Sister Cities International

Bonjour – Howdy: Why The Sister City Relationship Does Matter

In a global and digital world, a sister city relationship also known as “twinning” may seem outdated. Guess what, it does matters because it puts cultural understanding and mutual respect at the center. Despite their differences, the people of the world come together into “One Community.” This is the advent of the “Citizen Diplomacy.”

The Sister City Relationship Does Matter

President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International at the 1956 White House summit on citizen diplomacy as a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Ike “envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world.”

The Dallas-Dijon sister city relationship illustrates this mindset. In the words of Canon Kir, the Deputy Mayor of Dijon during the 1957 celebration, “France offered its friendship to Dallas.” A few weeks later, he wrote a vibrant letter to Stanley Marcus: “Be assured that you will find a hearty welcome, in a town which, though they are differences in proportions, has a likeliness with Dallas,” (November 12, 1957).

With a population of over 1.281M versus 255,000 for the “Grand Dijon” metroplex, Dallas is way bigger than Dijon. Wait, Dijon is also way older than “Big D,” something like 18 centuries older. Dijon dates back to 270 with the first Roman Castrum. Take today’s bold and powerful Dallas body and mix it up with a steadily growing historical soul. There is here a chemistry to capture.

Do you remember your foreign penpal from high school? Or middle school student exchange programs? At the scale of a city, the sister city relationship celebrates what we have in common. Most importantly it provides us the golden opportunity to cherish our differences.

One Community At Your Fingertips

Say bye bye to the New World – Old World cliché. Welcome to One World!  

Today Dallas prides herself on many sister cities relationships, from both the Old and the New Worlds, that’s the beauty of it.

With the surge of new technologies and social media, these once long distance relationships are now at your fingertips. Taipei in Taiwan, Saratov in Russia, Monterrey in Mexico are some of the names of Dallas’ sisters. Think about the diversity within the clan. If you are thinking about extending the family, find the right match by taking a closer look at potential domestic sister cities. It is now possible thanks to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank to focus on “cities experiencing similar trends and challenges.”

Today more than ever, our democratic values are at stake locally and globally.  It is why the Sister Cities’ International mission “to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time,” is as crucial today as it was yesterday.

The Sister City Relationship Marks The Advent of “Citizen Diplomacy”

The sister city relationship allows us to forget our national borders for a moment and instead engage as citizens of the world; through arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade. Add waves of laughter and cries to the mix. These are all the ingredients of a great relationship.

The magic of the internet helps us make the world feel much smaller. However, people-to-people interactions, one individual at a time, remain indispensable. It is where the advent of the “Citizen Diplomacy” comes into play. The network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats. It represents over 2,000 partnerships in 145 countries on six continents. Imagine private citizens, business leaders, and city officials experiencing projects and sharing stories. This is how the world feels much happier.

“Citizen Diplomacy” through sister city relationship is leading the way to meaningful paths of collaboration. It empowers the human star to shine even brighter, higher above national frontiers and continents, in the peaceful sky of our future.

Convinced, excited, or skeptical? Please share this blog or comment.

Learn more about the history of the creation of Dijon at Divio.org

To find out more about Dallas-Dijon Twinning, click here.

Click here to discover the list of all Dallas sites cities.

Click here to read more about potential city prospects for Dallas.

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