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.

Architectural Program from Mexico Partnering Locally

Fort Worth, TX – Visiting delegation hosted by Sister Cities

Fort Worth Sister Cities International will host a delegation of architecture students from the prestigious campus of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Fort Worth’s sister city of Toluca, Mexico.

Architectural engineering students and their professor will be in Fort Worth for a mentorship program April 13-20.

While in Fort Worth, the group will visit several businesses and universities to learn about the variety of potential careers in their chosen field, and to learn about the sciences behind those fields. The students will also learn about various structures throughout Fort Worth, known for their unique architecture.

Students will visit: Bennett Benner Partners, Huitt-Zollars, Tarrant County College, Fort Worth Central Library, Tarrant County Courthouse, Trinity River Vision Authority, Freese and Nichols, Texas and Pacific Station, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

“Educational and professional exchanges are integral to the strength of Fort Worth’s global partnerships. These kinds of exchanges enhance local companies’ reach into global markets while at the same time creating stronger ties with our neighbors to the South,” said Toluca Chair Florence Bruner.

In their free time, the group will visit sites such as Sundance Square, the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and AT&T Stadium.

To show the group our Texas hospitality, they will be home hosted by community leaders.

If you are interested in home hosting in the future, please contact Beth Weibel with Fort Worth Sister Cities International at beth@fwsistercities.org.

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

Nov. 1 – Dec. 24, 2019

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.

SUPERVISORY DIMENSIONS: Volunteers

EXTERNAL CONTACTS: General public and Sundance Square customers

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

RESPONSIBILITIES & ROUTINE DUTIES:

  • 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.

DESIRED SKILLS & EXPERTISE

  • 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 katie@fwsistercities.org.

Humility & Respect

Editorial by President/CEO Mae Ferguson

Featured in Rotary Club of Fort Worth newsletter

Mae

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.

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.

Sister Cities Hiring Part-Time Leadership Academy Coordinator

Fort Worth Sister Cities is hiring a part-time Leadership Academy Coordinator to manage the International Leadership Academy (ILA) and Jr. International Leadership Academy (JILA).

The International Leadership Academy is a dynamic summer leadership programs bringing Fort Worth students together with students from our Sister Cities in China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Swaziland.

Jr. ILA is open to sixth- through eighth-grade students and focuses on cultural understanding taught by international college students from Mexico and Swaziland who have participated in previous ILA programs.

If interested, please email resume and cover letter to beth@fwsistercities.org

Job Description

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. Must be able to prioritize and handle projects from start to finish. Visual and mental concentration is necessary for working at computer for extended periods of time and tolerating frequent interruptions while performing tasks.

Key Activities

(1) Work with leadership and staff on all aspects of ILA/JILA

(2) Recruit, train and supervise Fort Worth and international interns

(3) Oversee management and acquisition of all supplies

(4) Assist leaders with pre-Academy training sessions for local students

(5) Oversee arrival/departure of all international participants

(6) Oversee successful home hosting experiences for international delegates

(6) Provide 24/7 on-call service during ILA

The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of the position. Employees holding this position will be required to perform any other job-related duties as requested by management. All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with a disability.

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 https://www.fwsistercities.org/event/us-japan-security-alliance/ 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 danielle@fwsistercities.org.

 

Global Connections Thrive in Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth Sister Cities International Kicks Off 2017 Members Circle Campaign 

Led by Bob Jameson, 2017 Campaign Chair and President of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 2017 Members Circle 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 at the Omni Hotel on June 1.

Due to the generosity of corporate and individual donors, Sister Cities is starting the year with $180,925 in Members Circle commitments and is on its way to meeting a $400,000 goal.  This early support comes from Sundance Square, as the Platinum member; the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rae & Michael Hyatt, and Texas Health Resources as Premier members; Bennett Benner Partners, and Linebarger Goggan Blair & Simpson, LLP as Global members; Alcon, Cook Children’s, The Law Office of Greg Jackson, Mary Palko and Tarrant County College as Presidential members; as well as 100% of the Sister Cities’ board of directors and many others.

After a very successful 2016, Fort Worth Sister Cities continues to promote Fort Worth globally and enrich the local community through international education, exchange and commerce.  “We had a warm welcome from the community last year and loved sharing our story with a record number of people,” said Johnny Campbell, Board Chairman. “Our business is people-to-people relationships.  We do it well and want to do even more to benefit Fort Worth.”

Funding and in-kind support from the City of Fort Worth (4% of Sister Cities’ total budget) plays a key role in Sister Cities’ mission, but most work is made possible through public support like that received through the Members Circle.

To support Fort Worth Sister Cities and join the 2017 Members Circle, contact Katie Wharry at 817-632-7101 or katie@fwsistercities.org.