The Sister City Concept
City affiliations between the United States and other countries became a national effort when President Eisenhower proposed the People-to-People program at a White House Conference in 1956. To date, 800 American cities representing all 50 states have affiliated with 2,600 cities in 126 countries around the world. The objective of the program is to create goodwill and further international understanding at the community level on a continuing, long-term basis. It is not a movement to convert others to our democratic ideals, but rather a way to help learn about the people of other countries, their customs, their similarities as well as the differences, and help chart a better road to understanding in the world.
Gilbert Sister Cities began in June 1995 to establish cultural and economic ties with other regions of the world. Our first Sister City relationship was formed with Newtownabbey (now known as Antrim and Newtownabbey), Northern Ireland, on November 17, 1998. Our second Sister City partnership was formalized with Leshan, China on June 4, 2002. With each of these partnerships have come new programs, mission opportunities and enriching delegation exchanges. The summer of 2016 will be the seventeenth year of our student exchange program with Antrim-Newtownabbey and the seventh with Leshan!
Gilbert Sister Cities promotes and encourages private and public programs to further the development of greater friendship and understanding between the people of the Town of Gilbert and cities of other nations.