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International Program Activities

Delegation travels to Biot, France

First delegation leaves for Biot, France the first week of April. A 8- person delegation will head to our newest sister city to take part in their Knight Templars festival April 3-7th.

International Film Festival

Tacoma-Pierce County Sister Cities International Film & Food Festival is an annual event at the Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma . 2011 is the 9th year of this cultural event that is held every Thursday during the months of February, March and the first two weeks in April. Join us for a memorable evening of award winning films, and cultural programs from our Sister cities around the world.

For film selections and ticket information please visit their Website & Ticket information:

Past Activities

International Music Festival
The Tacoma-Pierce County Sister Cities held the International Music Festival in August of 2006. This event brought youth musicians from Tacoma ’s sister cities to Tacoma to perform in concert with youth from the Tacoma Youth Symphony. Musicians from six Tacoma sister cities including Kitakyushu, Japan; Fuzhou, China; Gunsan, Korea; Taichung, Taiwan; Aalesund, Norway and George, South Africa participated in this week of rehearsals, and fun activities. The musicians were homestay guests to musicians from the Tacoma Youth Symphony and sister city committee supporters.

There were two compelling reasons for implementing the International Music Festival:

  1. Music is the only common language;
  2. there is no competition, winners or losers. Instead all of the musicians are on one team striving for a common goal.

Kitakyushu, Japan Student Exchange
The Tacoma-Kitakyushu Sister City Committee has successfully partnered a student exchange project with Tobata High School in Kitakyushu, Japan since 2000. The exchange is for one year and a local student from Tacoma and a Japanese student attend school in the opposite country. Students have the opportunity to attend school and homestay. This exchange allows the both students to improve their foreign language skills and experience school and family life in another culture. The student exchange project was a biennial exchange program in 2006.

Tacoma Pierce County Baseball Exchange
The Tacoma Pierce County Baseball Exchange began in 1988 between Tacoma and its sister city, Kitakyushu, Japan. The purpose of the exchange was to promote cultural understanding and goodwill through sports. High school students from Tacoma and Kitakyushu were selected to compete against one another through a series of baseball tournaments. The real exchange took place as the players alternated visits to each country and had the opportunity to homestay or live with American and Japanese families. The Baseball Exchange was a very successful sister cities program and won an award from Sister Cities International for its promotion of cultural understanding. After 13 years of successful exchanges, the Tacoma Pierce County Baseball Exchange ended with the last exchange to Kitakyushu in 2005.

Taichung, Taiwan Book Exchange
In November 2005, the City of Taichung’s Cultural Affairs Bureau established a Children’s English Study Room in Taichung. The Tacoma-Taichung Sister City Committee collected more than 100 children’s books from the Tacoma-Pierce County area and donated the books to Taichung’s Cultural Affairs Bureau. In return, Taichung shipped over 130 Chinese/Taiwanese books to Tacoma’s Sister City Committee. The Committee donated the books to the Tacoma Public Library in February 2006 to enrich the existing Chinese book collection.

George, South Africa Humanitarian Projects
In 2006, the Tacoma-George Committee spearheaded a humanitarian effort to ship items to their sister city. They partnered with the Tacoma, Olympia and George, SA Rotary Clubs. A container filled with approximately 45,000 lbs. of donated medical equipment and supplies, computers, school books & supplies, office equipment, blankets, toys, shoes and other miscellaneous items were sent from Tacoma to George, SA. The container was loaded with generously donated items from the Gathering Project, a Tacoma enterprise which specializes in sending surplus goods from the Puget Sound area to third world countries where it has tremendous value. The Rotary Club of George played an active role in distributing the items to an HIV/AIDS refuge and orphanage, a battered women’s shelter, schools, a home for the elderly and other needy recipients.

In 2002 the Tacoma George Sister City Committee received a Humanitarian Award from Sister Cities International for their commitment to improving the lives of their counterparts.

Cienfuegos, Cuba Water Project
The Tacoma-Cienfuegos, Cuba Sister City Committee recently completed a water project to the Buena Vista neighborhood in Cienfuegos, Cuba. This unserved neighborhood now receives running water and no longer relies on the daily water truck. The neighborhood includes families, 2 schools, a nursing home and a medical clinic. The Committee fundraised to cover the project cost of $12,500.

Dragon Boat Races
The Tacoma Dragon Boat Team went to Fuzhou, China in 2000. The Tacoma Dragon Boat Association traveled as a delegation of 48 people to Fuzhou to participate in a two-day dragon boat racing event that included China’s national men’s team and other regional champions. There were about 26 people who paddled, and the rest of the Tacoma delegation provided team support. The races were viewed by about one million viewers from the shore and several millions of television viewers.

The Sister Cities Council also generously donated $1,000 in 2001 to help nurture the fledgling TDBA’s mission to support the community and bring Tacoma to the world through dragon boating.

The tradition of Dragon Boat racing is still maintained in Tacoma by The Tacoma Dragon Boat Association (TDBA), a nonprofit amateur athletic association. Activities include racing venues plus fun and demonstration events. Dragon Boats moor at the Petrich Marine Dock on the Thea Foss Waterway.

For current information on International Programs Activities, please visit the Related Sites page.

Please visit the Resource Library for helpful downloadable documents, and the Related Sites page for more online information.