What is a Sister City?
A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, officially approved, long-term partnership between two communities, counties, or states in two countries. A sister city, county or state relationship becomes official with a signing ceremony of the top-elected officials of the two local jurisdictions, following approval by the local city councils (county commissions or state legislatures), as appropriate.
Sister city partnerships have the potential to carry out the widest possible diversity of activities of any international program, including every type of municipal, business, professional, educational and cultural exchange, or project. Sister city programs are also unique in that they inherently involve the three main sectors in a community: local government, businesses, and a wide variety of citizen volunteers (and civil society or non-profit organizations).
Gainesville has nine established Sister City relationships around the world.
Exchanges & Delegations
Gainesville mayors, commissioners, and citizens have been extremely active throughout the years in participating in exchanges to sister cities. As an example, the present mayor, Lauren Poe, has visited at least one sister city every year at the head of a delegation, and often visited multiple. The wonderfully active program welcomes visiting artists, lawmakers, engineers, teachers, and others from all of Gainesville’s sister cities.
The website you are looking at right now is the product of collaboration between grade school students in Gainesville, Duhok, Mejdlaya, Qalqilya, Kfar-Saba, Novorossiysk, and Rzeszów.
In the second half of 2020, middle school students from P.K. Yonge in Gainesville conducted virtual cultural exchanges by video call every week with six sister cities and three sister schools.
Many projects and relationships were born out of practical help in terms of infrastructure. Water treatment assistance with Matagalpa, Waste treatment planning with Qalqilya and Kfar-Saba, and Innovation districts and airport designs with Rzeszów are just a few of these many initiatives.
“I see the need for an exchange of knowledge, education, friendship and understanding.”Bahar Armaghani speaking on the renewal of the Duhok Gainesville relationship in 2021
“We’re going to be the first U.S. city to have an Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanean partnership and we’re going to be the model for all the other ones that are going to follow.”Steve Kalishman, 2015
“This (memorandum of understanding) formalizes that we’re not just going to consult with each other or loosely collaborate, we will actually address problems together.”University of Florida President Kent Fuchs, 2017
“It builds bridges between Gainesville and the rest of the world. It offers us academic exchange, cultural exchange, economic exchange, and helping people around the world trust and confidence in one another.”Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, 2021