Ashland and Guanajuato
Ashland and Sviatohirsk's
(Benefit events for our Sister Cities will be posted on the City calendar on the home page.)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Click here for a virtual tour of 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.
The Ashland City Council unanimously approved a sister city partnership with Sviatohirsík, Ukraine, at the June 20, 2023, Council meeting. The relationship will support humanitarian aid and fundraising efforts within the Ashland community. The approved partnership authorized Mayor Tonya Graham to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that memorializes the relationship between Sviatohirsík and Ashland and offers support amidst unimaginable suffering and dire conditions faced by our brothers and sisters of Ukraine.
The new sister city relationship will involve various reciprocal activities in education, the arts and business, such as exchange programs, scholarships, cultural events, language training programs and potential business partnerships Ė Much like the relationship the City of Ashland has shared with their other sister city, Guanajuato, for over 50 years. However, due to the devastation of Sviatohirsík by Russian occupation in 2022, the immediate goal will be to aid the new sister city. The AshlandĖSviatohirsík Aid Project (ASAP) will be vital in this effort.
To learn more about ASAP and ways that you can help, please visit ASAPAshland.org.