Tuesday, May 1, saw the Birmingham Sister City Commission win Sister Cities International’s 2011 Best Overall Program Award for a city with a population between 100,001 and 300,000. The press release from Sister Cities states the award “recognizes sister city programs that demonstrate outstanding accomplishments in advancing the goals and mission of the sister cities movement.”
Efforts included establishing an E-Pal program with Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel that now includes two schools there and four in Birmingham, enabling more than 300 students to communicate each week via email and video conference. It also included several art exchanges with sister cities Guadiawaye, Senegal; Hitachi, Japan (where they helped organize disaster relief following last year’s earthquake and tsunami and sent two local college graduates to serve as English teachers for two years); Karak, Jordan; and Plzen, Czech Republic.
Representatives of the commission, established in 1982, will have the honor of attending a ceremony recognizing the honor with other winners in Jacksonville, Florida (currently scheduled for July 14).