WASHINGTON, DC – Maxine Hankins Cain of Lansing, Michigan has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

Maxine Hankins Cain, Ed D, an Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission (LRSCC) member for 20 years, is a former teacher and school administrator who always stressed the importance of understanding global issues, cultures and languages. As an educator of excellence in Michigan, Cain is recognized in Ghana for her educational and humanitarian leadership. She has led the effort to renovate the k-12 schools in Nkyenne Nkyenne, Akuapem South District. In 2018, she had all three schools painted inside and out, purchased white boards, curriculum materials and computers; and gifted each teacher monetarily for their work.

As an educator of excellence in Michigan, Cain has promoted education and health in Akuapem South District. Over the years, she has held numerous teacher training programs including at the Presbyterian Teacher Training College in Aburi. She was active with both the SCI/Gates grant and the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene grant from the US Department of State and helped identify three village sites for community latrines. She participated in fundraising for two 40-foot containers that included medical, X-ray and radiology supplies/equipment, computers, books, school equipment, bicycles, and farm equipment; in addition to her ride in a fully equipped ambulance from Lansing to Baltimore to ship it to Ghana. She continues to lead her church and sorority’s fundraising drives to benefit schools, orphanages, and clinics in Ghana.

For Maxine Hankins Cain, there is no task too consuming. She has always loved being a part of LRSCC and has never turned down a request to help the organization in its efforts to be Lansing’s “Window to the World.”

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.