About Duluth Sister Cities International

Mission Statement:

With person to person diplomacy and mutual respect, Duluth Sister Cities International promotes global understanding through cultural, economic, and educational endeavors.

Vision Statement:

DSCI is thriving and widely known in the community for creating exciting opportunities to connect through person to person diplomacy and mutual respect with people from our Sister Cities. DSCI has funds and strong member support from the community to take our mission of promoting global understanding though cultural, economic, and educational endeavors.


The History of the Sister City Program

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the people-to-people diplomacy concept, he believed that relationships fostered in this program would lessen the possibility of future world conflicts. This concept grew and eventually led to the creation of Sister Cities International (SCI). SCI is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that focuses on creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding, and to stimulate economic development. SCI leads the movement for local community development and volunteer action by motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual benefit.

The Duluth Sister Cities Commission, established in 1986 as a City of Duluth commission broadened its scope in 2007 to become an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization known as Duluth Sister Cities International. Today, Duluth Sister Cities International continues to expand its relationships with its Sister Cities: Thunder Bay, Canada; Ohara -Isumi-city, Japan; Petrozavodsk, Russia; Växjö, Sweden; and Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Our Accomplishments

Duluth Sister Cities International has participated, planned and developed a broad range of international projects and programs that have given Duluth a wonderful, unique global connection.

Some of those include:

  • Sister City activities generate an estimated average of five hundred thousand dollars a year benefiting the local economy through tourism
  • Official Delegation exchanges since 1987 with each of our Sister Cities
  • Several All Sister Cities Festivals with delegations and musicians representing each of our Sister Cities
  • International tri-lateral program with Japan, Russian and Duluth; focusing on clean water and other global environmental issues
  • Annual student exchange program with Ohara Isumi-shi, Japan began in 1992; each year a group of students (ages 13-15) participate in the exchange both to Duluth and to Ohara Isumi-shi
  • In collaboration with UMD, DSCI sponsored the Royal Swedish Opera in 1994
  • Partnering with the Duluth Public Arts Commission to create an International Sculpture Exchange  with “Water & Friendship” from Ohara Isumi-shi, Japan; “Green Bear” from Petrozavodsk, Russia ; & “The Stone” from Växjö Sweden: all 3 sculptures are located in Duluth’s Lake Place Park & sculptures from Duluth, located in our Sister Cities include: “Harmony” in Ohara Isumi-shi, Japan; “The Fisherman” in Petrozavodsk, Russia ; and “Caring” in Växjö, Sweden 
  • Petrozavodsk Pedagogical University and the College of St. Scholastica have collaborated on a “language camp” since 1991
  • USIA sponsored “Duluth-Petrozavodsk Domestic Violence Project” in which 6 women from the Gender Studies Institute in Petrozavodk traveled to Duluth and 4 women from Duluth Women’s Coalition (shelter) traveled to Petrozavodsk in 1998-99
  • A Japanese Peace Bell Garden committee raised funds to create a Japanese Garden in Enger Park surrounding the Peace Bell from Ohara Isumi-shi, Japan
  • In July 2007 Duluth Sister Cities International & the Fond du Lac Reservation Cultural Center & Museum participate in a birch bark canoe project in Petrozavodsk