Sister Cities International Announces Winners of 2016 Annual Awards for Innovation in Arts and Culture

WASHINGTON, DC –The 2016 Sister Cities International Innovation Award for Arts and Culture recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding community and individual sister city programs that promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

The award was given to organizations in two sister city programs in different population categories. Norfolk Sister City Association, Inc. (NSCA) of Norfolk, Virginia won among cities with population under 500,000 and the City of San Antonio International Relations Office (CSAIRO) of San Antonio, Texas won among cities with population over 500,000.

NSCA won for hosting the second annual PassPORT to Norfolk’s Sister Cities event with the theme of “An Evening Around the World.” This event raises community awareness of the mission of the NSCA. Their mission includes celebrating the cultural diversity of Norfolk and its sister cities, educating youth about global citizenship through NSCA’s Young Global Citizen programs, and facilitating economic and humanitarian opportunities between Norfolk and its sister cities. 

CSAIRO was recognized for developing cultural exchanges and programming that showcases international artists through exhibitions, speaking presentations, cultural festivals, and other events, while providing opportunities for local artists and residents to engage with them. 

The City of San Antonio International Relations Office partnered with many local and international organizations to create programs, including the Mexican Association of Entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, the Library Foundation, the Southwest School of Art, the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce, local ethnic groups, Musical Bridges Around the World, the Catholic Archdiocese, the University of the Incarnate Word, Casa España, and the Government of the Canary Islands. Examples of the programs they created include, “Fiesta,” a 10-day festival that draws 3.5 million attendees and raises funds for local projects; “Mano Factura: Arte Regio”, a three-month long outdoor exhibit featuring thirty sculptures painted by different artists from Monterrey, Mexico; “Wings of the City”, a five-month urban outdoor art exhibit from world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín; and “Hats Off, Chennai”, a grassroots initiative to salute Chennai for its spirit and perseverance during the catastrophic floods of 2015 that has collected close to $130,000; the Indian Festival of Diwali that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

SCI’s Annual Awards are awarded in several categories including Best Overall, Innovation (Arts and Culture, Economic Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and Youth and Education), and Volunteer of the Year. Award winners will be honored at the Lou Wozar Diplomatic Awards Dinner on Saturday, July 16 during SCI’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, DC. 

SCI’s 60th anniversary celebration will include an Annual Conference and Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, DC July 13-16, 2016. The celebration will bring together hundreds of the most influential global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation. Elected and municipal officials, business leaders, youth delegates, and citizen diplomats will discuss this year’s theme “Peace through People,” building on President Eisenhower’s initial vision of creating a more peaceful world by building global relationships. 

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About Sister Cities International 

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 570 member communities with 2,300 partnerships in 150 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 economic development, youth and education, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance. 

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