On July 12 – 13, 2017, Sister Cities International will be hosting a U.S./Russia Mayors’ Summit in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in conjunction with its 61st Annual Conference.
This summit will bring together mayors and sister city representatives from the U.S. and Russia to collaborate on the future of our 77 sister city relationships.
Russian mayors, deputy mayors, regional municipal officials and educators will collaborate with their American counterparts to discuss innovative ways to foster interaction on a municipal level and to share new and unique approaches to people-to- people exchanges, which can create a multiplier effect to produce an unprecedented level of activity in the areas of higher education, cultural exchange, journalism, environment and the involvement of civil society.
Featured speakers include:
Ambassador John Beyrle, former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation;
Ambassador John O’Keefe, Executive Director, Open World Leadership Center;
First Secretary Oleg S. Zhiganov, – Embassy of the Russian Federation;
Oleg Ivanov, Executive Director, Council of Moscow Region Municipalities;
Mr. Zhang Heqiang, Secretary General of China – U.S. Friendship Association;
Mayor Lauren Poe, Gainesville, Florida; and
Aleksandra Efimova, Chair, Chicago/Moscow Sister City Program
Although the Cold War ended more than two decades ago, U.S./Russian relations are still a major concern to both countries and the world. Non-political, people-to-people engagement can strengthen mutual understanding and trust. Expanding direct contacts among citizen diplomats can help to raise U.S./Russian relations to a qualitatively new level.
There are currently 77 U.S./Russia Sister City programs connecting counterparts — individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions — and assisting them in creating collaborative projects in the fields of culture, business, medicine, journalism, religion, education, sports and municipal services.
Sister Cities International, founded in 1956 by President Eisenhower, is the nonprofit association of U.S. sister city programs. It represents more than 500 U.S. communities with over 2,300 partnerships in 150 countries.