Sister Cities International welcomes Latin American delegation

Sister Cities International welcomed a delegation of 70 representatives from municipalities across Latin America on November 7th. Members of the “International Technical Training Mission” represented 11 different countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. The trip’s focus was on “establishing technical cooperation for development, building strategic alliances, and fundraising for projects and sustainability programs.” This meeting of minds is a part of Sister Cities International’s commitment to grow connections between the United States and Latin America.

Sister Cities International Membership Director Adam Kaplan introduced the organization and spoke of the benefits of long-term relationships between international cities. Guest speaker Brett Hamsik, the assistant coordinator of the Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs communicated the importance of small businesses and the role of the newly-established Small Business Network of the Americas. Bringing together leaders from small business development centers (SBDCs), the association hopes to aid small businesses from Canada to Argentina in obtaining capital, increasing trade, and sharing best practices. Alluding to Sister Cities International’s mission to “Connect globally. Thrive locally”, Hamsik stated, “we want businesses to be able to grow in local markets, as well as compete globally.”

Finally, Executive Director of the Office of International Programs at Georgetown University in Washington, DC Katherine Bellows spoke to the value of student exchanges and study abroad programs. Providing important details to consider when establishing connections, Bellows offered practical steps for delegates to take in order to achieve cooperation between institutes of higher education in the United States and abroad.

The visit to Sister Cities International, organized by ONWARD Internacional, was just one stop on the delegation’s four-day visit to Washington. Other stops on the trip included Washington City Hall, the Capitol, the National Capital Planning Commission, the Organization of American States, and Georgetown University.