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.

Kazakh Leaders Examine Libraries and Community Centers in Fort Worth

Fort Worth, TX — The Open World Leadership Center, an agency of the U.S. Congress, will send a delegation of Kazakh librarians to Fort Worth, TX from June 14-23, 2019. The delegation consists of six professionals and will be accompanied by a bicultural facilitator and an interpreter. While in Fort Worth, the Open World program participants will be hosted by Fort Worth Sister Cities International.

Prior to their arrival in Fort Worth the participants will complete an orientation in Washington, D.C. Delegates will have policy meetings with Members of Congress and their staff.

In Fort Worth, delegates will collaborate on best practices for libraries and community centers with staff and local leaders in Fort Worth. Additional activities include visits to several Fort Worth public libraries, Texas Christian University, and the UNT Health Science Center. The delegation will stay in the homes of Fort Worth residents who serve as hospitality hosts.

More than 27,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in the Open World program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.


Founded in 1999 by Congress, the Open World Leadership Center maintains a vast network of more than 28,000 alumni in strategic countries including Russia, Ukraine, and others in the Balkans, Caucuses, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Open World supports legislative diplomacy efforts for Members of Congress by conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between emerging leaders and their U.S. counterparts. Program participants are provided with extensive exposure to American politics, accountable governance, and citizen diplomacy, while being home hosted by American families. To learn more about Open World, please visit

Mayor’s International Dinner & Global Awards Announced for 2017

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities honors global award winners & donors

Mayor Betsy Price and Dinner Chairs Becky & Henry Borbolla will lead the annual Mayor’s International Dinner on June 1 at the Omni Hotel as Sister Cities honors individuals, businesses, and organizations that have made significant contributions to citizen diplomacy, global understanding, world political stability, and international commerce.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will be awarded the Global Nexus Award recognizing businesses that are connected globally and are good representatives of Fort Worth to the world creating commerce and a healthier community for all.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth will receive the Global Citizens Award which is given to organizations that are connected globally and are good representatives of Fort Worth to the world creating a positive view of the U.S. through educational, humanitarian, or cultural initiatives.

“Much of our work encompasses our call to ‘welcome the stranger,’ and we are honored that this award not only reflects our passion to serve the vulnerable and marginalized, but also that it gives a platform and a voice to those who have become our neighbors here in Fort Worth,” said Heather Reynolds, President & CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth. “We are committed to work within the laws of our land and in conjunction with our city to continue to show what global citizenship can be when we partner together- a mutually beneficial experience.”

Bob Jameson, President and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau will be honored with the Global Impact Award. This honor is given to individuals who have made significant efforts to promote Fort Worth globally and establish international partnerships. 

The dinner is made possible by the Members Circle which is comprised of individuals, businesses, and organizations who support the mission of Sister Cities with a financial contribution. For more information about the Members Circle, please visit If you would like to attend the dinner or get involved with the Members Circle, please contact Katie Wharry at 817-632-7101 or

Expert to Discuss U.S.-Japan Security Alliance

FORT WORTH, TX – Sister Cities and Fort Worth Chamber team up on global security discussion

Fort Worth Sister Cities International and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce invite you to join Ret. Colonel Grant Newsham, senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, for a talk on the crucial U.S.-Japan security alliance and the challenges the new administration may face in the region.  Time will also be given for discussion surrounding this issue following Newsham’s presentation.

Newsham will address the changing relationship with Japan militarily in the western pacific region and its impact, as well as what the U.S. can do moving forward with its international partners.

“Mr. Newsham’s talk is particularly relevant, given President Trump’s recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their reaffirmation of mutual commitment towards political, military, and economic support for each other,” said Dr. Michael Roemer, Director of Global Initiatives at Trinity Valley School and the Nagaoka, Japan Chair for Fort Worth Sister Cities.

Newsham’s research focuses on Asia/Pacific defense and political and economic matters. He was the first U.S. Marine Liaison Officer to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. He previously served at Marine Forces Pacific Headquarters in Honolulu and has served twice as the U.S. Marine Attaché, U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

“Fort Worth is fortunate to have a guest of Colonel Newsham’s caliber to inform the community about current U.S./Japan relations,” said Melonye Whitson, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President of Economic Development. “Educating Fort Worth residents and businesses about the value of multi-cultural relationships prepares them for a global world economy.”

The luncheon will be held February 28 in the Fort Worth Camelia Room. Tickets can be purchased until February 24 at or by calling the Sister Cities’ office at 817/632-7100.

German Connections on the Rise

Fort Worth, Texas – Business and educational opportunities abound 

Fort Worth City Manager, David Cooke, and Fort Worth Sister Cities International Chair, Johnny Campbell of Sundance Square, recently returned from an economic, cultural, and diplomatic mission to Trier, Germany, along with a delegation of eighteen.

The focus of the delegation visit included: (1) Municipal and governmental connections for economic growth (2) Small business connections (3) Education on the refugee crisis in Germany and (4) Connecting Trier and Fort Worth through health-related activities such as Fit Worth and Blue Zones.

“Fort Worth is committed to growing educational, business, and cultural connections with our partners around the world and we know this is needed now more than ever.  We must nurture these relationships to grow them,” said Campbell.

A presentation focusing on the results of the mission and next steps will be made by Campbell and Hannah Behrens, Trier Committee Chair, Feb. 7 at the Fort Worth City Council meeting at City Hall beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Trier was signed as Fort Worth’s second sister city in 1987.  This partnership has resulted in many programs including: high school and university exchanges; partnerships with artists participating in Main Street Arts Festival; exchanges with the Fort Worth Fire Dept.; internships in the Sister Cities’ office, as well as local law firms; cultural exchanges; and hunting expeditions into the mountains of Germany and across the plains of Texas.

Trier Mayor Leibe and an official delegation will visit Fort Worth Oct. 1 – 5, 2017 to continue the progress made by the Fort Worth team.  To learn more or to get involved, call Danielle McCown at 817/632-7100 or


Fort Worth To Celebrate 5th Anniversary With Chinese Partner

Fort Worth, Texas – Mayor Pro Tem Espino leading group to China  

Guiyang, ChinaFort Worth Mayor Pro Tem Sal Espino will lead a delegation of twenty Fort Worth Ambassadors to Guiyang, China June 11-19 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the partnership as sister cities.

07 - Baby Miao, a Chinese ethnic minority...she is a global thinker alreadyThe exchange will consist of three nights in Guiyang, visiting local sites of interest as well as an official commemoration of the establishment of the partnership at city hall and a celebration banquet following. The exchange will also include a visit to Beijing to see the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and a tour of the Forbidden City as well as a visit to Shanghai. 

“Fort Worth is eager to recommit to this important relationship with Guiyang and looks forward to many more beneficial exchanges between our two cities.  Together, Fort Worth and Guiyang, hope to create a better understanding of our individual cultures. There are many similarities and many differences we will be able to share,” said Mayor Pro Tem Espino.

grp photo_nice scenaryThe group will also include Youth Ambassadors who will be home hosted while in Guiyang. Fort Worth and Guiyang have developed a strong reciprocal youth program with students visiting each other’s cities annually. Fort Worth will be hosting fifteen Chinese students at its International Leadership Academy in July.

Guiyang is Fort Worth’s eighth sister city and the 124th U.S. city to form a partnership in China.

Cuban Ambassador to Speak On Emerging Cuba

Fort Worth, Texas – Sister Cities and TCU Alumni to Lead Conversation

The Fort Worth community is invited to a presentation sponsored by Fort Worth Sister Cities International and TCU Alumni on Emerging Cuba, May 16, noon at TCU’s Kelly Alumni Center. The event is open to the public and tickets can be secured at

headshotThe event will include an analysis of US and Cuban relations by Ambassador Carlos Alzugaray Treto, former Cuban Ambassador to the European Union and currently Professor at the University of Havana.

Ambassador Alzugaray is visiting Fort Worth by invitation of the Fort Worth Sister Cities group that visited Cuba in January.

unesco-world-heritage-cuba-trinidad-valle-lose-ingenios-002.jpg.rend.tccom.1280.960“The briefing we received from Ambassador Alzugaray while we were in Cuba was both insightful and educational. We are happy to host him in Fort Worth to further the understanding between our two countries,” said Mae Ferguson, President/CEO of Sister Cities who led the group to Cuba.

cuba photoBefore becoming a full-time scholar, Ambassador Alzugaray spent thirty-five years as a Foreign Service Officer, being posted at Cuban diplomatic and consular missions. He is also the author of more than thirty publications on Cuban international relations.

For more information and to make your reservation, please contact Danielle at 871/632-7106 or

Sister Cities Leads Group to Cuba

Fort Worth, Texas – Delegation visits Cuba on educational mission

cuba photoTwenty-six Fort Worth Sister Cities International delegates will depart Friday on an eight day educational mission to Cuba to learn more about the country and to promote Fort Worth. The delegation will consist of representatives from the business, education, arts and tourism sectors.

While there the delegation will visit Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, the Viñales Valley and Havana.

unesco-world-heritage-cuba-trinidad-valle-lose-ingenios-002.jpg.rend.tccom.1280.960Special meetings are set with the U.S. Embassy staff in Havana to discuss the current political climate of the country. While in Havana the delegation will also meet with Professor Carlos Alzugaray Treto on U.S./Cuba Relations. Professor Alzugaray is the Former Cuban Ambassador to the European Union and former Director of the Institute of Foreign Relations in Havana.

“Fort Worth is looking for new opportunities to connect with the world. We are not actively seeking a new sister city at this time but a city in Cuba could be a possibility in the future,” said Michael Bennett, Board Chair. “With diplomatic relations now established between the U.S. and Cuba and travel restrictions being lifted soon, a relationship with Cuba could be of benefit to Fort Worth residents.”

unesco-world-heritage-cuba-valle-de-vinales-pinar-rio-province-005.jpg.rend.tccom.1280.960Sister Cities is working with Cuba Cultural Travel, an operator under a “People to People” license required by the U.S. Dept. of Treasury who sets regulations for any American citizen wishing to travel to Cuba.

The delegation will be led by Fort Worth Sister Cities board members Mike and Rae Hyatt, Ann Rice, and President/CEO Mae Ferguson.

Ambassador Educators to Represent Fort Worth

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities selects leaders for international youth exchangesDLs at crater

Twelve delegation leaders from area schools and organizations were recently selected to lead youth exchanges to five of Fort Worth’s sister cities next year.  Nearly 100 local students will be interviewed for approx. 80 slots on the exchanges starting Nov. 2, 2015.

Ambassador Educators selected to represent Fort Worth abroad are:

Spring exchanges March 12-20, 2016
  • Reggio Emilia, Italy: Sandy Yeandle, Daggett Montessori & Vicki Delgado, Leonard MS
  • Trier, Germany: Marvin Vann Griffith, Southwest HS & Beth Weibel, Sr. Program Manager, Fort Worth Sister Cities
  • Budapest, Hungary: Jay Kurima, FWISD TABS & Ana Castenada, South Hills High School
  • Toluca, Mexico: Nathan Henderson, Stripling Middle School & Rachel Jenkins, UTA
Summer exchanges June 10-August 4, 2016
  • Guiyang, China, June 10-19:  Tracey Cravens, Northside HS & Cindy Vasquez, City of FW
  • Nagaoka, Japan, June 22-July 1: Kathy Roemer, Fort Worth Country Day & Maria Saucedo, World Languages Institute
  • Nagaoka, Japan: July 27-August 4: Kimberly Tezak-Daus, Diamond Hill Jarvis High School & James Gleaton, Paschal High School

“International exchanges give students possibly their first opportunity to travel abroad, which is almost always described as a life-changing experience. Without these amazing teachers and professionals to lead the students through sometimes difficult and unfamiliar circumstances, this would not be possible,” said Michael Bennett, Chairman of the Board of Sister Cities.

Local educators benefit greatly from travel abroad programs.  They have the opportunity to develop their craft by being exposed to different people and cultures, gain leadership skills by mentoring students outside the classroom, network with international educators, and travel to rich and interesting cultures.

Fort Worth Sole USA Representative at Italian Sports Games

Fort Worth, TX – Sister Cities fielding youth sports teams.

In its ongoing efforts to promote Fort Worth globally and provide opportunities to enhance the understanding and awareness of different cultures on a global basis, Fort Worth Sister Cities International will be sending nearly 100 student athletes, coaches, and staff to the Giochi Tricolore Sports Games in Reggio Emilia, Italy August 24-31, 2015.

The games create a chance for young people to convey a positive impression of American youth to other people from around the world participating in the event.

“By not only visiting a foreign country, but living with and competing against nearly 5,000 young athletes from around the world, our Sports Ambassadors will undoubtedly learn that they have much more in common with the other participants than what separates them,” Fort Worth Sister Cities Chairman Michael Bennett said. “These are the types of experiences that help these young people shape their understanding and acceptance of people from other cultures.”

The Youth Ambassadors and coaches representing Fort Worth 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 programs sponsored by Sister Cities have such a broad appeal by offering international experiences you can’t get as casual tourists,” said Fort Worth Sister Cities Sports Games Chair Pam Lea. “The student athletes will remember this trip for the rest of their lives.”

The Sports Games are held every four years in Reggio Emilia, Italy with Fort Worth being the only city in the U.S. invited to participate. Teams participating are girls basketball, girls volleyball, girls and boys swimming, and two boys baseball teams.

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