Last month, San Antonio recently hosted more than 600 delegates and presenters from approximately 30 countries and numerous U.S. communities for the 57th Annual Sister Cities International Conference. The theme of the conference was “Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Relationships” and highlighted the power of exchange through citizen diplomacy and sustainability efforts.
This year San Antonio hosted delegations from six of its nine sister cities. Five of the Sister Cities – Monterrey and Guadalajara, Mexico; Gwangju, South Korea; Kumamoto, Japan; and Chennai, India had delegations led by their mayors and the sixth Sister City, Wuxi, China was led by an official from its Foreign Affairs Office.
Special events included a 60-year Sister City anniversary celebration with Monterrey at Port San Antonio, a 25-year anniversary celebration with Kumamoto at the Japanese gift garden at the Botanical Center, and the conferral of the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Kang Un-tae, Mayor of Gwangju, by the University of the Incarnate Word.
For the first time, Sister Cities International and the Urban Environmental Accords Summit joined to create one collaborative conference. The Urban Environmental Accords (UEA), a burgeoning organization started in partnership with the United Nations Environmental Programme, is based in the city of Gwangju, South Korea, a sister city of San Antonio since 1981. The UEA Summit addressed key issues including energy, waste reduction, urban design, biodiversity, sustainable transport, environmental health, and water. Attendees learned more about San Antonio and its green initiatives by enjoying several B-Cycle sponsored tours.
More than 15 City departments participated in the conference by serving as hosts, presenters, moderators, volunteers, guides, and partners. Other local organizations and entities also contributed to the success of the event, including various sponsors and several of San Antonio’s cultural, ethnic and civic organizations.
- City Clerk
- City Council Offices
- City Manager’s
- OfficeCommunications and Public Affairs
- Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
- Culture and Creative Development
- Downtown Operations
- Economic Development
- Intergovernmental Relations / International Relations
- Mayor’s Office
- Parks and Recreation
- Planning and Community Development
- Public Works
- Solid Waste Management
The conference fostered numerous opportunities for economic, cultural, educational, and municipal exchange between San Antonio and its sister cities. It was truly a moment that placed San Antonio in the international spotlight.