New Fort Worth Connection Possible With South America

Fort Worth, Texas – Sister Cities delegation visits Argentina and Uruguay

A delegation of 17 will visit Argentina and Uruguay May 3-12 on an eight-day exploratory mission to learn more about the two countries and to promote Fort Worth. The delegation consists of representatives from business, education and finance sectors.

While there the delegation will visit Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Special meetings are set at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In Buenos Aires, the group will meet with newly appointed Ambassador Edward Prado. Delegates plan to discuss current issues in the region and how US citizens can connect on a diplomatic level.

“We are exploring a new part of the world and learning about Argentina and Uruguay,” said Cindy Johnson, Sister Cities board member. “Pursuing new relationships like these is needed now more than ever. There is tremendous potential to grow a global movement of citizens committed to deepening ties in the face of forces pulling us apart.”

The delegation will be led by Director Emerita Mary Palko; board members Cindy Johnson, Frank Tilley and Melissa Thompson; and Mae Ferguson, President/CEO. Other delegates include Connie Beck, Kathryn and Lowell Bryan, Becky Finley, Roland Johnson, Janet Lane, Joe Michels, Wanda Murphy, Barbara Ryon, Sally Sims, Terri and Gary West, and Julie Wilson.

Other missions to connect Fort Worth internationally are planned this year to Mexico and France. To learn more about these opportunities, contact Danielle McCown at 817-632-7100 or

Sister Cities on Educational Mission to Jordan

Fort Worth, Texas – Delegation visits Jordan to find connections

Twelve delegates will depart Fort Worth March 27 on a twelve-day educational mission to Jordan to learn more about the country and to promote Fort Worth. The delegation will consist of representatives from business, education, and law sectors.

While there the delegation will visit Amman, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, and Petra.

Special meetings are set with Deputy Chief of Mission Henry Wooster at the U.S. Embassy; H.E. Mr. Akel Biltaji, current mayor of Amman and former advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II; Eng. Ziad Al Rihani, Vice Chairman of the Amman Municipal Committee; the Amman Chamber of Commerce; and individual businesses. Delegates plan to discuss current issues in Jordan and how the U.S. and Fort Worth could benefit from partnerships. The group will also visit several schools including a school for the deaf.

“We are exploring a new part of the world and learning about Jordan,” said Veronica Chavez Law, Chair-Elect of Fort Worth Sister Cities. “Pursuing new relationships like these is needed now more than ever. There is tremendous potential to grow a global movement of citizens committed to deepening ties in the face of forces pulling us apart.”

The delegation will be led by Veronica Chavez Law, Chair-Elect; Tim Quigley, Chairman of the Board of Sister Cities International; and Mae Ferguson, President/CEO. Other delegates include: Paul Geisel, Bandung Chair; Tom Law, Jr., Reggio Emilia Chair; Pat Miller, Long Range Planning Chair; and Ann Rice, Past Chair.

Other missions to connect Fort Worth internationally are planned this year to France, Swaziland, and Canada. To learn more about these opportunities, contact Danielle McCown at 817/632-7100 or

Sister Cities Makes $14 Million Impact On City

Fort Worth, Texas – New study just released out of Washington, DC

economic impactSister city partnerships have long been praised for their cultural benefit, but a new study suggests that citizen diplomacy and the exchange it fosters can mean real money for cities and their partners.

Presented at Sister Cities International’s annual conference in Washington, DC last month, the study observed the impact of travel and tourism, foreign investments from sister cities, spending by students and adults coming for exchange programs, impact of volunteers, in-kind donations and more.

Fort Worth was chosen along with Nashville, Tenn. and Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in the pilot study by ValueIdeas, which boosters say could help provide a better picture of the value international ties bring to cities. Fort Worth has 8 sister-city relationships around the world that provide vibrant educational, cultural and commercial exchanges.

Averaging data collected from sister-city committees, as well as private and government sources over a three-year period, the study determined that Fort Worth saw $14 million in “direct and indirect” economic impact in 2016, most of which came from travel and tourism.

The findings come as the Fort Worth mayor’s office seeks to partner with sister cities to further its economic development goals, even while maintaining their tradition of cultural exchange. Fort Worth and Reggio Emilia, a more than 30-year partnership, are researching possible entrepreneurial exchanges next year.

The study estimated that the impact of Sister Cities International-related exchanges on the U.S. economy, network-wide, is $525 million.

Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors Visit Japan

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

Mr. Hara & students in NagaokaSince 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 exchange. In return, the families of these Fort Worth students host students and teachers from Nagaoka in their homes for a reciprocal exchange.

This program and all the scholarships have been funded by the Hara family and Harashin Co. Ltd. of Nagaoka. For 25 years, it is estimated that over $2 million has been generously donated for this program.

Harashin scholars include: Sarah Alexander, Matthew Aufiero, Juan Cervantes, Claire-Lise Greve, Tabitha Kaiser, Jack Henry, Campbell Robinson, Alexander Roemer, and delegation leaders Kimberly Tezak-Daus and James Gleaton.

sundance squareAll 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.

Exchange programs are a key element in the overall programs of Fort Worth Sister Cities International and this unique opportunity for students is no exception. The students depart July 26 for a week long exchange and the Japanese students will be in Fort Worth August 9-17.

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. This is done as citizen diplomats and gives students a better understanding of other cultures providing them an international education only these programs can offer.

Sister Cities Partners with Tarrant County College For Global Educators Workshop

Fort Worth, TX– Teachers from nine countries to participate   

IMG_9588Fort Worth Sister Cities International is partnering with Tarrant County College (TCC) for the 4th Global Educators Workshop on July 26.  Educators from nine countries will participate offering diverse perspectives from around the world.

The one-day conference held at the TCC South Campus is $45 and participants will receive six hours of continuing professional education credits, lunch, resources, and an opportunity to network with educators from around the world.

IMG_9773 - CopySpeakers will include Glenda Redeemer, Manager of Chronic Disease Prevention Division at Tarrant County Public Health Dept. and Dr. Staussa Ervin, Ed.D, Professor of Psychology at Tarrant County College and owner of MindPeace Integrated Psychotherapy. The day will also include an overview of the educational systems in China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Swaziland.

The goals of the conference are to engage the educators in interactive dialogue, hear from teachers with success stories, learn how educators connect in other cultures, network and plan, and make lasting professional friendships.

For more information and to make your reservation, please contact Danielle at 817/632-7100 or go online at .

International Students Attend Leadership Academies

Fort Worth, TX: Building a Culture of Health Theme of Academies

group photo sillySince 1989, the award-winning International Leadership Academy (ILA) has brought young people from Fort Worth’s sister cities to the area to discuss pressing global issues. This year, nearly 150 participants will converge at TCU July 16 – 31 to share their cultures and learn more about leadership.

Students from Fort Worth, China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Swaziland will be in Fort Worth for this two-week program. The Academy’s goal is to increase communication and leadership skills through team-building, problem-solving, and sharing cultures.

community center 19Participants 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 and a community service project.

students making funny facesThis year marks the 12th year of ILA’s middle school program, Jr. International Leadership Academy (JILA) held July 11—15. College students from Toluca, Mexico and Mbabane, Swaziland will serve as facilitators as the Fort Worth students discuss the same issues as their high school counterparts. The students will experience cultural presentations and interaction with high school students from Mexico and Swaziland gaining an international perspective.

“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 ceremonies for ILA take place on July 31, 10:00 a.m. at TCU’s Ed Landreth Auditorium and are open to the public.

Sister Cities to Hold Conversation on Refugee Crisis

Fort Worth, Texas – Refugee resettlement in Fort Worth to be discussed 

The Fort Worth community is invited to participate in a conversation on the current world refugee crisis on April 28 from at 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus, Room Action A 4202.  The event is free and open to the public but reservations are required at

Manochehr Dorraj
Dr. Monochehr Dorraj

The event will include an analysis of the refugee crisis by Dr. Monochehr Dorraj, Professor of Political Science at TCU.  A panel discussion will follow on how refugees are affecting our sister cities of Budapest, Hungary; Reggio Emilia, Italy; and Trier, Germany.

The evening will also include an overview of the current situation in Fort Worth.  This information will be presented by the directors from Refugee Services of Texas speaking about how refugees are being resettled in Fort Worth.

Our keynote speaker, Manochehr Dorraj, received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Dorraj is a frequent commentator on global affairs in general and Middle East politics in particular. He has granted numerous interviews to international, national, and local media.

For more information and to make your reservation, please contact Beth Weibel at


Sister Cities Announces First Global Awards Recipients 

Chaired by former Mayor Kenneth Barr, the selection committee of Fort Worth’s first Global Awards, bringing recognition to Fort Worth as an international city, were announced today.  The recipients include:

THE GLOBAL IMPACT AWARD U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger THE GLOBAL CITIZENS AWARD Black Ecumenical Leaders Alliance THE GLOBAL NEXUS AWARD Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

The inaugural Global Awards honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have made significant contributions to global understanding, world political stability and international trade to solve health, economic, social or environmental challenges.

Congresswoman Kay Granger will be presented the Global Impact Award at the Mayor’s International Dinner April 16, 2015 in recognition of her efforts to support and promote Fort Worth abroad, her international impact through her work in Congress, and her commitment to public service.

“Congresswoman Granger has been a vocal advocate in revitalizing Fort Worth and helping to make it the first class city it is today,” said Jeff King, Chair of Sister Cities’ Mayor’s International Dinner where the awards will be presented.

The Black Ecumenical Leaders Alliance will receive the Global Citizenship Award.  This award is given to organizations that are connected globally and are good representatives of Fort Worth creating a positive view of the U.S. through educational, humanitarian or cultural initiatives.

The Global Nexus Award will be presented to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.  This award recognizes businesses that are connected globally and are good representatives of Fort Worth to the world creating commerce and a healthier community for all.

“Fort Worth is an increasingly global community, and with that comes the responsibility to connect with international partners to exchange information, ideas and economic opportunity. No one is better at creating and nurturing international relationships than Fort Worth Sister Cities.”

– Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Honorary Board Chair, Sister Cities Fort Worth


Fort Worth, Texas – Michael Bennett to lead international efforts New officers  of Fort Worth Sister Cities International elected at the recent annual meeting are Board Chair, Michael Bennett of Bennett Benner Partners; Chair-Elect Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square; Secretary, Eva Bonilla; and Treasurer, Mike Thomas, Inwood Bank. New board members include: Hannah Behrens, Gary Brinkley, Veronica Chavez Law, Michael Parker, Renee Permann, Michael Jacobsson, Greg Jackson, Lu Pham, and Anette Soto. Sister Cities also recognized individuals and businesses for outstanding service. The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau was awarded the Eisenhower Award for Organizational Involvement. Phil Moroneso was awarded the prestigious Bob Bolen Award for Outstanding Board Leadership and Kalkidan Alemu was awarded the Yamagata Emerging Leaders Scholarship. Youth Volunteer of the Year also went to Kalkidan Alemu and Volunteer of the Year to Officer Daniel Segura and Detective Manny Reyes. Other elected members include: Development Chair, Becky Renfro Borbolla; Government Relations, Michael Hyatt; Marketing, Kara Peterson; Program & Exchanges, Dr. Staussa Ervin; At-Large members Travis DeVault, James Meintjes and Mary Jo Polidore, Bandung Chair, Nancy Lopez; Budapest, Greg Jackson; Guiyang, Renee Permann; Mbabane, Rae Hyatt; Nagaoka, Ronda Stucker; Reggio Emilia, Mark & Robin Nurdin; and Toluca, Richard Casarez and Asusena Resendiz. “We have many things to look forward to in 2015. We’re going to Swaziland, Italy and Canada; we’re welcoming Trier, Germany’s new mayor to Fort Worth; partnering with the Chamber of Commerce on a trade mission from Toluca, Mexico; and we have over 200 students going to our sister cities on educational and sports exchanges,” said Michael Bennett. “We do this because we’re citizen diplomats connecting Fort Worth globally. We care what the world thinks about the U.S. and we want to know more about them.”

Fort Worth Youth Ambassadors Selected

Harashin Scholars in Nagaoka, Japan

Sixty-five Fort Worth students recently completed a vigorous selection process and have been selected to represent the City of Fort Worth as Ambassadors to Fort Worth’s sister cities.

Youth Ambassador exchanges provide a global education for students giving them the opportunity to explore history and experience languages, culture and arts of the country they visit. Students live with host families to develop an understanding of the culture and its traditions during exchanges that range from 9 to 14 days.

The selection process includes written essays, teacher recommendations, report cards and in-person interviews conducted by the teachers who lead the delegations abroad. This year’s Ambassadors represent students from FWISD, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, and several private schools. Scholarship assistance of nearly $80,000 is awarded annually ensuring a diverse group of students and teachers who will represent Fort Worth.

On exchanges students develop relationships with students from other countries and gain essential skills to be successful in a global society. “Selection of Youth Ambassadors is a very competitive process and we feel we have an outstanding class to represent Fort Worth and the U.S. next year,” said Dr. Staussa Ervin, Chair of the Programs and Exchanges committee of Fort Worth Sister Cities.

The 2015 exchanges are scheduled for March, June, and July to Italy, Hungary, Japan, China, and Indonesia.