At a White House conference in 1956, President Eisenhower proposed the People to People project. Envisioned as an organization that would create connections between people from cities around the world, it was created with the goal of building partnerships, creating connections, and celebrating different cultures around the world.
Sister Cities give citizens of diverse communities an opportunity to develop relationships which create lifelong friendships and strengthen the cultural bonds that lessen the chances of conflict. This “citizen diplomacy” provides avenues for sharing culture, education, business, and municipal administration, and increasing peace and prosperity.
Currently, 47 states have Sister City affiliations with 1,847 cities representing 136 countries around the world. Historically, the President of the United States serves as Sister Cities’ Honorary Chairperson. At the Federal government level, the initiative enjoys support from the U.S. State Department and strong collaboration at the municipal government level. In Fresno, the City Council is involved in the Fresno Sister Cities collaborations.