Sister Cities Movement

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the “People-to-People Initiative”. He believed that diplomacy on a person-to-person level was an important resource for successful negotiations between governments. Recognizing the importance of involving all citizens in world diplomacy, he called upon the nation’s cities as the centers of opportunity, expression and economic growth, to unite with communities around the world in building a solid structure of world peace. At the core of all sister cities relationships is an agreement, signed by the Mayors of each city, reflecting their mutual commitment to building bridges between governments, businesses and individuals. Today, through formal Sister Cities affiliations, 2,400 Sister Cities relationships are bringing citizens together to cooperate and share ideas, activities and solutions on a range of topics, including the environment, education, culture, medicine, and technology.


Illinois Sister Cities Association

This website provides a forum for communications and interaction among Sister Cities organizations within the State of Illinois and the community at large.  This website is a means to share information and events available to the public and information on the relationships Illinois Sister Cities have with Sister Cities around the world. The Illinois  Sister Cities Association is a not-for-profit organization providing support to the network of Illinois Communities. Illinois currently has 40 Sister Cities International Chapters throughout the state.  These 40 Chapters are related to 90 cities located on 6 continents.

ISCA assists Sister Cities International (SCI) in the coordination and development of Sister Cities activities in the State of Illinois.


Mission Statement

Promote Peace Through Mutual Respect, Understanding and Cooperation-One Individual, One Community At A Time.


Board of Directors

  • Janet Kenney, President (Springfield)
  • Carol Zerkle, Vice President (Springfield)
  • Cathy Seagren, Secretary (Dixon)
  • Randy Russell, Treasurer (Naperville)
  • Vera Brooks (Richton Park)
  • Frank Grant (Hanover Park)
  • Benjamin Kelner (Chicago)
  • Jay Mathur (Rockford)
  • Susan Minott (Palatine)
  • Suzanne Poeschel (Schaumburg)
  • Dennis Roberts (Urbana)
  • Kathy Sorensen (Decatur)
  • Josephine Wittenauer (Columbia)


Policy statement:

Sister Cities International recognizes that U.S. communities may have differing views of laws, policies, or practices in other countries which they believe may run against moral, ethical, or legal codes to which they ascribe. While every citizen should feel free to express their own opinions in keeping with his or her own conscience, the suspension of a sister city relationship due to disagreement over a government policy or practice can be counterproductive and contrary to the stated mission of sister city relationships promoting “peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.” Suspending sister city relationships closes a channel of communication through which meaningful dialogue may be held. Our policy is to encourage our members and U.S. communities to keep their sister city relationships active, especially when political issues threaten to disrupt the positive, constructive relationships that have been made.

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