People often ask, “What is Sister Cities?”
In Naperville, many facets of the Sister Cities Commission and Foundation missions have evolved locally since 1993.
The concept of Sister Cities was created at President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s White House Conference on Citizen Diplomacy in 1956. Back then, President Eisenhower envisioned a network that would champion peace and prosperity by forming bonds between people from different communities around the world. The Sister Cities program promotes partnerships between U.S. cities and similar jurisdictions in other countries.
The goal of every Sister Cities relationship is to enrich communities through reciprocal cultural, educational, business, municipal, professional, and technical exchanges.
In 1993, Naperville City Council formalized a Sister Cities relationship with Nitra, Slovakia. Then in 2010, the City of Pátzcuaro, Mexico, was approved as a second Sister City. In April 2020, the Naperville City Council unanimously voted the City of Cancun, Mexico, as its third Sister City.
All three were chosen in part because of their similarities to Naperville, including strong emphasis on primary, secondary and higher education as well as strong and growing economies.
Over the years, Naperville high schools have participated in an exchange program with Nitra, Slovakia. Stories from Naperville kids’ experiences as well as and meet and greet events with the students from Slovakia have been impressive.
Sister Cities events such as the Hispanic Fest the past two years in September have helped to educate and expose this community to different cultures through music, dance, artwork, food, drink and a positive accepting experience. The second annual Naperville Hispanic Fest attracted more than one thousand in attendance at Naperville Central Park. For more information, visit www.napervillehispanicfest.com.
The Foundation and Commission are considering additional events to showcase its European connections and others.
Individuals who wish to get involved with Sister Cities may submit an application to https://www.naperville.il.us/boards.