“Two deeply held convictions unite us in common purpose. First, is our belief in effective, responsive, local government as a principal bulwark of freedom; second, is our faith in the great promise of Sister City affiliations in helping build the solid structure of world peace.”

-President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sister City relationships offer the opportunity to exchange information, arts, culture, resources and assistance between the two cities. In 1956 President Eisenhower instituted the People-to-People program, subsequently endorsed by President Kennedy.  The program enables every citizen to play an important, tangible role in promoting international friendship and understanding. A town affiliation links an American city with a community in a foreign land, usually where both share common characteristics like size, history, industry, geography and/or economics.

The City of Richmond believes that person-to-person contact promotes world peace and has established three Sister City relationships:

  1. Shimada, Japan in 1961
  2. Zhoushan, China in 1993
  3. Regla, Cuba in 1999

Richmond – Shimada, Japan, Sister City Project

The Richmond-Shimada Friendship Commission was created to initiate and conduct approved exchange activities with appropriate organizations, groups and citizens of Shimada.

The Richmond-Shimada friendship began when the mayors of both cities met in Washington, DC to discuss the idea and sealed it in 1961.  2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Richmond-Shimada friendship. In honor of this milestone, the Cities of

Richmond and Shimada co-sponsored the Richmond-Shimada Golden Rose Festival in 2012 at the Richmond Memorial Convention Center. Community members came out and enjoyed performances from troupes that travelled from Shimada, Japan to participate in the festival.  Performances included Taiko Drumming, Japanese Sword Exhibition, Tea Ceremony, Calligraphy and more.

Richmond — Zhoushan, Zhejiang, PR China, Sister City Project

Richmond formed a sister-city relationship with Zhoushan, China in 1993 at the request of Walter Fong, a San Francisco businessman who had grown up in Zhoushan. In the fall of 1993 the first delegation from Zhoushan arrived and the Richmond-Zhoushan relationship agreement was completed when a delegation of 19 Richmonders visited Zhoushan in 1994. Since then, the two cities have strived to send delegations back and forth on an annual alternating basis. Many lasting relationships have been formed, along with appreciation and understanding of our cultures has increased.

Highlights include a group of young professionals who came from Zhoushan to study at Contra Costa College and live in Richmond homes. Richmond also took two art exhibits to Zhoushan and Zhoushan brought an exhibit of Peasant Paintings to the Richmond Art Center, where all were sold. And then, through a generous donation from Kaiser Permanente Richmond, Richmond facilitated the delivery of essential medical supplies to the hospital in Zhoushan.

Signing the September 2017 Sister City Agreement in Zhoushan, China with Richmond, CA, USA and Zhoushan, Zhejiang, PR China delegates

Standing: Trina Jackson, City of Richmond, Matt Lewis, Visit Richmond CA, Jim Matzorkis, Port of Richmond, Leonard Berry, Backstrom, McCarley, Berry & Co, Lucy Zhou, Port of Richmond, Zhuang, Fang and Jason Zhuang from Zhoushan.

Seated: Eduardo Martinez, City of Richmond Councilmember and Vice Mayor Wang, City of Richmond, CA

Councilmember Eduardo Martinez, President James Lee, Richmond Chamber of Commerce,  Jim Matzorkis, Port of Richmond Director, Lucy Zhou, Port of  Richmond Marketing/Operations Manager,  Sara Zhao, Realtor®, Feagley Realtors, Stanley Li, President & CEO, Netswitch Technologies and Matt Lewis, Executive Director, Visit Richmond CA, were proud to represent Richmond at the 2017 International Islands Tourism Conference and Sister City Events with Zhoushan, China.

In addition, Matt Lewis continued on to Beijing and Shanghai for appointments with Chinese Travel and Tour Operators to discuss Richmond as an opportunity for some of their travelers.

Richmond – Regla, Cuba, Sister City Project

The Richmond-Regla, Cuba Sister City Committee works to establish citizen exchanges and collaborations in the following areas: medical, cultural educational, municipal and humanitarian. Once a smugglers ‘port and today the setting of Havana’ s bullfights, Regla is a major center of industry. It is a blue-collar town

with a long history of struggle. Similar to Richmond in many ways, Regla has oil refineries and is home to the main electricity-generating plant for Havana. Regla has a large Afro-Cuban population and is an important cultural and religious center of Santeria, an inherently unique Cuban religion, and a cultural inheritance.