Fort Worth Welcomes International Students

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

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

18 students from Trier will be hosted by Trinity Valley School and Fort Worth Country Day School Oct. 7-21.. Students will be home hosted by community volunteers and have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Science & History, Museum of Modern Art, the Stockyards and many other Fort Worth favorites.

36 middle school students from Nagaoka, Japan will participate in a middle school exchange, partnering with Fort Worth Country Day School, World Languages Institute, and Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Students and teachers will be visiting Oct. 13-21.

The Japanese 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.

“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

Fort Worth Elects Global Leaders

Fort Worth, TX – Brackett & Ellis’ Veronica Chavez Law Takes the Reins

Newly elected officers at Fort Worth Sister Cities International’s 33rd Annual Meeting, are Chairwoman, Veronica Chavez Law, Brackett & Ellis; Chair Elect, Becky Renfro Borbolla, Renfro Foods; Past/Nominating Chair, Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square; Treasurer, Frank Tilley, SeatonHill; Secretary, Casey Dyer Oliver, Texas A&M; Development Chair, Rich Lowe, Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP; Long Range Planning Chair, Pat Miller, Texas Christian University; Exchanges and Outreach Chair, Dr. Sheryl Harris, Tarrant County College; and Marketing Chair, Lydia Rickard, LCOMM Marketing.

New board members include: Jason Brown, Doss, Knight & Associates; Florence Bruner, Firehouse Auto Sales; David Campbell, Huitt-Zollars; Shanna Cate; Trinity River Vision Authority; Jeff Dyer, Crescent Realty; Cindy Johnson; Rachel Malone, Merrill Lynch; Bonnie Melhart, Texas Christian University; Steve Peglar, WhitleySmith Company; and Andy Roseliep, BB&T.

The Bob Bolen Award for Outstanding Board Leadership was awarded to Dr. Michael Roemer. The Rotary Club of Fort Worth was awarded the Eisenhower Award for Organizational Involvement and Matt Graves received the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, 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. “As mayor, I believe that the most important infrastructure any city can invest in is its relationships with other people, cultures, and cities. By building bridges for peace and creating cities of opportunity, we can thrive in a 21st global economy,” said Nirenberg. “These connections not only add cultural value, but have unlimited economic potential.”

Board members returning for a 2nd term include: Michael Crain, Dr. Paul Geisel, Dr. Michael Jacobsson and Walter Stucker. City chairs to serve a two-year term are: Bonnie Melhart, Bandung, Indonesia; Jason Brown, Budapest, Hungary; Robert Fitzgerald, Guiyang, China; Nommo Donald,  Mbabane, eSwatini; Libby Watson, Nagaoka, Japan; Rachel Malone, Nîmes, France; Dr. Michael Jacobsson, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Florence Bruner, Toluca, Mexico; and Shanna Cate, Trier, Germany.

Click here to see photos from the event.

Sister Cities and Oktoberfest Fort Worth Introduce “Bier” Collaboration

New initiative hopes to launch more commerce between Trier, Germany and Fort Worth

Fort Worth Sister Cities International, Wild Acre Brewing Co. and sister city Trier, Germany are partnering to introduce the first-ever collaborative “bier” at the Fort Wurst Corporate Night, on September 26 at The Shack on Panther Island. This new festival preview will kick off the fifth annual Oktoberfest Fort Worth. The brewmaster from Trier-based Kraft Bräu brewery will be part of the team to tap the keg of the collaborative beer called Wild Acre Kraft Haus Lager.

The project is an effort to encourage and grow business exchange opportunities between Trier and Fort Worth. With the craft beer industry growing in both regions, Christian Luxem, director of Trier City Council’s Business Development came up with the idea of the “Bier project” a craft beer collaboration that could provide an opportunity for international idea and product exchange.

“Such a project can contribute to promote the bilateral economical relations between the two cities,” says Luxem.

The recipe for Wild Acre Kraft Haus was developed by Kraft Bräu brewery and brewed by Wild Acre in Fort Worth. The two brewmasters stayed in constant contact to ensure the beer was brewed in Fort Worth, but stayed true to the German taste and standards. The beer is 5.3 % ABV and combines traditional German lager brewing techniques, and some American hop varietals to blend the two cultures in the form of a hoppy lager.

“The partnership between Wild Acre and Kraft Bräu is another wonderful cultural exchange between our two cities,” said Mayor Betsy Price, City of Fort Worth. “The beer collaboration is an opportunity to learn from each other, promote global economic development, and build a platform for businesses to think globally. That’s what it’s all about – creating connections and expanding Fort Worth’s international profile.”

Wild Acre Brewing has been invited to participate in the same type of beer collaboration at the 2019 Trier craft beer festival. Organizers hope this will serve as a starting point for more business collaboration between Trier and Fort Worth.

Wild Acre Kraft Haus will be the featured beer in the Tapping of the Kegs ceremony kicking off Fort Wurst, Oktoberfest Fort Worth’s new Corporate Night on September 26. Attendees of the event will have the chance to try the beer exclusively available that evening. Corporations or individuals can purchase a table of eight for a private evening of culture and celebration, complete with a plated German meal from Reata Haus, entertainment, beer and more! To learn more about purchasing a Fort Wurst table, visit


About Oktoberfest Fort Worth: Oktoberfest Fort Worth will take place September 27 – 29 at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth. Festival patrons will enjoy authentic German food, music, dancing, games, rides, biergartens, dachshund races & shopping as well as Spaten and other fall and Oktoberfest craft beers. Fort Wurst is a new corporate night kicking off the festival on September 26. Both events are produced by the Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) responsible for the implementation of a public infrastructure project which fosters the development of an urban waterfront neighborhood in Fort Worth called Panther Island. TRVA aims to attract business and entertainment to the district and is in charge of programming public spaces including Panther Island Pavilion.

About Fort Worth Sister Cities International: Fort Worth Sister Cities International, a 501c3 nonprofit, is the only organization dedicated solely to promoting Fort Worth globally and enriching our community through international education, exchange and commerce. We provide a world of opportunities for our city leaders, citizens, educators, students and businesses alike. Founded in 1985, Fort Worth has eight sister city relationships, and intends to form our ninth in 2019. The relationship with Trier, Germany was formed in 1987 and celebrated our 40th anniversary last year.

About Kraft Bräu: Kraft Bräu was founded in 1998 as the first microbrewery in Trier, five years after the closure of the last brewery in town. Patrick Weirich, the first brewer, started with the three Kraft Bräu classics: lager, dark and wheat beer, focusing on pure handmade craft brewing. In 2010 the Kraft Bräu team started to brew beside the classics seasonal specials like an IPA, different pale ales and bocks. It was CEO Klaus Tonkaboni and Sebastian Nguyen, head brewer and licensed beer sommelier, who started the new and exciting era. In October 2014, Kraft Bräu organized Trier’s first craft beer festival which was a huge success. Kraft Bräu has passion for beer and an addiction to real craft brewing.

About Wild Acre Brewing Co.: Wild Acre Brewing Co. opened its doors in June of 2016 to brew and sell the highest quality craft beers available throughout North Texas. Wild Acre has become known for a number of its beers including Billy Jenkins Bock, Texas Blonde and T-Hawk IPA. These beers, among other flavors, can be found in bars, restaurants and retail outlets throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, in addition to being served at their brewery/taproom and beer garden entertainment facility located in the former Ranch Style Beans building situated between East Lancaster and East Vickery on the southeast edge of Downtown Fort Worth. Beer lovers of Fort Worth have helped Wild Acre grow into one of the top 30 largest craft breweries in Texas after two short years in business.

Sister Cities Seeking Full-Time Seasonal Position

Photos with Santa in Sundance Square Plaza

Job Title: Sundance Square Santa Program Manager

Job Type: Seasonal Full-Time

November 1 – December 24, 2018

BASIC FUNCTION: Responsible for managing the day to day operation of Sundance Santa

JOB SPECIFICATIONS: High school education or equivalent is required. Must have project management experience and possess the ability to meet deadlines. Must work well under pressure. Good organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills are required.


EXTERNAL CONTACTS: General public and Sundance Square customers

INTERNAL CONTACTS: Daily contact with Fort Worth Sister Cities International staff and volunteers & Sundance Square staff


  • Oversee day to day Sundance Santa processes at the set in Sundance Square Plaza
  • Be on set full-time to set up and coordinate while Santa is open
  • Trains, tracks & manages volunteers
  • Manages the schedule through the electronic line system (QLess)
  • Assists with customer relations and answers questions
  • Serves as primary point of contact between QLess and Sundance Square Santa matters
  • Contacts QLess Customer Service in case of issues with electronic line, seeks quick resolution and tracks progress
  • Provides regular review of daily interactions with customers and maintains copies of communication with QLess for recordkeeping and recognizing opportunities for improvement.
  • Manages customer expectations and interacts with customers.
  • Be available to work November 16 & 17 and then Wednesday – Sunday from Thanksgiving to Christmas.


  • Energetic, outgoing, customer-oriented personality
  • Ability to engage customers in a courteous, helpful, and respectful manner
  • Able to learn and adapt to current technology needs and communicate changes with others
  • Proficiency with Apple products (iPad), familiarity with using apps and basic computer skills
  • Able to think quickly on the spot to answer customer questions
  • Physical demands include: standing for prolonged periods of time, outdoors
  • Spanish is a plus
  • Exercise flexibility and patience in difficult situations
  • Composure and ability to handle stress
  • Ability to multitask, provide attention to detail and proactively solve problems
  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Act in a manner of integrity that shows support for Fort Worth Sister Cities International & Sundance Square, its values and employees, while meeting customer expectations

COMPENSATION: $15/hour with time and a half for hours over 40 each week

EXPERIENCE: 3+ years Client Services Coordination or retail shop management

If interested, send resume and cover letter to

Humility & Respect

Editorial by President/CEO Mae Ferguson

Featured in Rotary Club of Fort Worth newsletter


Imagine that you have a crucial building project that will vastly change things for the better and your boss has assigned a partner to assist you. This partner has strengths that will compliment your areas of expertise and vice versa, but there is a problem; you only understand how to create triangles and your partner only understands how to create circles. How would you proceed? How would you find a common language so that you could achieve your goal?

As unlikely as this scenario might seem, it is not so different from attempting to conduct business with those in other countries. Often businesses, civic groups, religious institutions and even charities face challenges when working with people from different cultures. The most obvious barrier is language, but in many ways that barrier is the easiest to overcome.

There are often more important nuances to consider, such as: how do they like to be greeted, what conversational topics are taboo, what is customary in terms of giving gifts, what are their dining preferences, what is their viewpoint on doing business with women, what are their religious customs, what are their expectations on attire, what are their business customs, do they shake hands, bow or kiss?

Does conducting international business or traveling for leisure now seem more daunting when you are facing those questions? Technology has made it easier to conduct business worldwide. Companies sell to clients all over the world and dealing with different cultures can be tricky. But, it need not be.

Protocol training provides tools to help navigate these waters by respectfully considering these cultural nuances and familiarizing others to work within them. Training is needed for companies, civic groups, churches, individuals, and non-profit organizations to make international business and leisure travel easier and more engaging and successful.

In order to host international visitors and provide the best possible experience for their guests, companies will focus on specific nuances of different cultures for their training such as proper pronunciations, conversational topics, dining etiquette, potential pitfalls, how to make introductions properly, how to greet properly, the importance of punctuality and receiving and reading business cards.

As a certified protocol officer, I regularly consult with various groups to discover needs, goals and intent. Protocol trainings are customizable and tailored to the needs of any company, group, individual or organization all with a desired outcome of – mutual understanding and respect of other cultures and good international relations for all.

A quote I regularly use during trainings comes from Dorothea Johnson, who is the founder of the Protocol School of Washington who says, “The soul of politeness is not a question of rules but tranquility, humility and simplicity.”

In essence, the heart of protocol is caring enough to go the extra mile to ensure that you are presenting yourself, your company, your city or country respectfully, and it goes beyond that. It is caring enough to be open to receive the beauty that other cultures are waiting to share with you. When viewed through that lens, protocol becomes so much more than a set of rules or code of conduct. It truly is the Rosetta Stone that unlocks the power of international relations.

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.

How to contact your council representative>>

Sample letter/email>>

Talking points>>

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.