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County of Hawaiʻi Official Sister Cities

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The U.S. Sister City Program formally began in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a people-to-people, citizen diplomacy initiative. It was originally a program of the National League of Cities, and Sister Cities International became a separate corporation in 1967 due to the growth and popularity of the U.S. program.

Article 31, Section 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code institutes the criteria and formal procedures for the formation of a sister city relationship. It states the County of Hawai‘i may consider the establishment of a sister city relationship with a city or county that a) shares a historical, cultural or ethnic relationship with the people of our county; b) offers reciprocative educational, technological, or economic benefits, including special knowledge, know-how or expertise that is beneficial to our businesses, industries, and labor force, c) is similar in population size or character, which makes for analogous problems and concerns and the opportunity to exchange meaningful ideas and applicable solutions for either or both places, or d) recognizes other common bonds that are mutually beneficial to the citizens of both places and serve as a liaison for the exchange of information and other lifestyle and practical values.

A sister city relationship is established by the adoption of a council resolution, and the signing of a formal agreement between the Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i and the appropriate public official of the proposed sister city that such ties exist. Hawai‘i Island’s first sister city, Oshima Island in Japan was established in 1962.

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