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The story of Charlotte’s sister cities

The Queen City’s “Sister Cities” expand the globe across four continents.

A sliding image of Arequipa, Peru and Uptown Charlotte.

Arequipa, Peru became Charlotte’s first “sister city” in 1962.

Photos via H.W. Schlieper via Wikimedia Commons and CLTtoday

A queen has many subjects, but let’s not forget she also has quite a few sisters. A fascinating nugget of Charlotte history is our city’s ties to the international community — with “sister cities” stretching seven countries across four continents.

What are “sister cities?”
Sister cities, also known as “twin towns,” are long-term partnerships between two communities in different countries. The relationship is formalized when the highest elected or appointed officials from both communities sign a formal agreement.

A sister city relationship with Charlotte requires citizen involvement, city council approval, and $50,000 in donations. After both mayors sign the agreement, volunteers coordinate activities to build the partnership.

Sister city relationships are meant to promote peace and mutual respect while fostering cultural exchanges through business, education, technology, and the arts.

Charlotte_Baoding, China, June_2024

Baoding, China is one of Charlotte’s sister cities — with a 12 hour time difference.

Photo by Matthias Wiegandt via Wikimedia Commons

Going back in time
The modern concept of sister cities in the US was popularized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to heal international relationships in wake of World War II.

On Feb. 5, 1962, Charlotte formally started its first partnership with Arequipa, Peru.

Fun fact: The distance between Charlotte and Arequipa is 3,617 miles.

African children dance in front of an audience in a school.

A middle school in Kumasi, Ghana has roots in Charlotte, thanks to the sister city program.

Photo via WCNC

All Charlotte’s “sisters”

Editor’s note: In 2022, the Charlotte-based nonprofit, AfroCareCLT, led a fundraising effort to build a middle school for children in Kumasi, Ghana — thanks in part to the sister city partnership.

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