The sister city relationship between Ashland and Guanajuato was formally established in 1969. During the 1960s groups of students from Southern Oregon University (SOU) traveled to parts of Mexico, including Guanajuato during vacation. The students were unofficial representatives of Ashland.
In the early 1970s Ashland and Guanajuato were given official recognition as Sister Cities through the internationally incorporated body, Sister Cities International.
Sister Cities International
SCI is the world's largest citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between 1,100 U.S. and 1,770 foreign cities in 123 countries. SCI is a national, non-profit, volunteer membership organization of U.S. communities.
SCI's goals are: to develop municipal partnerships between U.S. and foreign communities; to create opportunities for citizens to experience and explore other cultures; to create an atmosphere in which economic development and trade can be developed, implemented and strengthened; to stimulate environments through which municipal partnerships can creatively learn, work, and solve problems together.
Sister City affiliations began shortly after WWII and developed into a national initiative when President Eisenhower proposed the people-to-people program. The intention was to involve people and organized groups at all levels of U.S. society in citizen diplomacy with the hope that people-to-people relationships, fostered through sister city affiliations, would lessen the chance of future world conflicts.
Both Ashland and Guanajuato are home to state universities.
Both communities are home to world-class theatre, and are known as cultural centers in their respective regions both for performing and visual arts.
Tourism plays a major role in the economies of both cities.
Both cities have Amigo Clubs whose members are local citizens dedicated to strengthening the sister city ties.
Both communities have streets dedicated to the other city.
University students and faculty members share year-long exchanges, which has contributed to internationalize the two campuses.
Representatives from Guanajuato travel to Ashland to participate in Ashland's 4th of July celebration each year, and representatives from Ashland travel to Guanajuato each year to participate in Guanajuato's Fiestas de San Juan y la Presa de la Olla.
Ashland City staff has traveled to Guanajuato to present a workshop on the use of a computer software program for city planning; SOU staff have done the same for the University de Guanajuato.
Guanajuato students have done practicum work through the City of Ashland.
Ashland donated an ambulance and other fire and safety equipment to Guanajuato.
The relationship strengthens the bond between our cities and institutions of higher education.
International diplomacy on a people-to-people basis facilitates international understanding on official and individual levels.
April 18 through April 23, 1999, representatives from Guanajuato visited Ashland for a week of meetings and entertainment to celebrate 30 years of Ashland and Guanajuato as sister cities.
The 90 visitors represented areas of education, government, arts, Chamber of Commerce, students, fire and police, and the professional community.
August 29 through September 3, 1999, representatives from Ashland traveled to Guanajuato for the same purpose, again representing all areas of the community.