What is a Sister City?
A sister city is the outcome of a process whereby elected representatives at the same level of government in two countries sign together an official agreement expressing the intent that they and their citizens work together for common goals for their mutual benefit, such as economic, educational, civic, and cultural projects. The involvement of local government makes sister cities a unique arena in which government, business and volunteers from the private sector can work together.
Thus, the keystone of each Toledo Sister City Committee is this Sister City Agreement that states the intent of The City of Toledo and a city in another country to enter into a municipal partnership. The Sister City Agreement is usually acknowledged in both cities by a City Council resolution after (or as part of) the official signing ceremony.
Does the partnership have to be with a city?
No, the Board of Lucas County Commissioners has formed a county-to-county partnership with their counterpart in Csongrad County (where our Hungarian Sister City Szeged is located). As with a Sister City Agreement, the partnership was formed by the creation and signing of formal agreements. Through a similar process, Ohio’s 9th Congressional District is partnered with the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. These agreements are also under the Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI) umbrella.
The State of Ohio has Sister State relationships with states in China, Nigeria, Taiwan, Brazil, Austria, Japan and Korea.
What does a Sister City do?
Each of Sister Cities has its own needs, its own contacts, and its own membership base in the Toledo Region. Programs are varied and can include projects in health care, orphanages overseas, educational exchanges, visits of business people, official delegations from city hall, support for other local organizations going overseas to a Sister City and more – the imagination and resources of volunteers from both cities set the limits!
How and when did Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI) begin?
As communist rule in Europe was ending in 1991, the Poznan Sister City Agreement was negotiated and signed and the partnership with Szeged was also being organized. At this time the City of Toledo had Sister City Agreements with Toledo (Spain, 1931) and Londrina (Brazil, 1974). As the network became more complex, the need for an umbrella organization for Sister Cities was recognized. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Sister Ann Francis Klimkowski and Ann Galloway were on the steering committee chaired by Pete Silverman.
TSCI was incorporated on 26 July 1993. John Henry Fullen was the designated agent. Fr. Martin Hernady, Sr. Ann Francis Klimkowski, and Dr. James A. Van Fleet were the initial Trustees.
What is the relationship between Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI) and Sister City Committees?
Toledo Sister Cities International (TSCI) supports all Sister City Committees with clerical assistance, financial record keeping, financial reporting, publicity, and advice (including the planning for delegations of elected officials both coming to the Toledo Region and going overseas). For Sister City Committees that are not 501(c)3 entities in their own right, TSCI provides non-profit status without the burden of financial reporting.
TSCI is also a forum wherein Sister City Committees share ideas and experiences and coordinate their programs.
TSCI has also managed programs that require participation and cooperation from two or more Sister City Committees, such as the International Festival and the International Youth Academy.
TSCI has facilitated the creation of new Sister City Committees by providing information to interested groups in Northwestern Ohio.
What is the relationship between TSCI and The City of Toledo?
TSCI was created to support Sister City Committees in the City of Toledo and to be a liaison between them, the City of Toledo and Sister Cities International, the international organization that oversees international governmental partnerships, especially those involving cities in the United States. At the heart of the TSCI Articles of Incorporation Is the phrase “to lessen the burdens of the City of Toledo…” in matters of economic development and cultural and educational exchange programs.
Today, TSCI facilitates international economic development at the beginning of the process as a resource in understanding foreign languages and culture and as the source of contacts made over years in sustainable overseas relationships. Through an understanding of international protocol and local customs, TSCI gives the City of Toledo the institutional capacity to host guests from other parts of the world. TSCI also creates a local platform for educating the community about cultural diversity and for giving people living in the Toledo Region an opportunity to be part of exchanges to other parts of the world.
How is TSCI associated with Sister Cities International?
TSCI’s association with SCI goes back to our incorporation in 1993. Each year, TSCI pays membership dues to SCI, and this entitles us (and our Sister City Committees) to the services and other benefits of the formal association. Each Sister City Agreement has been made official through its acceptance by SCI, and they are noted in the SCI Directory of Sister Cities. In 2002, Toledo hosted the SCI International Conference. Ann Galloway (past president) and John Henry Fullen (former executive director) have served on the SCI Honorary Board.
TSCI shares the SCI overarching mission: Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.