Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, Inc. (SCAS) members are frequently asked: how does SCAS select a Sister City?The answer is not simple. Building a sustainable Sister City relationship depends on orchestrating a number of factors, and each of our Sister City relationships is a unique composition. Nonetheless, certain general criteria apply to our consideration of all Sister City proposals.
SCAS supports the mission of its parent organization, Sister Cities International (SCI), which was established in 1956 under President Eisenhower as a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network with the mission of promoting world peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.
The mission of Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, Inc. (SCAS) is to foster international relationships between Sarasota and cities that have similar interests by creating exchanges in areas of culture, education, tourism, business, and government. SCAS’s objective is to develop respect, understanding, and cooperation through citizen diplomacy.
In addition, according to an agreement between SCAS and the City of Sarasota (Rev. 14 Sept 2003), the City Commission has final approval as to the number and the designation of Sister Cities. This agreement ensures that support for official Sister City relationships has been negotiated between SCAS and the government of the City of Sarasota.
Criteria for evaluating Sister City candidates is based on a combination of recommendations from SCI and SCAS’s 50 year experience with successful inter-city relationships, which dates back to the organization‘s founding in 1963. These criteria include:
- Structural considerations for Sarasota and the proposed Sister City: ‘built-in’ permanent factors that ensure a solid, reliable basis for long-term, sustainable partnerships.
- Communications: Reliable 24/7 phone, fax, e-mail, and Internet connections; Community: strong sponsorship by interested organizations or sustaining groups;
- Cultural organizations and facilities (involving music, dance, theater, visual arts, film);
- Economic / business environment: opportunities for growth, including import/export trade potential that will attract support from our business community;
- Education: Strong K-12 programs and access to institutions of higher learning;
- Tourism: Well developed tourism industry that will encourage travel between our cities;
- Transportation: Ease of access (international airport), convenient local transportation, and easy access to other parts of host country.
2. Permanent sponsoring organizations or groups in Sarasota and the proposed Sister City that include matching:
- Established community groups;
- Municipal Government (some administrative and in-kind support staffing, some funding, titular hosting of events, official approval)
- SCAS equivalentcontacts: (for communications, networking, facilitation, experience, coordination).
3. Shared sectors of community involvement in Sarasota and the proposed Sister City that will contribute time, money, and in-kind support. The following list is meant to suggest a menu of possibilities (not requirements).
- Each key sector in Sarasota should have a ‘committed champion’ and a core committee of SCAS members in ‘order to ensure that ongoing exchange is not dependent on the momentum and dedication of a single individual.
- Business organizations: Chambers of Commerce and other business and/or professional organizations; individual businesses / corporations involved in manufacturing, technology / electronics, biomedicine, tourism, import/export, joint ventures, investment, agricultural enterprises, architecture, interior design, construction, real estate, etc.
- Community organizations with significant membership and an ongoing interest in and commitment to fostering relations between Sarasota and other countries.
- Culture: Arts organizations and councils; ethnic cultural and performance groups; historical /archaeological societies, archives, and genealogical resources; museums and galleries; theaters; individual artists and performers; public art projects; performance venues; cinema groups and venues, etc.
- Education: Schools and school systems K-12 (sources of grade segmented and subject oriented projects and exchanges); community colleges (exchanges involving art, photography, technical/applied science, faculty, students); colleges and universities (exchanges involving joint projects, internships, students, faculty); museum education, adult and continuing education, etc.
- Environmental and Urban Planning: initiatives/programs for recycling, composting, desalinization, coastal clean-ups, biological filtering, ecosystem design, alternative, energy, zoning, infrastructure; parks and recreation, public safety, neighborhood organizations, etc.
- Scientific/Technical/Professional arenas: internships, joint projects, research opportunities, consulting, symposia in areas such as botany, horticulture, agriculture, interior design, landscaping, marine biology, medicine, dentistry, alternative health care, etc.
- Service organizations: Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.
- Other: youth organizations, sports (individual/team exchanges); senior venues (e.g. Elderhostel, SILLS); health and fitness centers; special interest groups, etc.
Approved and adopted 4/14/2004