Fort Worth Wins Best Program in the Nation for the 11th Time

Fort Worth Wins Best Program in the Nation for the 11th Time

2023-07-28 11:01

Fort Worth, Texas has won the Sister Cities International 2022 Best Overall Program Award and the Innovation in Business, Trade and Professional Exchange Award for a city with a population greater than 300,000 for outstanding programming in 2022. 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.

President/CEO Mae Ferguson was also honored with the Ruth Hashimoto Award for her work for over 23 years in advancing citizen diplomacy and international exchange.

2022 was an incredible year for Fort Worth Sister Cities International. We consistently created programs that embody the mission of SCI, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation with numerous annual exchanges with our nine sister cities.

We were once again able to conduct annual adult and youth exchanges and stage our successful International Leadership Academy, a two-week global forum held in Fort Worth, uniting high school students from our sister cities with students in Fort Worth.

To secure additional revenue streams and reach other parts of the world, we received a grant from the World Learning organization to virtually home host students from Venezuela, and we reestablished important partnerships with the Congressional Office for International Leadership for professional development exchanges with the Republic of Georgia and Serbia.

We also launched the virtual roadshow series to keep our local community engaged through various cultural, educational and business topics while ramping up in-person events and activities. These activities included cooking classes and cultural celebrations like Japanese Children’s Day, as well as forums held with our European partners on the state of the economy and the affect the pandemic had on their cities and countries.

Donors make decisions on charitable donations based on the impact organizations make on the community. Anecdotal proof of success of sister city programs is not enough. With the help of the Center for Nonprofit Management, FWSCI collected data to prove that youth and adults who experience sister city programs:

  • Gain awareness of global issues
  • Can persevere in difficult situations
  • Increase their cultural competencyImprove their leadership and problem-solving skills
  • Improve their foreign language skills
  • Increase their confidence and independence

This leads to decreased stereotypes, racism, violence, and fear of other cultures, and increases empathy, creating a more peaceful world. This model can be shared with other SCI programs in the future.

This past year we focused on a new vision to create a culturally competent organization, as well as be the catalyst for the creation of an international center in Fort Worth. 2022 programs modeled everything the organization believes in: creating lifelong friendships, valuable partnerships and real-life experiences that foster peace and understanding. Through our programs, Fort Worth Sister Cities International is truly “connecting globally, thriving locally.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; and youth and education. All award winners were honored during Sister Cities International’s 2022 Annual Business Meeting held virtually and in-person on July 28, 2023.