SMYRNA SISTER CITY PROGRAM
The Sister City Concept
Smyrna Sister City Program is part of a national not-for-profit volunteer movement initiated more than 40 years ago by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s people-to-people concept. The goal of people-to-people was to further international understanding and goodwill between the people of the U.S. and the rest of the world. Sister cities programs enable citizens from throughout the world to learn more about each other through educational, social, cultural and business exchanges.
The Sister City Agreement and Program
In 1991, the Town of Smyrna entered into a Sister City agreement with Zama City, Japan. At that time, Zama was home to a Nissan auto manufacturing facility. The first visit to Zama included adult municipal and community leaders, but soon thereafter, the Town Council determined that a student exchange program would serve the youth of Smyrna well and provide an excellent opportunity for a cultural exchange between students of both communities.
Also established in 1991, the Smyrna Sister City Committee supports and coordinates a student-centered program to enhance and promote Smyrna’s international profile and foster productive exchanges in education, culture and the arts with our Sister City Zama, Japan. Students and chaperones travel to Japan during the summer every three years and live with host families in Zama for approximately two weeks. The following year, a delegation of students and chaperones from Zama stay with student and adult hosts in Smyrna.
Why do Sister City Relationships Matter?
The Smyrna Sister City program opens doors to establishing meaningful and lasting global friendships, partnerships and connections. People-to-people relationships not only enhance our lives, but represent our best hope for peace and prosperity in the future. Sister City programs raise awareness of global issues, promote greater participation in international dialogue and exchange and, by doing so, build and strengthen bridges of mutual understanding and respect.
Where is Zama City?
Zama is a city in the Kanagawa Prefecture in eastern Japan. In 2010, almost 129,000 people lived there. Zama is also home to the United States Camp Zama Army base. It is 40 km from Tokyo and 20 km from Yokohama.
Student exchanges from Smyrna to Zama
Generally, every three years the Town of Smyrna sends a delegation of students and chaperones to Zama. Exchanges last about two weeks and take place during the summer, usually during the month of July.
Twenty Smyrna Middle and High School students and 5 adult chaperones are selected to travel to Zama, based upon application information and interviews. Each student lives with a Zama student, in that student’s home. Every effort is made to ensure that the host student and guest student have the best exchange experience possible. Group activities are planned for the majority of the trip including attending school with host students for two days. Additionally, hosts provide other activities that give a true representation of Japanese life.
For further information, please contact Casey Conard in the Treasury Department at (615) 459-2553 ext. 2152