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Sister City Program
Overview
San José was among the first cities in the United States to establish a sister city affiliation. San José’s sister city affiliation with Okayama, Japan, established on May 26, 1957, was the third sister city affiliation following the inception of the national Sister Cities program in 1956.

San José has seven sister cities: Okayama, Japan (1957); San José, Costa Rica (1961); Veracruz, Mexico (1975); Tainan, Taiwan (1977); Dublin, Ireland (1986); Pune, India (1992); and Ekaterinburg, Russia (1992).

Each sister city affiliation is part of San José’s rich history and represents a bond between the city and people of San José with the city and people of our sister city.

History of Sister City Programs

The national sister city program was established following President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1956 White House Conference on Citizen Diplomacy. The idea for sister cities were one of 42 “People-To-People” initiatives that was formed at the White House Conference.

President Eisenhower’s intention was to involve individuals and organized groups in citizen diplomacy, with the hope that personal relationships, fostered through sister city affiliations, would enhance global understanding and peaceful relations.

The Civic Committee and the National League of Cities provided administrative support for the sister city program until 1973. City participants in the sister city movement recognized that the growing program needed coordination, which led to the establishment of Sister Cities International, the Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization that sanctions sister city affiliations for U.S. cities. Today, 2,500 communities in the U.S. and 126 nations have sister city affiliations.

What Is a Sister City Relationship
A sister city affiliation is an official, long-term relationship between two cities or communities in two nations. Sister city affiliations are recognized by Sister Cities International, the nonprofit organization that sanctions affiliations between U.S. and international cities.

A sister city affiliation requires extensive community participation and engagement with a community organization in the partner city. Successful sister city programs facilitate collaboration and exchanges in education, the arts, sports, civic affairs, economic development, and government.