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 katie@fwsistercities.org.

Youth Ambassadors Selected for 2020

Congratulations to all the students who were selected for Youth Ambassador exchanges in 2020! Students go through a rigorous application and interview process before being selected for travel to one of our sister cities. After selection, students attend cultural orientations to prepare for travel abroad and to get to know the culture of their destination.

A special congratulation to Will Lourcey who received the Yamagata Emerging Leader Scholarship for his excellence in community service and leadership. Lourcey will be using the scholarship to travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy in the spring.

Budapest, Hungary – March 7-15

  • Evan Bazikov, All Saints Episcopal School
  • Rowan Kliethermes, Trinity Valley School
  • Morgan McCullough, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • John Nolan, Paschal High School
  • Leah Peterson, I.M. Terrell High School
  • Nate Scott, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Nevaeh Vega, North Side High School
  • Haleema Williams, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
Delegation Leaders
  • Jane Card, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Nicole Vallee, Tarrant County College

Nagaoka, Japan – June 21-30

  • Keira Aguirre, Trimble Tech High School
  • Gabriela Barrientos, Diamond Hill Jarvis High School
  • Eren Collins, Arlington Heights High School
  • Hawaii Guerin, Wedgewood Middle School
  • Nayeli Loredo, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Madison Martinez, Benbrook High School
  • Liberty Mata, Home School
  • Isabelle Planty, McLean Middle School
  • Jennifer Tavera, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Karina Torres, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Patsy Torres, World Languages Institute
  • Niklas Yanez, Arlington Heights High School
Delegation Leaders
  • Dawnelle Butler, Westlake Academy
  • Kendall Lake

Nagaoka, Japan Harashin Scholars – July 24-Aug.3

  • Karen Ayala, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Jameson Bauer, Westlake Academy
  • Jude Butler, Westlake Academy
  • Katherine Gallardo, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Nicole Helms, Westlake Academy
  • Garin Kelly, I.M. Terrell High School
  • Nyasha Muwalo, Chisholm Trail High School
  • Noah Reyes, North Crowley High School
Alternates
  • Girah Lundy-Joseph, MacArthur High School
  • Haleema Williams, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
Delegation Leaders
  • Dianna Alexander, Arlington Heights High School
  • Kimberly Kowalski, Fort Worth Academy

Nîmes, France – March 7-15

  • Gwendolen Bruce, Southwest High School
  • Alyssa Campbell, Arlington Heights High School
  • DJ Carter, Arlington Heights High School
  • Carol Lee Dewar, Paschal High School
  • Ernesto Duran, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Elisa Duran, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Kendall Fernandez, Trimble Tech High School
  • Alicia Flores, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Isabella Flores, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Mary Faith Fraire, Saginaw High School
  • XiXi Hillman, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Randito Howard, Uplift Summit International Preparatory Academy
  • Emme Nelson, Arlington Heights High School
  • Lauryn Roberts, Fort Worth Country Day School
  • Gabriela Urbina, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
Delegation Leaders
  • Andreanne Annis, Fort Worth Country Day
  • Rob Napier, Fort Worth Country Day
Associate Delegation Leader
  • Natalie Bauman, University of Texas at Arlington

Reggio Emilia, Italy – March 7-15

  • Daisy Aguilar, Northside High School
  • Ashia Bah, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Ashlynn Bouldin, Westlake Academy
  • Emily Carrillo, Haltom High School
  • Hayden Flowers, Westlake Academy
  • Yessica Gonzalez, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Erin Guy, Westlake Academy
  • Lilian Hicks, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences
  • Will Lourcey, Paschal High School
  • Alison Pak, Westlake Academy
Delegation Leaders
  • Tracey Cravens, Northside High School
  • Cindy Vasquez, City of Fort Worth
Associate Delegation Leader
  • Daniel Orr, University of Texas

Toluca, Mexico – March 7-15

  • Aidan Brock, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts
  • Jude Butler, Westlake Academy
  • Bela Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Valdemar Gomez, Nolan Catholic High School
  • Azael Hernandez, I.M. Terrell High School
  • Bronwyn Logan, Crowley High School
Delegation Leaders
  • James Gleaton, Tarrant County College
  • Danielle McCown, Fort Worth Sister Cities International

Trier, Germany – May 31-June 13

  • Eric Borrman, Trinity Valley School
  • Gilian Conlan, Paschal High School
  • Tatum Duncan, Trinity Valley School
  • Emma Eppstein, Paschal High School
  • Erin Fishman, Fort Worth Country Day
  • Kale Graves, Fort Worth Country Day
  • Priscilla Gutierrez, Diamond Hill Jarvis High School
  • Leslie Hernandez, Marine Creek Collegiate High School
  • Whitt Horton, Trinity Valley School
  • Peren Lopez, Trinity Valley School
  • Elizabeth Martinez, Arlington Heights High School
  • Gabriel Massingill, All Saints Episcopal High School
  • Malinda Murphey, Fort Worth Country Day
  • Catherine Zarr, Trinity Valley School
Delegations Leaders
  • Chelsy Merrill, Fort Worth Country Day
  • Dr. Michael Roemer, Trinity Valley School
 

Fort Worth Honors Community and Global Leaders

Fort Worth, TX – Community Awards Given to Global Leaders

Fort Worth Sister Cities International’s 34th Annual Meeting was held Sept. 18 at The Fort Worth Club, attended by nearly 300 community leaders and members.

Fort Worth honored individuals and organizations for their work in the community and promotion of Fort Worth around the world.

The Bob Bolen Award for Outstanding Board Leadership was awarded to Carlo Capua, Z’s Café & Locavore. Carlo’s first experience with Sister Cities was as a student, attending his first International Leadership Academy in 1993 which awoke the giant within. From there forward, Capua home hosted international visitors, served as a Youth Ambassador on exchanges, organized a local young alumni group and now serves on the board of Fort Worth Sister Cities and Sister Cities International, the national organization in Washington, D.C.

Fort Worth Country Day School was awarded the Eisenhower Award for Organizational Involvement. The school has been a valued partner for many years, hosting nearly 50 international students and educators from Japan, France and Germany this year alone. Fort Worth Country Day has served as a host for high school and middle school students many times, involves many students in leadership position for Sister Cities and supports educators as delegation leaders on many exchanges.

Andréanne Annis received the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award. Annis has led student exchanges to Hungary, Japan and France many times. She played a huge role in the official signing with our newest sister city, Nîmes, France in February, by organizing the official welcoming reception, acting as translator and hosting guests throughout their stay. Annis has also home hosted delegations when they visited Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International is proud to work with such outstanding volunteers and organizations, who help fulfill our mission to the community.

Check out photos from the event!

Fort Worth Welcomes International Students

FORT WORTH, TX— Sister Cities Partners with Five Local Schools

Fort Worth welcomes students from sister cities, Trier, Germany and Nagaoka, Japan, this October for youth ambassador exchanges.

Two educators and 12 students from Trier, Germany will be hosted by Trinity Valley School and Fort Worth Country Day School Oct. 6-20.

Six educators and 30 middle school students from Nagaoka, Japan will participate in a middle school exchange, partnering with Daggett Montessori School, McLean Middle School, and World Languages Institute. Students and teachers will be visiting Oct. 12-20.

Students will attend classes, participate in cultural activities and live with Fort Worth families from the participating schools while in Fort Worth gaining an even better understanding of Fort Worth and the U.S.A. Activities include visits to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Kimbell Art Museum, Stockyards Station and many other Fort Worth favorites.

“Sister Cities works closely with the Fort Worth ISD and local private schools to give Fort Worth students the best opportunity possible to be successful in a global society,” said Veronica Chavez Law, Chairwoman of the board. “Exchanges, like these, are more important than ever to teach our young people the importance of global understanding.”

If you’re interested in getting involved and home hosting, please contact Beth Weibel, at beth@fwsistercities.org.

Leadership Academy Headed to Japan For 30th Anniversary

FORT WORTH, TX – 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 taking the Academy to Nagaoka, Japan as we celebrate this dynamic summer leadership program’s 30th anniversary.

A select number of students from Fort Worth were selected to participate in an Advanced Leadership Academy with other students from eSwatini, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, and Japan. This year’s theme, Peace through Innovation, will encourage students to explore and focus on critical and current issues. Through the program they will gain essential leadership and communication skills through cross-cultural activities such as art, music, and language studies.

Participants will live stay with host families in Nagaoka. During the day, 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, as well as a community service project.

“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 Fort Worth students depart on Aug. 1 and will spend a few days in Tokyo for orientation. Then, on Aug. 5 everyone will convene in Nagaoka for several days of team-building and problem-solving using diplomacy. The students return to Fort Worth on Aug. 11.

Fort Worth Wins Innovation Award for Business and Trade

HOUSTON, TX – Fort Worth, Texas has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Innovation Award for Business and Trade for a city with a population greater than 100,000. 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.

In the fall of 2018, Fort Worth Sister Cities International and Wild Acre Brewing Co. collaborated with the city of Trier, Germany to introduce the first-ever collaborative beer at the 5th annual Oktoberfest in Fort Worth. The brew master from German-based Kraft Bräu brewery in Trier attended and tapped the keg of the collaborative beer called Wild Acre Kraft Haus Lager. Similarly, Fort Worth companies Best Maid Pickles and Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. both found a natural partner in Nagaoka, Japan. Both companies brought samples of their products to Japan and a tasting was arranged with members of Nagaoka’s Chamber of Commerce small business group.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. All award winners were honored during Sister Cities International’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

Fort Worth Students Attend Local Leadership Academy

Fort Worth, TX: Peace through innovation

This year marks the 15th year of the International Leadership Academy’s middle school program, Jr. International Leadership Academy (JILA) to be held July 8—12 for students completing grades 6-8.  This one-week academy will be held in partnership with the International Newcomer Academy.

College students from Toluca, Mexico will serve as facilitators for the students who will experience cultural presentations and interaction with the university students gaining an international perspective.

As participants, students will be able to:

  • Enhance global leadership, communications, teamwork, and problem-solving skills
  • Enhance college and career opportunities
  • Strengthen global perspectives and appreciation for other cultures
  • Learn about citizen diplomacy

“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 and prepares these students for a global society,” said Nancy Marchant, JILA Coordinator.

The closing ceremony for JILA will take place at the International Newcomer Academy on July 12 at 5:00 pm and is open to the public. The keynote address will be given by Mayor Betsy Price.

Scholarship Recipients Represent Fort Worth in Japan

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities provides unique opportunity for students

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 27 years, it is estimated that over $2 million has been generously donated benefiting Fort Worth families.

Fort Worth Harashin scholars include DJ Carter, Erik Cura, Cameron Garcia, Lilian Hicks, Will Lourcey, Saleem Razack, Kyra Rhoades, and Bayan Williams; and will be led by Delegation Leaders Andréanne Annis and Angelia Ross.

“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 Veronica Chavez Law, Chairwoman of Fort Worth Sister Cities International. The students depart July 24 for a week-long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 5-15.

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 nine sister cities provide youth the opportunity to spend time 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.

Students to Represent Fort Worth Abroad

Fort Worth, TX – Student Ambassadors to Visit Japan and Indonesia

Fort Worth students and leaders depart for Bandung, Indonesia and Nagaoka, Japan this month. Delegations are led by educators from the FWISD, private schools, and universities.

In March, the students attended a Fort Worth City Council where Mayor Betsy Price administered the Citizen Diplomat Oath to the students and their Delegation Leaders in preparation for their upcoming youth exchanges.

Students complete a vigorous selection process including personal interviews and are selected to represent the City of Fort Worth as Youth Ambassadors each year by Sister Cities. Applications are available for all students, as well as funding to support many.

Through these experiences, students benefit from a global education, as well as learn valuable leadership skills. Their understanding and respect of other cultures also increases which enhances their college and career opportunities.

“Our goal this year is to strategically grow our youth programs. It is important now more than ever to equip our future leaders with tools that will enable them to thrive in a global community,” said Veronica Chavez Law, Chairwoman of the Board of Sister Cities.

When the students return to their local campuses, they share the lessons learned while abroad with others, helping make Fort Worth more globally fluent.

A complete list of Youth Ambassadors and Delegation Leaders can be found at https://www.fwsistercities.org/youth-ambassadors-selected-for-2019-exchanges/.