Sister Cities Committee


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 NEW! Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan, late March-early April, 2017

Mission of the Sister Cities Committee

President Eisenhower officially proclaimed the establishment of the People-to-People Program (later to be known as the Sister City Program) in 1956 to promote understanding and strengthen international ties. To accomplish this goal, Sister Cities International has helped to link many U.S. cities and towns with localities abroad. These city to city affiliations provide the opportunity to build friendships, learn about other cultures, and foster international understanding.

Meetings are held on the second Monday of every other month (January, March, May, July, September and November) at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA.

The Sister Cities Committee is an eleven-member city advisory body appointed by the City Council. All Commissioners are unpaid volunteers. Any citizen of the city or county of Santa Cruz who demonstrates an interest in the activities of the Committee is eligible for appointment.

Our Sister Cities
The following are the five sister cities of Santa Cruz, California:

  • Shingu, Japan 
  • Jinotepe, Nicaragua
  • Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
  • Sestri Levante, Italy
  • Alushta, Ukraine

Our Friendship City

  • Kasese, Uganda was established as a friendship city of Santa Cruz in November 2011. Through a "friendship" relationship of two years, the two cities will have the opportunity to explore the potential of becoming sister cities. 

Find us on Facebook at Facebook | Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee
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Activities and Current Projects (or scroll down for Mac users):
The Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee is actively involved in strengthening these relationships through a variety of activities:

  • Humanitarian projects abroad
  • Youth programs/exchanges
  • Visitor exchanges
  • Cultural and business exchanges
  • School affiliations/pen pals (adult & children)
  • Hospitality Committee for greeting foreign visitors
  • Local projects benefiting Santa Cruz
  • Friendship garden on the mall in downtown Santa Cruz

Staff Contact:
Carol Scurich
323 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

Additional Information: 
Commission Openings
Bylaws of the Sister Cities Committee
Meeting Information

Signup to receive email notices for future Sister Cities Committee meetings; go to eNotifications page and check the Sister Cities Committee box.

Donate to Santa Cruz Sister Cities Support (SCSCS) via our donation button. SCSCS is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization established in 2001 to support the Sister Cities Committee programs and activities.  

PayPal Donation Button

Join Sister Cities Support -- a non-profit organization established to provide financial support for the programs and events of the Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee. SUPPORT enables successful programs that promote social, cross-cultural, and educational needs for the residents of the City of Santa Cruz and its sister cities. Membership is open to anyone who has the desire and willingness to promote and foster the objectives and purpose of the Sister Cities Committee. Members are eligible to serve on subcommittees of the Sister Cities Committee and assist with special projects and events. Members receive all newsletters, special invitations to events, program announcements and ticket discounts. Members are eligible to apply for certain exchange programs and trips. Support Membership Form. (Tax ID #770575231) 

Current Projects

Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan - first week of April 2017: Twelve talented 8-10th grade students from Santa Cruz will be visiting Shingu this spring to soak in the culture, lifestyle and natural beauty of our sister city of 40 years! For more information email Gayle McCallum

Are you a Writer?: Enter the Hans Christian Andersen Writing Contest sponsored by the Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee! Information 


Sister Cities Celebrates the past winners of the annual Hans Christian Andersen Writing Contest
Congratulations to our young writers and youth contest participants.  Below, are the selected writings by contest winners arranged by age category and placement.

  Miel Fay Ruckman      1st Place - Ages 6-10     The Mermaids and the Shark
  Miles Porter 1st Place - Ages 11-16     Home
  Fiona Wasson Lyon 1st Place - Ages 11-16     Sing Your Own Song
  Sarah B. Merrill 2nd Place - Ages 11-16     The Mysterious Quilter
  Malakai Wade 2nd Place - Ages 11-16     Mr. Mercer's Gnome Garden
  Saskia Wade 3rd Place - Ages 11-16     My Petal Fairies
  Joan Prebilich 1st Place - Ages 17+     Mrs. Wing's Magic Tea Shop
  Alisha Dauterive 2nd Place - Ages 17+     New Found Sight 
  Ariella Kellet 2nd Place - Ages 17+     Wolf's Law

Recent Projects: 

Santa Cruz and Shingu Celebrate 40 Years as Sister Cities: The Santa Cruz-Shingu relationship began with an aikido trip to Japan and has been going strong ever since! Linda Holiday, owner of Aikido of Santa Cruz initiated the relationship with her visit in 1974 and delegations back and forth through four decades have strengthened the relationship. Several delegations will take place in 2014 including the Spring Student and Small Business delegations in March and an inbound Shingu Student Delegation in August. Two tentative adult delegations (inbound and outbound) in October are also under consideration. Ceremonies at the the Japanese Cultural Fair (June 7, Mission Plaza) will commemorate the anniversary. For more information, call Roxi Goin, 831-427-1715.

Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan, late March-early April, 2015: Twelve talented 8-10th grade students from Santa Cruz will be visiting Shingu this spring to soak in the culture, lifestyle and natural beauty of our sister city of 40 years! For more information call Roxi Goin 831-427-1715. Please see 2015 Shingu Application.

Small Business Delegation to Shingu, Japan: March 24-27, 2014: A special business delegation comprised of Teresa Thomae, Director of the Central Coast Small Business Development Center and Alex Kramer will visit Shingu to offer workshops in small business development. Shingu youth increasingly leave Shingu to seek jobs in larger cities. These workshops are designed to help local Shinguans learn how to develop small businesses within their own community.  For more information call Roxi Goin at 831-427-1715.

Crimean Delegation Visited Santa Cruz on November 13, 2013: A delegation of officials from the Crimea, Ukraine visited Santa Cruz for meetings with Mayor Hilary Bryant, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Santa Cruz wine industry and UCSC. The delegation visited the Santa Cruz Wharf's Firefish Grill for lunch and Sone's Cellars for wine and cheese reception. For more information on the delegation, call Enda Brennan, 831-429-9100.

Interviews for Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan: The Sister Cities Committee of Santa Cruz accepted applications from students in grades 8 through 10 for a student delegation to Shingu for ten days in spring 2014 and interviews have taken place. More news to follow! While in Japan, students will learn about Japanese culture and visit local points of interest. Call Sister Cities Shingu Subcommittee Chair, Roxi Goin at 831-427-1715 for more information.

Anno and Linda

Motomichi Anno and author Linda Holiday celebrated new book release on October 5, 2013.

New Book Celebrates Santa Cruz-Shingu Sister Cities Connection through Aikido, the "Art of Peace," Saturday, October 5, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm, First Congregational Church -- The public celebrated on October 5 the release of the new book "Journey to the Heart of Aikido", by local author and internationally known Aikido teacher Linda Holiday. 82-year-old Aikido master-teacher Motomichi Anno traveled from Shingu, Japan and spoke at this community event, which was co-sponsored by Aikido of Santa Cruz, the Japanese Cultural Fair, and the City of Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee. For more book information, visit:  

2013_08_20_Shingu Delegation

Shingu Jr. High Delegation, August 16-22, 2013: Students from Shingu had a great time with their host families and new friends on this one-week delegation.

Student Delegation from Shingu, Japan, August 16-22, 2013: 14 students and 3 chaperones from our sister city of Shingu, Japan visited Santa Cruz and had a fabulous time experiencing first-hand all that Santa Cruz has to offer. These exceptional kids home stayed with with local families and visited the Boardwalk, Seymour Discovery Center, downtown Santa Cruz and Capitola and more while here. For more information on future delegations, call Roxi Goin, 831-427-1715.

Kasese Delegation

Kasese Friendship City Delegation, June 2-11, 2013: From left: Dannettee Shoemaker, Director of Parks and Recreation; Santa Cruz Mayor Bryant; Kasese Mayor Kabbyanga; Godfrey Kasozi, Director of CETRUD; Alex Majeme, Kasese Town Clerk; Peggy Pollard, delegation organizer; Caroline Nsubuga Past President, Rotary Club of Kasese; and Ritah Khan, Director Rwenzori Cotton Ginners Co. Ltd

Friendship City delegation from Kasese, Uganda, June 2-11, 2013: The Mayor of Kasese and four other Kasese leaders including the Mayor and Town Clerk visited the City of Santa Cruz to kick off the “Friendship City” relationship between the two cities. One of the delegates was Godfrey Kasozi, a 1999 alumni of the UCSC “Farm” Center for AgroEcology, and director of CETRUD Center for Environmental Technology and Rural Development. Kasozi initiated the application for Kasese to become a sister city with Santa Cruz. While here, the delegation met with local leaders, was featured on Community TV and participated in local events.  Recent severe flooding in Kasese has displaced more than 25,000 residents. Donations for flood relief are being accepted now. Send checks payable to Sister Cities Support, memo line Kasese Flood Relief to 323 Church St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Please also notify Peggy Pollard, Kasese subcommittee for receipt purposes. Link to website for more information. 

2013 Student Delegation to Shingu Japan

Spring 2013 Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan, March 23, 2013 - April 2, 2013; Front row left to right - Michaela Sones, Lindsey Aquino, Lydia Harder, Sophie McCallum-Spalaris, Madelyn Magellan, San Fraser, Second row - Morgan Eidam, Maria Hernandez, Anna-Marie Scott, Jeff Pittman, Roxi Goin, Sally Kane, Alan Hiromura; Back row - Sebastian Langenberg, Zachary Kumaishi

Spring 2013 Student Delegation to Shingu, Japan, March 23, 2013 - April 2, 2013. The Sister Cities Committee Student Delegation to Shingu was honored at the May 14th Santa Cruz City Council meeting for their outstanding visit of good will and friendship to the Japanese sister city. Mayor Hilary Bryant thanked the students for representing the City of Santa Cruz so wonderfully and Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson bestowed certificates of appreciation. The 14 talented students and three chaperones made the journey March 23 through April 2 and enjoyed visits to area shrines, temples and natural resources. They practiced Zen meditation at Kamikuro Shrine, visited the beautiful Nachi Waterfalls, and hiked the Kumano Pilgrimage Road Walk. The students stayed with local host families, visited Shingu High School and were celebrated at local events. A reciprocal visit of Shingu students to Santa Cruz is planned for August. Exchanges take place annually and the Santa Cruz-Shingu Sister Cities relationship celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. For more information on the Shingu sub-committee contact Chair Roxi Goin at 427-1715.

Santa Cruz Sister Cities Support Potluck Picnic, Monday, May 20, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Harvey West Clubhouse:  Sister Cities Support sponsored this event celebrating Sister Cities recent activities and accomplishments. Special guests and events: 

• Mayor Hilary Bryant welcomed a group of international cyclists touring Santa Cruz.
• Farewell to Daniyl Klimenko, FLEX Exchange Student who returned home from Alushta, Ukraine, after a year at SLV High School.
• Recently returned students from Shingu, Japan reported on their trip.
• Learn more about new exchange students for 2013-14 school year from Alushta who are seeking host families.

2013_HCA Awards 14

Hans Christian Andersen Writing Contest Awards, March 26, 2013: Winners pose with Council members on the dais. Congrats and good luck in the international writing competition in Sestri Levante, Italy!

2013 Hans Christian Andersen Writing Contest Awards: Hans Christian Andersen wintered in Sestri Levante, hence the international writing contest in his name in our sister city of Sestri Levante. The Sister Cities Committee presents a local version of this writing contest and then forwards winning entries to the international competition held each spring in Sestri. Local awards were announced at the March 26, 2013 council meeting as follows (some stories still to be scanned):

Ages 6-10 in the Bambini division:

1st place Fiona Wasson Lyon for The Quail and the Tricky Bobcat
2nd place Maaike Luini for The Mystery Keyboard
3rd place Alisa Bennett for The White Deer
Honorable Mention Quentin Freeman for Crow

Ages 11-16 in the Ragazzi division:

1st place co-authors Bayson Chope and Giovanni Cerrito for Jack and the Donkey
2nd place co-authors William Cookroft and Arlin Cuthbertson for Alex, George and the Dragon

Ages 17 and above in the Adulti division:

1st place Joseph Isonio for The Birth of Hope
2nd place Joan Prebilich for Fairy Godmother’s Matrimonial Services, Inc.
3rd place tie
Elsbeth Inglett for the Agave and the Bird and Sunset Sky Richter for The Story of Kelsinor
Honorable Mention Joan Reed Newman for Marta’s Gift  

2013 Open World Delegation

Open World Delegation of Young Women Professionals from Alushta, Ukraine, March 11, 2013: Bonnie Lipscomb, Economic Development Director; Nataliya Mazur, Facilitor, Open World Program; Dannettee Shoemaker, Director of Parks and Recreation; Natalya Shkatula, Head of the Physical Culture and Sports Sector, Department of Family, Youth and Sports; Olha Barabash, Department of the Socio-Economic Development and Investment; Anastasiya Zhulikova; Director Alushta Social Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children; Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson; Mayor Hilary Bryant; Tetyana Statyeva, Deputy Director of Educational Work, Creativity Center for Children and Youth and Anna Malyuta, Editor, Television and Radio Broadcasting Company 555.



 Open World Delegation of Young Women Professionals from Alushta, Ukraine, March 11, 2013: Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson and Mayor Hilary Bryant met with delegates and interpreters to share ideas about city issues relevant to both Santa Cruz and Alushta.


Open World Delegation of Young Women Professionals from Alushta, Ukraine, March 11, 2013: Bonnie Lipscomb, Economic Development Director connected with the delegates on business development, leadership styles and challenges.


Open World Delegation of Young Women Professionals from Alushta, Ukraine, March 11, 2013: Carol Scurich, Recreation Superintendent (4th from left), met with delegates to discuss recreation programs and services.

Open World Delegation of Young Women Professionals from Ukraine, March 8-15, 2013: A group of five young women professionals from Ukraine and one facilitator visited Santa Cruz through the Open World Leadership Center and the Sister Cities Committee to make connections with local women officials and business women. A series of meetings took place with Mayor Hilary Bryant, Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson and officials from the Parks and Recreation Department, Economic Development, and the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. The group also met with the Rotary Club, Santa Cruz Community TV, Boys and Girls Club and the Teen Center. Visits to the UCSC Digital Arts Program, KUSP, the Good Times and Barrios Unidos were also scheduled. For more information, please contact Enda Brennan at 831-429-9100.

Japanese Cultural Fair Fundraiser, Saturday, March 9, 7:00 pm, Pacific Cultural Center on Seabright Avenue. The evening featured outstanding musicians playing Koto, Shakuhachi, and Shamisen. One of the artists was a Shamisen Master from Japan: Mr. Mashiro Nitta. Also performing was Ms. Shirley Muramoto and her son Brian Wong on Koto, Mr. Karl Young on the Shakuhashi, and Mr. Kyle Abbott on the Shamisen. If you were not able to attend, please consider making a donation to our non-profit organization at


2013 Alushta Teachers Delegation

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 4, 2013: from left, Fred Seamon, Vice Chair of the Sister Cities Committee; Dannettee Shoemaker, Director of Parks and Recreation; Enda Brennan, Sister Cities Committee; Hilary Bryant, Mayor, City of Santa Cruz; Natasha Leontieva, Retired English Teacher at School #3; Cynthia Mathews, Santa Cruz City Councilmember; Tatiana Krylova, English Teacher at School #2; Kris Kennedy, Retired Santa Cruz City Schools Teacher and exchange teacher to Alushta in 2012; and Tamara Sitenko, Principal at School #3

2013 Alushta Teachers Delegation at Library 2

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 4, 2013: Natasha Leontieva listens intently to Santa Cruz Main Library staffers O'Driscoll and O'Grady.

2013 Alushta Teachers Delegation at Library

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 4, 2013: The delegation thoroughly enjoyed their tour of the Santa Cruz Main Library.

2013 Alushta Teachers Delegation at Public Works

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 4, 2013: The delegation met with Public Works staff Mary Simmons and Christine Moran to learn more about education efforts around recycling.

2013 Alushta Delegaton at City Council

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 12, 2013: Delegates Natasha Leontieva and Tamara Sitenko address the Santa Cruz City Council.

2013 Alushta Delegaton at City Council 2

Alushta Teachers Delegation to Santa Cruz, February 12, 2013: from left, Deborah Luhrman, Chair of the Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee, delegate Tatiana Krylova, delegation organizer Kris Kennedy, delegates Tamara Sitenko and Natasha Leontieva, and Mayor Hilary Bryant pose after council ceremonies welcoming the delegation.

Teacher Exchange with sister city of Alushta, Ukraine, February 3-22, 2013: A three-teacher delegation is visiting Santa Cruz to teach in Bay View, Gault and Westlake Elementary Schools. A welcome reception was held Monday, February 4 in the City Hall Courtyard (photo above) and a City Council welcome took place on February 12 in Council Chambers. While here, the delegation met with city leaders and school officials, visited the Teen Center, the Resource Center for Non-violence and CASA. They experienced local special events including the the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, a concert at Kuumbwa, the Monarch Butterfly Festival and more. Regional destinations included the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pt. Lobos, San Juan Bautista and San Francisco. For more information, please contact Kris Kennedy at 


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