Sister Cities International was founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote international goodwill through citizen diplomacy. Today, Nashville has seven official sister cities with whom we share cultural activities, participate in student exchange programs, and provide support in times of need.
Belfast, Ireland has a music scene comparable to that of Nashville, fostering singer/songwriters and production studios, so it was an easy decision to partner with Belfast for the International project. Recently, songwriters from Nashville and Belfast came together for a collaborative celebration of music. First, Nashvillians traveled to Ireland to perform in several different venues in Belfast and learn about their culture as well as their music. One month later, Belfast singers made the trip to Nashville, where they partnered with local songwriters to perform in venues such as Bluebird Café, Belcourt Theater, and Dan McGuinness Irish Pub.
Another sister city is Mendoza Argentina, a city known for its vineyards and wine. Nashville and Mendoza participate in a student exchange program. This allows students learning Spanish the opportunity to spend time in Mendoza, Argentina. In order to fund raise for this benefit, Nashville hosted an international-themed dinner with each course paired with a wine from Mendoza. The exchange program also brings students from Mendoza to Nashville to stay with host families for an extended period of time to learn the English language and immerse themselves in American culture.
Nashville’s relationship with Magdeburg, Germany involves a blog for theater professionals to collaborate across thousands of miles. One year, the blog inspired a simultaneous performance of the play Das Treffen (The Other Side) in each city. Plans were made this summer for international artists to come to Nashville’s beautiful Shermerhorn Symphony Center and play side by side with the Nashville Symphony, but the flood in May made that event impossible. Our sister city in Germany felt that the bond between the two cities was strong enough that they wanted to help. In the spirit of Music City, a jazz concert was held in Magdeburg to raise money for flood relief. The concert raised over $6,000 and was sent immediately to Mayor Karl Dean to help Nashvillians recover from the disaster.
Other sister cities of Nashville include Edmonton, Canada, Taiyuan, China, and Caen and Crouy, France. There is always a list of candidates to become the next sister city to partner with Nashville to expand our international network to include countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Turkey. Check out the Nashville Sister Cities website to learn more about this program.
Allen has visited Tsuru, Japan, the Sister City of Nashville’s neighbor, Hendersonville, TN. Tsuru and Hendersonville have had an educational affiliation since 1983. This relationship includes a schedule of exchange visits among adults, highschool students and Tsuru middle school students.