San Antonio and Wuxi, China – one of San Antonio’s nine Sister Cities – are the recipients of this year’s Sister Cities International’s U.S. - China Sister Cities Award in the “Most Innovative” category. The award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of the U.S. - China sister cities in building strong people-to-people ties between the two countries. Award winners were honored at a special awards ceremony on March 27 during the 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran accepted the award on behalf of the City of San Antonio at the special ceremony.
San Antonio and Wuxi received the award for their innovative relationship building process and trilateral exchanges. During the vetting process for potential sister cities in China, San Antonio’s unique method stood out. The final selection by San Antonio had resulted from the recommendations of the “China Advisory Sub Committee” which had been created after San Antonio’s participation in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. This group of public and private stakeholders advised on San Antonio’s China strategy moving forward including the selection of Wuxi as its sister city. This relationship incorporates a number of intergovernmental agreements between reciprocal offices within the two cities. Additionally, both San Antonio and Wuxi have served as a catalyst for more potential Sister City relationships regionally. There was an effort to include more Texan and Jiangsu Sister Cities to solidify the Texas-Jiangsu sister state relationship, as well as, the formation of a trilateral relationship: San Antonio, Wuxi, and Puebla, Mexico. A joint U.S. and Chinese judging panel selected San Antonio and Wuxi as the winners from a competitive pool of U.S.-China sister city program applicants.
“We are honored to receive this award,” San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said. “We have worked hard to develop strong relationships with all of our Sister Cities. This is another example of how San Antonio is a model city for the new face of America—a diverse, progressive and globally competitive city with a solid vision for national and international economic development.”
Through its International Relations Office, the City of San Antonio hosts international dignitaries, advises and trains local agencies on international projects, and maintains relationships with San Antonio’s Sister Cities in China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, among others. The Sister City agreement between San Antonio and Wuxi was signed in 2012.
“The delegates from all over made it a point to share with me how informative and enjoyable the Sister Cities conference was in San Antonio last summer. It is important that we continue to foster and exchange innovative ideas in making our cities better,” said Councilwoman Viagran. “In the short period of two years with Wuxi, we are seeing the proven benefits for both communities. We look forward to continuing this exchange in the years to come.”
The 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference, jointly hosted by Sister Cities International and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, brought together hundreds of business leaders, government officials, and citizen diplomats from the U.S. and China. The Honorary Host Committee for this Conference included General Colin L. Powell, as well as several Governors, Members of Congress, and Mayors (including Mayor Castro) from around the country. Conference sessions provided opportunities for U.S. and Chinese cities to learn about strengthening exchanges and business engagement through informative sessions from industry leaders.
For more information on the conference, visit sister-cities.org/USChina. For more information on San Antonio’s Sister Cities program, visit the City’s International Relations Office website at sainternationalrelations.org.