own in Italy for this long and fruitful relationship. In a recent letter from Mayor Vecchi to Mayor Price, Vecchi made these comments:

“In a challenging period like this, we strongly believe that international exchanges and collaborations are an important lever for the relaunch of our community, economy and the values we believe in. I wish you a happy anniversary to you hoping to see you next year.”

35 years ago, Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen and Reggio Emilia Mayor Ugo Benassi signed the official documents to establish Fort Worth’s first sister city relationship with Reggio Emilia. The Reggio City Chair at that time, Mary Palko, then took the reigns and the first inbound exchange took place when 135 runners from Reggio Emilia participated in the Cowtown Marathon. Later that year Fort Worth Sister Cities received its first national recognition – the Readers Digest award for Best New Program – and that’s how it all began.

As our very first sister city, Reggio Emilia holds a special place in our hearts. Originally a Roman fortress situated in the Apennine foothills of Northern Italy, this historic city is home to spectacular cathedrals and palazzos dating back to the 12th century, the Municipal Theater and the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory.

Our relationship with this amazing city offers equally amazing opportunities for Fort Worth’s citizen diplomats. In addition to exchanges featuring the daily life and culture of Italy, Italian cooking and language classes and visits to the nearby city of Florence, the program is recognized for developing unique first-ever exchanges, including:

  • Tricolore Youth Sports Games, a youth-based version of the Olympics for which Fort Worth is the sole United States participant
  • A Handicap Life Skills Symposium
  • International Wheelchair Basketball Tournaments
  • Annual student exchanges
  • Smithsonian’s U.S. Tour of Reggio Emilia’s education model
  • Cutting and quarter horse training, breeding and competition
  • Stage, craft and performance arts training programs
  • Marathons
  • Culinary, hotel, and professional internships
  • Fashion and artisan industry programs

You can view a compilation of several short videos from participants and leaders of many exchanges and programs over the last 35 years between these two cities here.