View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Third sister city to be considered

The proposed partnership would focus on economic development

Posted: January 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Children in Tena, Ecuador hold up their goody bags from Santa Clarita volunteers during a 2008 mission trip to the sister city. Children in Tena, Ecuador hold up their goody bags from Santa Clarita volunteers during a 2008 mission trip to the sister city.
Children in Tena, Ecuador hold up their goody bags from Santa Clarita volunteers during a 2008 mission trip to the sister city.

The Santa Clarita Valley International Program plans to propose a third sister city to the City Council by mid-2013, the nonprofit’s leaders say, although the sister city and country have not been determined.

A third sister city partnership would focus on economic development, as opposed to the humanitarian and cultural focuses currently taken with Tena, Ecuador, and Sariaya, Philippines, said Claudia Acosta-Junqueira, SCVIP’s board president.

“It would be a different relationship from the ones we already have in Tena and Sariaya,” Acosta-Junqueira said. “We’re thinking about our local interests in regards to interests abroad. What are some of the biggest global needs of industries that we have in Santa Clarita?”

The SCVIP will be meeting with Santa Clarita businesses in the coming months to determine what they would like in a business-focused sister city relationship.

Formal sister city relationships aim to make connections between the cities’ programs, government leaders and residents to promote understanding and respect of different cultures. More than 2,100 cities in 210 countries participate under the umbrella organization Sister Cities International. Santa Clarita first became a sister city with Tena, Ecuador, in 2001 and Sariaya, Philippines, in 2003. It has hosted city leaders from the sister cities, and Santa Clarita officials have traveled to the other cities as well.

No specific city or country has been decided yet for the third city, Acosta-Junqueira said, but Santa Clarita and its businesses and schools already have ongoing relationships with cities in China and Brazil, which are global economic forces.

“These things take time, just like any partnership,” she said. “We have to be a little more intentional and really plan for that relationship.”

Elena Galvez, vice president of SCVIP, said the city receives requests from cities about a potential sister city relationship.

“When we do, we take a look at all of the demographic information, the type of industries prevalent in those cities and see how that connects and can be a match with our community,” she said.

Even though relationships with Tena and Sariaya were formed within two years of each other, Galvez said the organization wanted to take its time before adding a third.

“We don’t want to add sister cities that kind of sit idle,” Galvez said. “We want to make sure the community and programs are engaged. We want to make sure every sister city has a focus and ongoing programming.”

Currently, Santa Clarita doctors volunteer in Tena every January by providing free cleft palate surgery to Ecuadorian children. College of the Canyons also runs study abroad programs in the sister cities, including a teaching fellowship in Tena. Acosta-Junquiera and Galvez both said the organization hopes to ramp up its youth involvement with the current sister cities.

“We want to focus on engaging our youth, helping to prepare the youth of Santa Clarita with global perspective and make them more competitive in the workforce,” Galvez said.

Sister city programs are approved by the City Council, but there is no public budget for the relationships. Any trips and educational programs are paid through private funding and grants through SCVIP, Acosta-Junqueira said.



Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...