Sister Cities

If I were to tell you that Santa Cruz had something called a “sister city”, you might expect it to be some place like Capitola or Soquel. What you might not expect (unless you watch Parks and Recreation) is for the sister city to be in Uganda. In fact, Santa Cruz has eight sister cities located around the world


What is a ‘sister city’?

A sister city relationship is an officially approved relationship between two municipalities in two countries. The relationship agreement must be signed off on by the highest elected officials in each of the cities before it is officially recognized.

But why?

The purpose of a sister city organization is to promote peace via the relationship. Sister city organizations, usually comprised of volunteers, pursue business, trade, educational, and cultural exchanges with their sister cities.

Sister Cities International serves as the national member organization for cities across the US. It was founded by President Eisenhower in 1956 as a means of uniting people around the world. One of the first partnerships was between Seattle, Washington and Tokyo, Japan. The bond was meant to restore post-WWII tensions by creating cultural and educational exchanges.


Santa Cruz

As was noted, Santa Cruz has eight sister cities: Alushta, Ukraine; Jintope, Nicaragua; Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela; Sestri Levante, Italy; Shigū, Japan; County Roscommon, Ireland; Galway, Ireland, and Kasese, Uganda. A monument is located next to the post office downtown recognizing those cities which have been sister cities for a long time. The monument is comprised of several pillars with bronze maps on top of them. Next time you’re mailing a package you might go take a look.




2 comments on “Sister Cities

  1. Thanks for writing this up. Ireland Sister City is news to me! I know Kasese Uganda is in ‘Friendship’ status, the interim step towards becoming Sister City.
    City on A Hill Press recently did a feature article on our Santa Cruz-Kasese Sister aspirations.
    We have established this ‘Friendship’ status also with Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in SD. Santa Cruz fiscal crisis stalled this initiative, the City stretched already to meet the other long-standing Sister City ties. Still, the Santa Cruz-Pine Ridge relationship continues regardless (since it’s all about people connecting)
    Whatever happens into the future, you can see both Kasese and Pine Ridge ‘Sister’ relationship with Santa Cruz honored on the Peace Pole in San Lorenzo Park.

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