2024 Sister Cities International All Americas Summit unites leaders, policymakers In San Antonio

Summit brings together elected officials, citizen diplomats, other key stakeholders from different countries

SAN ANTONIO – Leaders, policymakers and innovators are gathering in San Antonio to explore collaborative opportunities and dive into issues impacting their communities.

The 2024 Sister Cities International All Americas Summit is taking place this week at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The event is hosted by Sister Cities International, a national membership organization of nearly 400 U.S. Communities with over 1,800 partnerships in more than 138 countries on six continents.

The Sister City network unites thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work to promote the organizations mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects.

“We are very involved in the network. In the sister cities network. We have 12 sister cities, three friendship cities,” said Shahrzad “Sherry” Dowlatshahi, chief diplomacy and protocol officer at the City of San Antonio’s Global Engagement Division.

San Antonio Sister Cities include:

  • Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico (Established 1953, first Mexican city to have a US Sister City)
  • Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico (Established 1974)
  • Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain (Established 1975)
  • Gwangju, South Korea (Established 1981)
  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan (Established 1982)
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (Established 1983)
  • Kumamoto, Japan (Established 1987)
  • Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India (Established 2008)
  • Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China (Established 2012)
  • Windhoek, Namibia (Established 2016)
  • Darmstadt, Germany (Established 2017)
  • Baguio, Philippines (Established 2022)

Some of the topics discussed at the All Americas Summit include tourism, trade, education and culture.

“We actually incorporated a number of these topics because they are important to San Antonio. Trade and investments is really important to us, but then water, resilience,” Dowlatshahi said.

A delegation from Monterrey, Mexico, is attending this year’s event.

“As local governments, we deal with the same matters regarding social issues, environmental issues. San Antonio deals with heat, as well, so that is something that happens in Monterrey,” said Beatriz Gomez, director for Institutional and International Affairs for the City of Monterrey.

The partnership between San Antonio and Monterrey continues to grow stronger after the two cities signed an agreement to collaborate on building a regional economic ecosystem that targets key sectors and industries.

The event aims at celebrating and building existing and new partnerships.

“It’s a wide range of topics that brings us all together. Listening to conversations among our panelists and hopefully also engaging people who are here,” Dowlatshahi said.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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