Mike HyattMichael Hyatt, a member of Sister Cities’ Honorary Board, first became involved with Sister Cities in 1988-1989 when Fort Worth Sister Cities asked him to chair a committee to look into potential economic partnerships with their sister cities abroad. Two years later, Fort Worth Sister Cities turned to Mr. Hyatt again to chair the committee for their Japanese sister city, Nagaoka. From there, Mr. Hyatt continued to find ways to increase his engagement in Sister Cities from the local to international level.

When asked what about his involvement in Sister Cities Mr. Hyatt finds most enjoyable, he was quick to emphasize the people and personal relationships that come from sister city connections. The emphasis on person-to-person connection that is the basis of the sister cities model is what Mr. Hyatt says he looks forward to. When he visited Japan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Fort Worth-Nagaoka partnership, Mr. Hyatt was very impressed with how well the delegation was received by their Japanese counterparts. Any pageantry that occurred was unimportant; what was important to Mr. Hyatt was the personal relationships he was able to make and the kindness he received upon being named an honorary Japanese citizen by local officials. The personal touches truly made the trip an unforgettable experience.

Mr. Hyatt witnessed the kindness that comes from person-to-person relations again with the work Sister Cities did in Swaziland with through Sister Cities International’s Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program. The fact that the clinic is still functioning and continues to allow locals to improve their own lives through better health care, for Mr. Hyatt that is a significant and evidence of the good that can come from sister city relationships. The personal connections that are integral to the Sister Cities mission can truly make the world “a better and more peaceful place” when put into practice. This mission continues to motivate him to stay involved in the Sister Cities; to avoid international conflict by increasing cultural understanding every day through people. For individuals newly involved in Sister Cities, Mr. Hyatt recommends taking a more global approach; “a lot of people join organization thinking what it can do for them. I think this organization is more about what you can do for others… it’s about how active you can be in whatever you choose to do.”