HISTORY OF SISTER CITIES INTERNATIONAL AND U.S. AFRICA SISTER CITIES FOUNDATION
Sister city, county and state affiliations between the United States and other nations began shortly after World War II and developed into a national initiative when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the people-to-people program at a White House Conference in 1956.
Sister Cities International (SCI) is the national membership organization for sister city, county, and state programs in the United States. Sister Cities International is the official agency which links communities from the United States with communities worldwide. Currently, Sister Cities International represents 522 U.S. cities, counties, and state and their 2,012 partners in 143 countries worldwide. As the premier citizen diplomacy network in the United States, Sister Cities International leads the national movement for global community partnerships and volunteer action.
D.C.-Dakar is the organizer of the U.S. Africa Sister Cities Conference. We established the Conference in 1991. It was founded because of a lack of program issues focusing on Africa. We are an advocate organization addressing issues that affect Africa and promote public awareness through our African sister cities. We help to promote friendship and better understanding, values of mutual respect, cooperation and benefit as well as encouraging a better quality of life economically, technically, and environmentally.
In 1990 at the Annual Sister Cities International (SCI) Conference in Chicago, D.C. – Dakar convened a meeting of all cities that had African sister cities. Twenty-one persons came to the meeting. After the meeting the D.C.-Dakar delegation was much energized. We presented the idea of a meeting of all U.S. African Sister Cities in Washington, D.C. The D.C.-Dakar Board approved hosting the meeting in D.C.
For over the past 25 years, representatives from the 155 United States cities and the 33 African cities, towns or villages that are “Sister Cities” have met annually to exchange information and promote joint projects. In 1995 we started to meet in Africa every fourth year. In 2009 we decided to have our conferences every two years but after 911 it was hard to host African conferences.
Listed below are the year, date, city and theme of prior Conferences:
1992 March 6-7 Washington, D.C. “Improving Communication and Awareness Among U.S. African Sister Cities”
1993 March 4-6 Washington, D.C. “News / Networking / Information
1994 March 3-5 Mansfield, OH – “Bringing it Home . . . through Trade – Education – Public Health”
1995 June 20-27 Dakar, Senegal, West Africa “Business Opportunities in Africa: Focus on Health and the Environment”
1996 June 19-22 Seattle, Washington “Transcending Ethnic Borders”
1997 April 2-5 Washington, D.C. “Coming to America: Recent African Immigration to the United States”
1998 June 17-20 Cincinnati, OH “Partnering through Technology and Investment”
1999 June 19-30 Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa “Linkages: From Grassroots to Government”
2000 June 28-July 2 Denver, CO “Africa Today: Meeting the Challenges of the World”
2001 April 26-29 Washington, D.C. “Building Future Progress on A Strong Tradition of Caring for and Sharing With Africa: Focus on the Millennium Generation”
2002 – April 17-20 San Francisco, CA “Daring to Care and to Share”
2003 – June 29-July 5 Accra, Ghana, West Africa Strengthen Sister Cities in Africa – “Focus on HIV/AIDS Crisis, Democratic Governance, Exploring Business, Trade and Investment”
2004– June17-19 Richmond, VA “US Africa Returning to Basics” Building a Stable Involved Committed Society
2005– May 25-28 St. Louis, MO Bridging the Waters
2006– July 12-16 Washington, DC 50th Anniversary of SCI
2007 August 7-15 Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa “Investing in
Africa” A Continent of Opportunities
2008 July 23-26 Lansing, MI Building Alliances: Agriculture-Culture-Current Issues- Diplomacy-Education-Health-Peace-Trade.
2009 Morocco -Postponed
2010 August 6-8 Washington, DC Developed – “Africa Sister Cities Helpline”
2011 Nigeria – Postponed
2012 August 6 Washington, DC Board Meeting
2013 December Dakar and Saint Louis, Senegal
2014 August Rochester, NY Board Meeting
2007 was our last conference in Africa. We had to postpone our Morocco trip in 2009 and the Nigeria trip in 2011.After 911 it has been hard to get persons to travel.
In 2014 with the Ebola outbreak people were afraid to go to Africa.