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Sister Cities of Durham, NC

Sister Cities of Durham, Inc.  PO Box 767; Durham, NC 27702

Sister Cities in China, Costa Rica, England, Greece, Japan, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Tanzania:  

You are invited to join Sister Cities of Durham during our Membership Drive

We help Durham to link to the world and we encourage more awareness of our international friends in our own neighborhoods in Durham.

Below are details about Membership, plus photos of some of our projects and our Sister Cities activities.

 Why Join Sister Cities of Durham? 
 The Pictures  above (L-R) give you some good reasons:

1) Durham Central Park sign with mileage to our Sister Cities
2) Participating in Durham's Holiday Parade
3) Dancers at our Festival of Nations
4)  Durham students visiting Toyama, Japan
Fun & Educational Experiences with these Benefits

- Building and strengthening relationships with like global cities

- Involvement with other countries and cultures

- Building relationships with Durham's many international communities

- Educational and community projects

- Chaperone students visiting our Sister Cities

- Hosting international guests visiting Durham

- Highlighting the people and points of interest of Durham and our Sister Cities

- Fun comradery events with Sister Cities members

and fellow Durham residents

- Visiting our Sister Cities with us and being hosted by our international friends in our Sister Cities

- Serving on one of our City Committees:
- Serving on one of our Board Committees

Sister Cities of Durham has many programs with our 9 Sister Cities around the world: 
Arusha in Tanzania; Celaya in Mexico; Durham in England; Kavala in Greece; Kostroma in Russia; Sibiu in Romania;

Tilaran in Costa Rica; Toyama in Japan; Zhuzhou in China. 

   We have exchanges in the areas of Education,
Art & Music, Medicine, Local Government, Business.

    Click on the Cities below for more information.

And programs that include all our Sister Cities, such as:
1) our annual Festival of Nations,
2) Library Presentations,
3)  Tea Tastings,

4)  Peace Grove at Durham Central Park.

How to join Sister Cities of Durham:
  Annual calendar dues for 2022 can paid by one of these methods:
1)  Use the yellow PayPal Donation button which can be used for Membership Dues and Donations.
   2)  Mail a check to:  Sister Cities of Durham
             PO Box 767;  Durham, NC 27702

Dues are:      Family     =  $35
                     Individual  =  $20
                     Student     =  $10 

                    Life Time    =  $300
                Business/Education = $150

Thank you for your support of Sister Cities of Durham.

  Some of our members share why they joined:

Tom Harris:  "Our lives have been greatly enriched by these friendships and shared experiences."

Nancy Proia:  "It is a source of enormous satisfaction to me. What could be better than trying to make a difference in the world?"

Gwenn Bookman:  "I cannot think of a better, nor a more enjoyable, avenue for my community service!"
Patricia Sheppard:  "
I was drawn to Sister Cities Durham after reading that the organization promotes respect and understanding by strengthening relationships with like cities."
Lusia Li:  "
Being able to use my cross-culture background to help facilitate things and bridge between different cultures is why I particularly like to work in Sister Cities of Durham."

Randy Griffin:  "I enjoy being involved with other people and cultures and Sister Cities gives me those opportunities."

Sue Mathias:  "Sharing these experiences and relationships with family, friends, and our community has illustrated how such personal connections highlight the values of curiosity, respect, and understanding that draw us closer to our friends around the world."

Tanzanian Ambassador Elsie Kazan
Ambassador Kazan was hosted by the Arusha City Committee and guests at North Carolina Central University, Dec. 5, to celebrate 60 years of Independence and cooperation with the USA.  

Pictured Left:  Ronda Pierce, Chair of the Arusha City Committee

presided at the event, with Tom Harris, President of Sister Cities of Durham, Mayor Steve Schewel, Ambassador Kazan, and
Gwenn Bookman Arusha City Committee Co-Chair 

Pictured Right:  Tom Harris, President of Sister Cities of Durham, presents the Ambassador with the Sister Cities lapel pin. 

Pictured Left:   
The group attending this meeting included representatives of major area international organizations, state and local officials, and representatives from North Carolina Central University. 

Pictured Right
Past President Sue Mathias and President Tom Harris welcomed Ambassador Kazan to Durham. 

       Durham's Sister Cities:
Our Sister Cities of Durham partnerships around the world are signed by the Mayor of Durham and the other respective Mayors.

Check out our Sister Cities with the tab above,
or click the City listed below to go to their page on this website.

Arusha in Tanzania

Celaya in Mexico
Durham in England, UK

Kavala in Greece

Kostroma in Russia
Sibiu in Romania

Tilaran in Costa Rica

Toyama in Japan
Zhuzhou in China

 Durham also has two Friendship Cities in China:

    Kunshan and Xianning                                             

Durham's other international connections represent these countries with restaurants and businesses in Durham:

 Argentina            Brazil                  Colombia       Cuba                   
 El Salvador        Ethiopia       France                 Germany             Guatemala     Honduras            Kenya                 Korea     
 India                     Ireland               Italy  

 Jamaica               Mongolia           Nigeria       

 Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark
 Peru                     Philippines       Sierra Leone

 Spain                   Thailan              Ukraine     Vietnam              Zimbabwe      

        Our Peace Grove at
       Durham Central Park


 In partnership with the Park, we planted 9 Overcup Oaks in January, 2021 to represent our 9 Sister Cities.  These trees will provide much needed shade for Park visitors.


These trees are very sturdy and can survive in difficult conditions.

Plans are underway to develop signage for the Sister Cities trees, in partnership with Durham Central Park.


               4th Annual                      Festival of Nations

       11 - 5  April 3, 2022 
      Durham Central Park
  Virtually, Mar 25 - July 31

  Interested in being a              Vendor (Sales/Food)?
            or having a cultural/information booth?
Contact us:  [email protected]


Hosted by Sister Cities of Durham

Durham connects world wide with cities on almost all continents.  Our Festival of Nations introduces you to Durham's international links

Sister Cities of Durham participates in many city wide events, including Library Presentations, City Hall displays.  Pictured below -- participating in the December, 2021 Durham Holiday Parade:

Come join us and  participate in a City Committee, our Festival of Nations, or a general committee.

  Here are opportunities to be involved in the programs and activities of Sister Cities of Durham:

1.  Membership information is below on this home page.

2, Volunteer to serve on one of our City Committees -- See the list of our Sister Cities on this home page.

3.  Join us to carry a Flag when we participate in Durham's Holiday Parade.

4. Volunteer to help with our 4th Annual Festival of Nations, April 3:
           -- Planning and/or Day of the Event.

5. Join one of our other regular committees: 
  -- Marketing 
  -- Governance
  -- Technology/Social Media

  -- Membership
  -- Festival of Nations
  -- Fund Raising

Contact Brady Surles, Executive Director for more information:      [email protected]

You can use the PayPal "Donate" button here for Donations and Membership Dues.

      We appreciate your support of our programs for International Awareness and Exchanges in education,

the Arts, medicine, business, local government.  These help Durham connect to cities around the world.
       To Donate, or to pay Membership Dues:

-- Use this PayPal button.

-- Or By Check, mail to: Sister Cities of Durham; PO Box 767; Durham, NC 27702


Our Board of Directors:

Board of Directors Meetings, 2022, Locations TBA


Vice Pres: 



At Large:

At Large:

At Large:

At Large:

At Large:

At Large:
At Large:



Durham, UK:









Tom Harris

Chris Boyer

Rich Jaworski

Mark Goodwillie

Bob Ashley

Gwenn Bookman

Connie Gomez-Joines

Sue Mathias
Susanna Ochola-Love
Guillermo Solares

Vivian Wan

Ronda Pierce, Gwenn Bookman

Guillermo Solares, Elsa Jimenez

Nancy Proia

Randy Griffin

Anne Berkley, Ann Evangelisto

Mitch Scurtu

Melissa Perez

Chris Boyer, Yuki Temma

Mark Goodwillie, Lusia Li

Dot Borden, Life Time Director

Brady Surles, Executive Director

9 am, Jan 29, Planning Retreat, Zoom

7 pm, March  3, Zoom?

7pm, May 5, Zoom?

7 pm, July 7, Zoom?

7 pm,, September 1, Zoom?

5:30 pm, October 21, Annual Meeting

7 pm, November 3

City Committees usually meet monthly or bi-monthly.

If you are interested in participating in any of these meetings, please contact SCD Executive Director Brady Surles [email protected]

Coming Events, 2022:

Jan 29  Annual Planning Retreat

April 3   Festival of Nations 
-- at Durham Central Park

-- and Virtually, Mar 25-July 31

Pictured above is our sign at Durham Central Park.

Our Vision:

We strive to develop a peaceful world, with mutual understanding and cooperation, one person and one community at a time.

Our Mission:
We partner with the City of Durham to organize and promote Sister Cities activities for Durham residents and to establish international Sister Cities relationships.

At our Annual Meeting, Oct. 22, we will present a summary of the activities and programs of our City Committees and the general organization during this past year. 
 We also present 2 Awards:.
-- The Annual SCD/Mayors Award for "Promoting International Understanding" to both individuals and organizations in the Durham community.

-- The Annual "Dorothy Borden" Award to SCD members for long term contributions to Sister Cities

Note: Some of our programs have been postponed because of the Coronavirus.  Hopefully our in person programs will resume in the near future.  However, we still maintain our conversations with our friends around the world -- Come join us!   Zoom enables us to link globally in more meaningful ways than ever before.

What do we do ?   Join us in these activities.

-- Educational Exchanges with high schools, college students, educational professionals.

-- Exchanges with artists and musicians.

-- Exchanges with medical personnel.

-- Annual Festival of Nations.

-- Peace Grove at Durham Central Park.

-- Sister Cities Quilts displayed in City Hall.

-- Hosting virtual meetings with our Sister Cities to develop friendships, better understanding.

-- Participating in Durham's Holiday Parade.

-- Presentations in the Library's Public Forums.

Plans are developing for trips to:

Greece, Japan, Romania, when COVID recedes.

The trips will be open to the public.

Check back later for updates as plans develop.

We appreciate the support of our partners:

City of Durham and the Mayor's Office

Durham Public Schools

Center for the Global Learner at DTCC 

Durham County Public Library

Durham Central Park -- Peace Grove
Durham Arts Council
Duke Garden - the Asiatic Arboretum
Sister Communities of San Ramon, Nicaragua
Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum
Carolina Friends School
Central Park School for Children
Carolina China Council
Triangle Community Foundation -- Sister Cities of Durham
        Endowment Fund for International Understanding

Pictured:  Durham students welcome visiting students from our Sister Cities at RDU airport.


We invite you to join us in Sister Cities of Durham to promote a greater understanding of Durham's international connections.

Annual Membership Dues per Calendar Year:

-- Family Membership $35

-- Individual Membership $20

-- Student Membership $10

-- Business/Educational Group  $150

Also Life Time Membership $300

Payment can be made:

-- on our PayPal button on this page;

-- or Mail checks to:

Sister Cities of Durham

PO Box 767; Durham, NC 27702

Thanks for supporting Sister Cities of Durham

Here are opportunities to be involved in the programs and activities of Sister Cities of Durham:
1,  Volunteer to serve on one of our City Committees  -- See the list of our Sister Cities.

2.  Helping with our 4th Annual Festival of Nations, April 3: