August 29th, 2006
Houston, TX – Sister Cities of Houston received the 50th Anniversary Award from Sister Cities International. The award recognized Houston’s sister city program for its long term sustainability of sister city relationships as well as a tangible commitment to the Sister Cities International mission. Program components include volunteer leadership, local government involvement, community involvement, and number and quality of programs that emphasize role of community members as leaders in diplomacy.
Local volunteers Harry Gee, Wolfgang Schmidt and Angelika Schmidt-Lange received the Circle of Distinguished Volunteers Award from Sister Cities International. All awards were distributed at the Sister Cities International annual conference in Washington, D.C. last month.
Sister city pairings are official relationships ratified by the mayors and city councils of the respective cities. Houston’s sister city program is run by volunteers who form 16 associations and the umbrella organization Sister Cities of Houston, Inc. The Sister Cities program develops intercultural understanding and promotes international trade and commerce, economic development and tourism.
The sister cities movement was launched in 1956 when President Eisenhower proposed linking American cities with cities in other countries to exchange people, ideas and cultures. President Eisenhower’s goal was to involve individuals at all levels of U.S. society in personal diplomacy in the hope that these people-to-people relations would lessen the chance of future world conflicts.
The Houston International Protocol Alliance, a department of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, serves as the City’s administrator of the sister cities program. More information about Houston’s sister city program can be found at houstonprotocol.com.