16 ways to celebrate Sister Cities International’s 60th Anniversary

2016 is a monumental year that will help mark a major milestone moment in diplomatic history as the world celebrates 60 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International (SCI). Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Eisenhower in 1956, the celebration will not only honor the 60 years of history behind SCI, but also its promising future of sustaining Eisenhower’s original vision of fostering world peace through global people-to-people relationships. Our 60th anniversary celebration surrounding the theme “Peace through People” will include several amazing opportunities for you to play a part in, including our Annual Conference and Youth Leadership Summit, and more in Washington, DC July 13–16, 2016.

Here are 16 ways to get involved and take action throughout our 60th year:

1. Check out http://sistercitiesconference.org to learn more about our 60th Anniversary Celebration.

2. Register for the Annual Conference. Registration for the 60th Annual Conference and Youth Leadership Summit is now open! Register at http://www.cvent.com/d/dfq0mm/4W by April 15 to receive $100 off of your full conference price at the special early bird rate.

3. Sponsor the Conference. Help us make this year’s celebration the best one yet. Learn about sponsorship opportunities at http://sistercitiesconference.org.

4. Encourage youth in your community to participate in the Young Artists and Authors Showcase. This year’s Young Artists and Authors Showcase is a wonderful opportunity to engage youth in your community and your sister cities’ communities. Youth from around the world submit artwork, poetry, essays, film and now for the first time ever, photography via Instagram and compete for grand prizes worth $1,000. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2016. For more information about the Young Artists and Authors Showcase, visit http://sistercities.org/YAAS.

5. Apply for the 2016 Annual Awards and nominate members of your community for the exclusive 60th Anniversary Circle of Distinguished Volunteers and Local Government Leadership Circle. Did your program do amazing things in 2015? Are there individuals in your community who have supported and strengthened your local program who deserve to be honored? Apply for the Annual Awards and nominate individuals for our two exclusive 60th Anniversary Circles at http://sistercities.org/AnnualAwards. Once the results are in, watch our sister city programs and volunteers get awarded for their excellent achievements at the Lou Wozar Annual Awards Dinner at the Mayflower Hotel (July 16, 2016).

6. Attend the 60th Annual Conference at the Mayflower Hotel (July 15–16, 2016). Engage in two days filled with dozens of fascinating and enlightening sessions and keynotes surrounding various topics to be announced. Stay tuned as we announce our full Conference agenda and list of speakers in the coming months at http://sistercitiesconference.org.

7. Take part in the Lou Wozar Diplomatic Awards Dinner for an evening of networking, awards, and entertainment alongside some of Washington, DC’s most notable luminaries, including Ambassadors, diplomats, members of Congress, and elected officials (July 16, 2016).

8. Watch cities show their pride during the Parade of Flags (July 15, 2016). 150 flags from cities across the country will be proudly paraded by high school students around downtown Washington, DC during the 60th Annual Conference Opening Ceremony.

9. Send a high school student to the Youth Leadership Summit (July 13–16, 2016). The Youth Leadership Summit will convene concurrent to the Conference to engage the next generation of leaders and expose them to global challenges and international affairs through a diplomatic simulation moderated by the U.S. Diplomacy Center, various panels, a service learning project, and tours of Washington, DC. High school students ages 14–18 may register for the Youth Leadership Summit here. Read a recap of last year’s Summit at http://sistercities.org/YLS.

10. Contribute your sister city story to 60 days of impact. In the 60 days leading up to the 60th Annual Conference, SCI will feature stories, photos, and videos — old and new — showcasing the amazing work sister city programs have done in the past and continue to do today on social media. If your sister city program has had an impact on your community, we’d love to include your story and/or visuals during 60 days of impact! Visit http://sistercities.org/60DaysofImpact for more information. Email communications@sistercities.org with questions.

11. Participate in a digital event. Stay tuned as we announce various +SocialGood Google Hangouts leading up to the Conference. Click on the following links to check out our past events: Digital Diaspora +SocialGood and International Day of Peace +SocialGood.

12. Go back to one of the countries where the sister cities movement first began at a Kickoff Reception at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence (July 13, 2016). Some of the first and most enduring sister city partnerships are those between Germany and Japan. To celebrate the 200 U.S.-Japanese partnerships in the SCI network, Annual Conference attendees are invited to take part in a special Kickoff Reception at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence before starting the Conference.

13. Attend the City Welcome Reception hosted by the city of Washington, DC (July 15, 2016). Stay tuned for more info.

14. Host a regional event in your city. Support SCI and host an event in your community. Email tlloyd@sistercities.org to learn more.

15. Help promote our 60th year to your network. Promote our 60th celebration and spread the word on citizen diplomacy to your friends, family, and colleagues on social media.

16. Follow us on social media for updates and other digital opportunities. Facebook: SisterCitiesInternational | Twitter: @SisterCitieslnt | Instagram: @SisterCitiesInt.