Fort Worth Sister Cities Needs Your Help

This week, our staff learned that the City of Fort Worth’s annual budget has been presented to City Council. While budget changes are always a possibility, we are surprised and saddened to see that there has been no increase in budget to Fort Worth Sister Cities International (FWSCI) and our efforts. As they do each year, now that the budget has been presented, members of the City Council now have the opportunity to reallocate funds where they deem necessary and appropriate.

In anticipation of annual budget discussions, FWSCI staff and leadership met with each council man and woman to plead our case for support, with good feedback. Without these funds, we are unable to continue the growth that we’ve had in the last several years. We will be forced to cut back on valuable programs that have made us the best program in the nation.

In order to continue providing quality programs for youth and adults, continue strengthening international diplomacy and continue growing the current economic impact for Fort Worth, our leadership team has asked the Council to consider contributing $150,000 to FWSCI – a $100,000 increase to our budgeted contract.

We believe that our track record proves that we are a worthwhile investment.

  • We’ve been a key partner for the city, contributing an estimated annual economic impact of $14 million per year.
  • Our team is counted on by the city and its citizens to promote citizen diplomacy and international exchange.
  • We operate and manage the Sister Cities program for the city, including providing protocol and hospitality needs on behalf of the City of Fort Worth.
  • More than 2,000 citizens of Fort Worth participate as volunteers in programs each year.

Please call and email your city council representative and ask them to consider increasing FWSCI’s budget so we can continue providing life-changing experiences and enrichment programs to the community.

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Fort Worth Named Best Sister Cities Program in America

Fort Worth Sister Cities International recognized for excellence a record ninth time

Fort Worth, Texas – Since 1985, Fort Worth has benefited from a Sister Cities program that promotes international education, as well as exchange and commerce, for and with the city’s citizens. This weekend, leadership at the 2018 Sister Cities International Annual Conference in Aurora, Colorado, recognized the Fort Worth program as the best in the nation. This is the ninth win for Best Overall Program for Fort Worth Sister Cities International (FWSCI).

“We are pleased to recognize Fort Worth Sister Cities International for its outstanding achievements in citizen diplomacy,” said Roger-Mark de Souza, president and CEO of Sister Cities International. “Our winning programs demonstrate real impact in their own cities and around the world – and we could not be prouder of their efforts.”

The awards competition, which was open to more than 500 similar programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding sister city organizations that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. Fort Worth Sister Cities’ selection was partly based on community involvement and engagement.

“My congratulations to Sister Cities on receiving this impressive award,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Fort Worth is a growing hub for international commerce and creativity, and that’s one place where Sister Cities comes in. Business begins with relationships and Sister Cities does an incredible job at nurturing interactions and friendships.”

Founded by Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. FWSCI was established in 1985 and has eight sister cities. Fort Worth will add its ninth sister city, Nîmes, France, in 2019.

Students Bring Home Gold and Bronze Medals From Italy

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities youth athletes represent Fort Worth and the USA!

Nearly 80 student athletes and coaches just returned from a week of competition at the Tricolore Youth Sports Games in Reggio Emilia, Italy winning three gold and one bronze medal in baseball and volleyball.

The athletes and coaches will be recognized at the Fort Worth City Council meeting Aug. 14 at 7:00 pm to report on the games and display the medals they won.

The Sports Ambassadors competed and lived in an Olympic-style village with student athletes from thirty other countries representing Fort Worth and the USA through positive sportsmanship and goodwill. The games created a chance for these athletes to convey a positive impression of American youth to other people from around the world.

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

The Tricolore Games are held every four years in Reggio Emilia, Italy and Fort Worth is the only city in the US invited to participate.

Youth Ambassadors 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 Rebecca Cichock, Samantha Cruz, William Dibble, Priscilla Gutierrez, Imani Kayembe, Katey Parham, Emily Pruitt, and Brigit Teschendorf; and will be led by Delegation Leaders Dawnelle Butler and Nicole Vallee.

“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 27 for a week-long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 9-17.

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.

Meet the 2018 Summer Interns

Courtney Cannon

Courtney Cannon is a recent graduate and Zeta Tau Alpha alumna of the University of North Texas (UNT). Receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies with a concentration in international development and humanitarian affairs, she is very interested in learning and immersing herself more in all cultures of the world. As the Leadership Academy Coordinator for Fort Worth Sister Cities International (FWSCI), she organized all aspects of both the Junior International Leadership Academy (JILA) and the International Leadership Academy (ILA) programs for this summer.

Matthieu Ferrero

Matthieu Ferrero was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, near Washington, DC. He moved to France when he was 2, after his brother was born. He lived in France for about 12 years, then went to live in Vietnam for four years, attending a French high school in Ho Chi Minh City. After passing his final exams and before studying at university, he enrolled in a business school in Nîmes, France, to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration. As it is his second year in the program (out of three), he is doing his international internship at FWSCI.

Grace Lu

Grace Lu is an international studies major at Texas A&M University (gig ’em!) with a concentration in environmental studies and minors in bioinformatics and Chinese. She is a program coordinator intern for youth outbound exchanges at FWSCI, working primarily with the Harashin Scholar Program. In her free time, Grace enjoys swimming and reading.

Megan Metersky

Megan Metersky will be entering her sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame. She is currently studying international economics and applied computational mathematics and statistics. She has been involved with FWSCI for many years, participating in student exchanges and ILA. This summer, she is coordinated the Dual Language Immersion Camp and will be a facilitator at ILA.

José Mauricio “Mau” Moreno García

Mau is a student of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Toluca where he is studying mechatronics engineering. He is a creative person and he is not afraid to express new and innovative ideas. He has experience in several areas, the strongest being design and teamwork. He also has a lot of experience speaking in public and attracting people through technology. In addition, he has had international experiences in robotics competitions in Chandler, Arizona; St. Louis, Missouri; and leadership experience in Fort Worth, Texas. This summer, he worked as an international intern in the FWSCI office working on ILA and JILA where he also served as a facilitator.

Amber Parsley

Amber Parsley is 22 years-old and from Arlington, Texas. She recently graduated from UNT with a degree in public relations. This summer, she assisted Katie Wharry as a Marketing and Community Engagement Intern.

Alexis Runyons

Alexis Runyons was a Program Coordinator Intern at FWSCI. Her main tasks were finding host families and managing logistics for ILA. During the month of July, she worked as a facilitator at ILA, as well. Currently, she is a student at UNT, and is majoring in communication studies, double minoring in marketing and Chinese, and pursuing a certificate in digital media studies. She is a half Taiwanese, half American individual that hopes to return to Taiwan after graduation and pursue a career in social media management.

Avalon Wolfe

Avalon Wolfe is a rising sophomore at Stanford University, where she intends to major in political science and minor in computer science. She is involved with the Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford, Stanford in Government, and Night Outreach. After graduation, she seeks to work with international policy and intergovernmental organizations, with the hopes of eventually running for public office. Aside from serving as a Program Coordinator Intern at FWSCI this summer, she is volunteering at Prevent Blindness Texas and self-studying the C programming language.

Muna Yowell

Muna Yowell is a senior at UNT majoring in international studies with a minor in Arabic. She worked as an intern at FWSCI as the Tricolore Games Coordinator, responsible for the logistics of an international youth sports games in Fort Worth’s sister city Reggio Emilia, Italy. In the fall, she will be interning at the International Rescue Committee in Washington, DC and will be graduating in December 2018.

Ameera Zaman

Ameera Zaman was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, but her parents are from Bangladesh. She is currently a junior at UNT where she is majoring in communication studies and minoring in biology, Arabic, and social sciences. This last year, she joined a collegiate Bollywood fusion dance team called Chingaarii. She has been involved with FWSCI since her sophomore year of high school, traveling to Reggio Emilia, Italy and Nagaoka, Japan as a Youth Ambassador. She has also been an Associate Delegation Leader (ADL) for an exchange to Japan, and currently she is a Program Coordinator Intern. She primarily worked on anything involving the facilitators for JILA and ILA, but she also helped with the rest of the program. She also serve as a facilitator for ILA this summer. She looks forward her future endeavors with the program.

International Students Visit Local Businesses

Fort Worth, TX: Meet the World in Fort Worth

High school students from eSwatini, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico, along with Fort Worth students, participating in the 29th International Leadership Academy for Fort Worth Sister Cities International will be meeting with some of Fort Worth’s finest on July 20.

For the second year, volunteers are taking small groups of students to meet with community leaders, in their offices, where they will conduct an interview based on this year’s ILA theme, “Meet the World in Fort Worth.” They will talk about citizen diplomacy and the community leaders are encouraged to ask the students questions in return.

This event gives students the opportunity to see Fort Worth in a new light and meet with people who are giving back to their community. A mixture of students from each country will be organized into small groups so the interviewee can experience the cultures of our Sister Cities, as well.

“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.

Meetings will take place at 10:00 a.m. on July 20. If you would like students to come visit with your business or you would like to volunteer for the day, please call 817-632-7100.

International Students Attend Leadership Academies

Fort Worth, TX: Meet the World in Fort Worth, Theme of Academies

High school students from around the world will descend on Fort Worth starting July 12. Students from eSwatini, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico, along with Fort Worth students, will be in Fort Worth for the 29th International Leadership Academy (ILA). The Academy’s goal is to increase communication and leadership skills through teambuilding and problem-solving using diplomacy.

Since 1989, the ILA has brought young people from Fort Worth’s eight sister cities to the area to discuss pressing global issues. This year, nearly 90 participants will converge at Texas Christian University (TCU) July 12 – 26 to share their cultures and learn about citizen diplomacy and its importance.

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 14th year of ILA’s middle school program, the Jr. International Leadership Academy (JILA) held July 9 – 13. College students from Toluca, Mexico 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 will take place July 25, 6:30 p.m. at TCU’s BLUU Ballroom and is free and open to the public. For more info call 817/632-7100.

Fort Worth Representing USA at Italian Sports Games

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities fields youth sports teams

Fort Worth is sending nearly 100 student athletes and coaches to the sixth edition of the Tricolore Youth Sports Games in Italy next week July 5 – 14, 2018.

The games create an opportunity for young people to convey a positive impression of American youth to over 3,000 athletes from around the world who will be participating in the event.

“Living with and competing against these young athletes, our students will undoubtedly learn that they have much more in common with them than what separates them,” said Michael Jacobsson, Fort Worth Tricolore Chair. “These are the types of experiences that help kids shape their understanding and acceptance of people from other cultures and it’s a lot of fun, too!”

The athletes and coaches 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.

“The Games offer an international experience these kids will remember the rest of their lives. Bringing home gold, silver and bronze medals will be a highlight of their athletic careers,” said Matt Graves, Tricolore Vice Chair.

The Tricolore Games are held every four years in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Fort Worth’s sister city for thirty-three years, and Fort Worth will be the sole representative of the U.S.A. Teams participating are girls volleyball, swimming, and four boys baseball teams.

Youth Represent Fort Worth in France, Japan, Swaziland

FORT WORTH, TX – Youth Ambassadors travel to three sister cities

Forty-six students and leaders are visiting three of Fort Worth’s sister cities this month including Nîmes, France; Nagaoka, Japan; and Mbabane, Swaziland.

These Youth Ambassadors of Fort Worth benefit from a global education. In addition to learning leadership skills and participating in cultural exchange, they also receive training to become citizen diplomats representing the U.S., Texas, and Fort Worth which enhances their college and career opportunities.

“Today’s growing global community is making more of a footprint in young people’s lives, making cultural understanding and exchange a pivotal part of a student’s education. Our student-centered program ensures students develop the skills necessary for them to pursue their own goals and become globally-minded leaders in their communities,” said Johnny Campbell, Chairman of the Board of Sister Cities.

Educators from the FWISD, private schools, and universities will lead the delegations including:

Nîmes, France: Jay Kurima, Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences and Marvin Vann Griffith, World Languages Institute, as well as Associate Delegation Leaders Stephanie Atkinson and Michelle Chuah

Nagaoka, Japan: James Gleaton, Tarrant County College and Courtney Smith, Como Montessori, as well as Associate Delegation Leaders Sienna Andrade, University of Texas at Arlington and Rubi Roy, Tarrant County College

Mbabane, Swaziland: Kimberly Tezak-Daus, Diamond Hill-Jarvis, as well as Associate Delegation Leaders Madeline Hale, University of Texas at Dallas and Jailine Garcia, Tarrant County College

Sister Cities Partnering with FWISD for Dual Language Camp

Fort Worth, Texas — Local elementary students receiving dual language enrichment

Fort Worth Sister Cities International will welcome 10 university students and two educators from Toluca, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education this week for the Dual Language Immersion Camp for elementary students in partnership with the Fort Worth ISD (FWISD). The Toluca students will act as international facilitators for the three-week camp June 11-28.

This year’s theme is Art: An Expression of Language and will provide summer enrichment for FWISD students in dual language studies to increase language and literacy across the content areas.

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 the culture of Toluca, 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.

The closing ceremony will take place on June 28 at Burton Hill Elementary School.