Attention Youth Ages (14-18)

Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit Scholarship

Are you interested in knowing more about Sister Cities International?

You can make a difference in your community while experiencing the different cultures of the world. Sister Cities International holds an Annual Conference for its members as well as a Youth Leadership Summit for eager youth wanting to gain leadership skills, knowledge of different issues affecting the world around us, and many other great skills and experiences. Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter is offering a scholarship to attend this year’s Youth Leadership Summit that will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

SoCal Sister Cities Chapter of SCI would like to send one student that is associated with a Southern California Sister City Committee to the next SCI Youth Leadership Summit that is being held in conjunction with the Annual Sister Cities International Conference.

The Youth Leadership Summit gives students the opportunity to participate in the following activities:

  • Meet young people from around the world
  • Learn how to work productively within the Sister City Program and Community
  • Share his/her community’s culture with fellow delegates
  • Build leadership skills
  • Learn how to make the Sister Cities International mission of Peace through People, a reality

The Southern California Sister Cities International Board will cover the following costs for the selected YLS participant:

  1. SoCal will pay for the YLS registration to include meals and lodging as well as transportation to and from the airport
  2. The YLS participant will be housed at a nearby college dorm near the Conference site for four nights
  3. In addition, the participants will be chaperoned the entire time by the SCI Staff.

The scholarship recipient must pay for his/her own airfare and arrive at the Norfolk International Airport on Wednesday July 12 and their return flight must be on Sunday morning July 16, 2017.

The scholarship recipient must pay for his/her registration on-line and upon providing proof of registration paid, SCI SoCal will then reimburse the party. Cost approximately $625 for conference registration (not including airfare).

Each Southern California Sister City Committee/Association, whose SCI dues are current, may submit one student application for consideration by the SoCal Review Committee. The student should have a 3.0 or higher GPA and be active in the local sister city committee or association. The following paperwork should be submitted to the SoCal Chapter by April 15th, 2017.


Each Applicant Must Submit the Following:

  1. The student application (see attached form, page 3). Only one applicant per Sister City Committee/Association (previous recipients may not apply a second time)
  2. A copy of latest official transcript
  3. A one page summary of the students activities in his/her Sister City Program
  4. A letter of recommendation by the President of the Sister City Committee/Association
  5. A letter of recommendation from the student’s principal, counselor, advisor or teacher
  6. A one page personal statement expressing what the student hopes to gain from this experience and how he/she would stay involved within his/her city’s Sister City Program
  7. A one page parent/guardian statement regarding the students participation/attendance to the Youth Leadership Summit
  8. A signed parent/guardian waiver (see attached waiver, page 4)


NOTE: Applications due by April 15th, 2017

If needed, Individual Interviews will be scheduled for May 20th, 2017 in Santa Monica.

The student awarded the scholarship will be notified by May 27th, 2017.


The SoCal Youth Leadership Summit application package can be downloaded by clicking here.

For a more detailed description of the Sister Cities International YLS, go to 

After attending the Youth Leadership Summit, the selected student MUST plan to attend at least one of the SoCal Sister Cities Chapter’s Meetings which occur quarterly throughout the year (location to be determined in Southern California) to present a power point report on his/her experience at the recent YOUTH LEADERSHIP SUMMIT. The SoCal Board would like the selected student to participate in the quarterly SoCal Board Meetings as a Student Coordinator between the board and the local Southern California Sister City Committees/Associations for a period of one year.

Applications can be submitted by email to:

Jeanette Avila, Selection Committee Chair carbon copied to

Or by mail to:

Jeanette Avila, Selection Committee Chair

3608 N. Pershing Ave.

San Bernardino, CA 92405

Mailed applications must be postmarked by April 15th, 2017.

Please Note: All applications will become the property of the SoCal Sister Cities Chapter and will not be returned to the applicant.

Questions regarding the application or the YLS, please call Jeanette Avila at (951) 232-0934.

Pasadena Sister Cities Summer Exchange Experience

Pasadena High School

This past summer three of our students Kinsey Burgess and Jillian Stout-Blackman, members of the Class of 2013, and Grace Baghdasarian, Class of 2012 participated in the Pasadena Sister Cities Summer Exchange Program. Kinsey and Jillian went to Ludwigshafen, Germany and Grace went to Vanadzor, Armenia.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Sister Cities program in 1956 to achieve international peace through a people-to-people concept of twinning U.S. cities with foreign communities all over the globe. His Hope was that through goodwill, understanding, and helping other cultures we would ensure a world of Peace. Presently, 1,060 U.S. cities have Sister City ties with over 1,900 cities in 120 nations. Sister Cities is the largest citizen exchange organization in the world and is head-quartered in Washington DC. SCI is a non-profit, national organization.

This Pasadena Sister Cities Committee is an official committee of the City of Pasadena. Most of the organization’s programs are financed through fund raising efforts of the membership. Such funds are used to help entertain foreign visitors, to arrange cultural exchanges, and most importantly, to benefit the student exchange programs. The volunteer members have helped set a pace for the future by globally linking Pasadena with lasting friendships with our sister cities.

Ludwigshafen became Pasadena’s original sister city through the efforts of the American Friends Service Committee in Pasadena, who wished to provide war relief to Europe after World War II, as had been done after the First World War.Strategically located on the Rhine River, Ludwigshafen was bombed 107 times during World War II. In December 1945 representatives from the American Friends Service Committee from Pasadena arrived in Ludwigshafen to determine what help was most needed. The citizens of Pasadena were quick to respond and for several years packages of blankets, clothing, food, and medicines were sent to Ludwigshafen with the names and addresses of the Pasadenans sending them. Many friendships were formed. When normal times returned, visits of the citizens of both cities began and continue to this day. Today, Ludwigshafen, with a population of 160,000 is one of Germany’s most prosperous industrial cities. Student exhanges occur every summer and both cities sponsor an “intern” program where the students have the opportunity to obtain work experience in a field in which they hope to have careers.

Vanadzor was established as Pasadena’s fourth sister city in 1991. It is located in the northwestern region of the Republic of Armenia, about 80 miles north of the capital city, Yerevan. With a population of about 175,000 it is the third largest city in Armenia. The city was rapidly growing in size before the tragic earthquake in December 1988. Seventy percent of the city’s buildings were either completely destroyed or became uninhabitable. Vanadzor is widely know for its wonderful “Lory” mineral water, clean running springs, green hills, and snow-capped mountains, visible in all directions. The city is now in the process of rebirth and change.

All the students stayed with host families and said that the trip was a very rewarding and memorable experience. Kinsey and Jillian were kept busy during the week working with children through the internship program. They worked in a kindergarten class, a day care and in a summer camp.
At night and on the weekends Kinsey and Jillian spent time with their host families learning about some of the great things that Germany has to offer. Some of the highlights of the trip were going to a EuroCup game, taking a cruise on the Rhein River, visiting the castles, traveling to Munich, trying German foods like Schnitzel and Spaetzle. This summer a daughter of one of the host families will be staying with Jillian’s family.

All three girls had a memorable experience and have made many new friends/family.

Record Number of Sister Cities Exchange Students in Pasadena


7:08 pm | July 29, 2013

students called to each other as they left the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee BBQ on Sunday.

This German phrase exchanged between an American and a German meaning “see you tomorrow,” shows these students are taking a step of courage to make friends with people of other cultures and overcome differences at the people to people level.

The Pasadena Sister Cities Committee hosted a BBQ to celebrate the seven students here from the sister cities in Germany, Armenia, Finland, and Japan as well as the three students who recently returned from Germany and Finland through the program.

This was first time to have so many students in Pasadena at the same time as the American students are usually away when the foreign students come here. The BBQ provided a perfect place to share their experiences and stories.

“People to people is different than government to government. That is the idea about Sister Cities, it is that people to people connection that they have because they have been here and that our students have because they have been there,” volunteer Michael Warner said.

The Sister Cities Committee provides a new home in Pasadena each week for the students visiting from Japan, Armenia, Finland, and Germany over the summer so that each family can show what they love about Pasadena. The students stay from two-six weeks.

One couple has been involved for over 25 years. Gary, a 79-year-old who surfs competitively, gives all the students surfing lessons including Alina and Felix who stayed with them in the past two weeks.

‘Felix got up on his first try. We have so much fun with them, we take them places and help them with their homework at night. I love getting to know teenagers and students from another country and their viewpoints on life. They become kind of like our kids,’ Gary’s wife Linda Stellern said.

The Stellern’s were able to go to Germany last summer for a celebration in Ludwigshafen, Pasadena’s sister city. They stayed with the grandparents of one of the students who had stayed with them several years ago.

Jordan Lopez, a second year PCC student who just returned from Germany on July 4, thinks everybody should seek out a program to live with a family from another country. He worked and lived in Germany for six weeks while taking classes and living with a host family.

“I am glad I had the experience to learn what it is like to live as a German. To wake up with the family and be a part of their routine. You wake up in some else’s life for six weeks; it is something that is unbelievable,” Lopez said.

When he was in Germany his family took him to see the Hockenheimring, a racetrack for normal cars. He had never seen anything like it and loved that he could see something he was passionate about. Lopez felt he learned so much about the culture and that his German really excelled.

“The experience was great, the work was great, but it was the people you meet that really make the experience,” Lopez said.

Veronica Glavez, second year PCC student, also loved her experience in Germany, especially the history, castles, and the food.

“The food was great. I learned how to make frigadellas and how to make saurkraut. One of my favorite meals was the potato and noodle soup. One of my families gave me a German cookbook,” said

Michelle Tanner who is a senior at UC Berkeley had just returned from Finland the day before, on Saturday July 27. Her first experience abroad opened her eyes to the wonders of the world and now she hopes to study abroad during her last year of college.

“They made sure I was able to visit all the great places, eat all of the great food and have a very traditional Finish experience with a Finish family. It is something that you do not get when you are a tourist because when you are visiting you are only getting the surface level experience,” Tanner said.

Volunteering with the Sister Cities Committee since 1981, Michael Warner currently serves as the Chair of the German subcommittee. He takes care of placing the students in homes and registering them for classes at PCC. He also helps with the Pasadena students who go abroad.

“I feel that they get something out of it, it is an experience for them that I did not have when I was a kid, my German experience was compliments of the military, but I was still grateful for it,” Warner said.

Warner referenced the visit of the Vice Premier of China last year to Washington D.C. One thing the Vice Premier wanted to do was to visit his host family in Ohio that he had stayed with when he an exchange student.

“My point on that is that because he had that experience and because he is eventually most likely going to be a high political figure in China, that gives him a much different perspective than if he did not have that experience,” Warner said. “He would not know that face to face we are the same type of people. The fact that we wanted to see his host family shows that it meant something to him.”

The idea for the Sister Cities came from Dwight Eisenhower who wanted to improve relations with Germany and Japan after WWII. He thought that if people could make friends with people across the seas it would be harder to want to go to war because of that personal tie.

Even today those ties are important because the people who come to Pasadena may become strong leaders and have a better view of the U.S. as they make decisions.

“Regardless of who these kids are, they will now have a different perspective on their future,” Warner said.

The opportunity to visit one of the sister cities is available to all high school and college students age 17-24 who are residents of Pasadena or attend school in Pasadena.

Pasadena Sister Cities Hold Student Exchange Night

by Polly Nader in News PCC Courier

Pasadena Sister Cities will hold a student Exchange Night at 7 p.m. tonight at the Pasadena City Hall, City Council Chambers.During Student Exchange Night there will be a number of former exchange students speeches.

“At the meeting will be those that went this past summer and they’ll give a report about their experience and the families they stayed with,” said Fred Alcantar, president of the PSC committee.

“Two students reporting on Japan, one reporting on Finland, and one student from Polytechnic High as part of a group of 12 students, will report as part of a global studies program and part of Sister Cities International,” said Alan Lamson, Student Coordinator of PSC.

A statement from a student who traveled to Germany will also be read.

PSC exchange students can select cities across the globe such as Ludwigshafen, Germany, Mishima, Japan, J„rvenp„„, Finland, Xicheng District, Beijing, China and Vanadzor, Armenia.

Applications for the 2009 program can be found at for interested students.

The deadline to turn applications in is Nov. 28.

“We’re already got several inquiries from PCC students from the Japanese classes that are interested in going to Mishima,” Lamson.

PCC hosts exchange students from Finland, Germany and Japan. The students from Finland and Germany stay for six weeks and take summer courses at PCC. The Japanese students stay for four weeks and take English courses and attend activities at the Asian Pacific Museum. “So it works out really well,” said Alcantar.

Students will have to pay for their travel and personal expenses. Housing and generally breakfast and other meals are provided for each exchange student by a volunteer family. Each student will stay with different families for two weeks during their stay. Transportation and activities are arranged.

“The families who house kids are volunteering and it’s a sense of personal satisfaction for opening your house. We meet with them do a background check and check out their homes. We also tell them what we expect of them and what they should expect,” said Alcantar.

The committee pays for school expenses, including books. Students also receive $50 a week.

According to their website: “Sister Cities International is a non-profit, national organization driven by grassroots citizen volunteers and city officials. Exchange programs provide each country with enormous social and economic benefits and promote greater cross-cultural understanding worldwide.