Highland Park, Illinois Wins Sister Cities International’s Award for Best Overall Program

WASHINGTON, DC –Highland Park, Illinois has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Award for Best Overall Program for a city with a population of 25,001-50,000. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

The Highland Park Sister Cities Foundation has been providing support and exchanges with their sister cities all over the world. They provided hurricane relief to an area in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that were destroyed by Hurricane Willa. They continue to support Corazon de Nina, a home for children from abusive home situations, to build transitional housing for residents attending colleges and trade schools. Tenor singer Gianni Coletta was brought in from Modena, Italy to teach classes and perform concerts at various Highland Park schools and clubs. Over 1000 participants were a part of this and they were able to raise $5000 for Actea.

The Highland Park Sister Cities Foundation is rooted in a tradition of mutual respect for all humanity, celebrating our differences and embracing our shared values; of dedication to building bridges between cultures; and of creating opportunities for people to connect globally through the arts, education, sports, business, and government. This year, for their 30th anniversary, Highland Park established even greater relevance in our community and brought technology to students in rural areas of Puerto Vallarta. Highland has also collaborated with “Working Together”, a local organization that provides opportunities in the area of the arts and education to the Mexican community. Together, they celebrated the Day of the Child at the Highland Park Library. Participants created Mexican crafts, were entertained by young guitarists performing Mexican melodies and enjoyed a children’s Folkloric Dance group’s presentation of traditional Mexican dances. Because of this partnership, the founder and director of “Working Together” is now on their Board.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019  Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 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 programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.


About Highland Park Sister Cities:

Contact: Carol Wolfe ([email protected])