Initiated in 1956 by President Eisenhower, to build peace through people to people relationships between communities across countries, the idea of the sister city movement was seeded.
Illinois started its first sister city relationship between Chicago and Warsaw, Poland in 1960, 61 years back. It was followed by Bloomington-Normal with a relationship with Asahikawa, Japan in 1962.
The sister city movement in Illinois took off from 3 relationship in the 70s to 14 in the 80s and more than doubled that number in the 90s (29). This momentum has continued through the decades of 00s and 10s.
Today Illinois is a leader in the sister cities movement with about 90 global relationships spread around 30 communities across the state. We have vibrant sister city programs at the grass root levels including the winners of state, national and international awards.
A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries.
A relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities.
Each sister city organization is independent and pursues the activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community including municipal, business, trade, educational, and cultural exchanges and projects with their sister city.
Illinois Sister Cities Association (ISCA) was incorporated in the state of Illinois in 2007 and as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit since 2009.
Today it has about 30 member communities throughout the state, representing around 90 sister city relationships between communities, cultures and countries across the globe.
Illinois Sister Cities Association's mission is to build and promote people to people relationships, the "citizen diplomacy", between Illinois communities and communities, cultures and countries across the globe.
ISCA's primary functions include:
ISCA is governed by a 12 member Board. Each Board member is elected for a 3-year term. The Board terms are staggered, four new members are elected each year. Each member must serve on the Board committees.
Following are the current Board members:
Jay Mathur (Belvidere) President
Suzanne Poeschel (Schaumburg) Vice President, Chair Membership Committee
Susan Minnot (Palatine) Secretary, Chair Communications Committee
Randy Russell (Naperville) Treasurer, Chair Finance and Fund development Committees
Kathy Sorensen ( Decatur), Chair Leadership Development Committee
Joan Domke (Roselle), Chair Conference Committee
Dennis Roberts (Urbana) Chair Awards Committee
Jose Skrobot (Schaumburg) Chair Technology and Youth Engagement Committees
Frank Grant-Acquah (Hanover Park)
Andy Gaa (Belleville)
Shelley Hu (Chicago)
Kenneth Jones (Richton Park)