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Charlotte Sister Cities promotes international awareness and understanding through cultural, educational, civic, and business exchanges with our international partner cities by empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to act as citizen diplomats.
Charlotte 's Sister Cities program officially began on July 24, 1978, when the City Council endorsed and established the Charlotte Sister Cities Committee (CSC). This was the result of an effort begun 16 years earlier (1962) when Mayor Stan Brookshire and the City Council established Arequipa, Per?, as Charlotte's first Sister City. Since then six other cities have partnered with us: Krefeld (Germany); Baoding (People's Republic of China); Voronezh (Russia); Limoges (France); Wroc?aw (Poland); and Kumasi (Ghana). The Charlotte Sister Cities program has received local, national and international recognition for outstanding programs and projects, and is a leading affiliate member of Sister Cities International (www.sister-cities.org). CSC has been instrumental in making the Queen City a classroom for global understanding through governmental contacts, business interactions, technical exchanges, educational trips, athletic visits and civilian communications. To support our mission, the Board of Directors, which is comprised of members appointed for two-year terms by the Mayor, the City Council and the Board itself, employs an Executive Director. Her role is to administer programs that provide enrichment, educational, medical, technical, sports or economic opportunities for interaction with internationals and the community, and to enhance Charlotte's emergence as a globally recognized city. Through its non-profit status as a 501(C)3 agency, CSC depends upon corporate and individual donations, memberships, grants, fundraising events, and city support to carry out its mission. The office is also staffed with international interns from Charlotte's Sister Cities and students from local high schools and universities. Recognizing that the future is in the hands of youth, Charlotte Sister Cities actively recruits young interns from its seven sister cities. These interns contribute immensely to the program with their commitment and diverse, fresh perspectives, giving Charlotte Sister Cities tremendous valuable experience learning new cultures. Volunteers are the life-blood of the organization. Projects, events, and trips are planned and carried out by each city committee headed by an appointed member. International exchanges sponsored by CSC are open to the public and are very affordable because living with a Host Family is an important component of the Sister City program. Likewise, almost all of Charlotte's international visitors live with Host Families during their stay, thus providing an international experience for Charlotte residents in their own homes. Additional families are always needed. In 1996 the program was honored with a "Diversity Award" by the national office. Among the most acclaimed projects is the active participation in the building of a primary school in Arequipa, the donation of several tons of children's clothing to Voronezh and the shipment of relief supplies to Wroc?aw following a devastating flood. These, however, are only a small sample of the myriad diverse endeavors implemented by the Sister Cities program in Charlotte. Today, Charlotte has relationships with:
Arequipa, Peru - 1962
Krefeld, Germany - 1985
Baoding, People's Republic of China - 1987
Voronezh, Russia - 1991
Limoges, France - 1992
Wroclaw, Poland - 1993
Kumasi, Ghana - 1999 From the special perspective shared by our global partners, we see our own growth from Queen Charlotte's namesake colonial village to the internationally recognized city we have become. We celebrate the cultures that our Sister Cities bring to us. Through the Charlotte Sister Cities program:
- Art, ideas, music and literature have taken on new accents.
- Cuisine and cultural contrasts have awakened untried tastes.
- Business and trade opportunites have emerged.
- Students of all ages have found international friends through traditional and high-tech communication and exchange programs.
- Second language skills and heritage have taken on a new meaning.
- Stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work, and solve problems together though reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical exchanges and projects;
- Create an atmosphere in which economic and community development can be implemented and strengthened;
- Develop municipal partnerships between Charlotte and similar jurisdictions in other nations;
- Provide opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships;
- Collaborate with organizations in Charlotte and other countris which share similar goals.
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