More than 700 elected municipal officers, business leaders, diplomats and students gathered in Houston from July 16-19 to participate in the Sister Cities International (SCI) Conference and Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit celebrating the organization’s 62nd anniversary.
Participants engaged in a Parade of Flags, a Welcome Reception hosted by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and an Award’s Dinner featuring President George W. Bush at the Marriot Marquis in Houston. Students in the SCI Youth Leadership Summit attended lectures under the theme “Resilience: Using your Passion to Build a Better World” at Rice University and completed projects encouraging them to use problem solving strategies and international insight as well as leadership skills to achieve a desired outcome.
Houston’s Sister City in Japan, Chiba City, was represented at the event by Deputy Mayor Takuya Hattori. Houston and Chiba have enjoyed 47 years of friendship and was honored to have Deputy Mayor Hattori in attendance for the unveiling of the Houston Peace Pole alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Sister Cities International Chairman San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenburg, Sister Cities Houston President Harry Gee, representatives from Sister Cities Taipei and Karachi, and many others.
The Peace Pole, which displays the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” showcases the eighteen international Sister Cities of Houston. The tradition of Peace Poles was started shortly after WWII by Japanese poet and philosopher Masahisa Goi. Today, there are tens of thousands of Peace Poles around the world, sharing the message of peace and encouraging interactions, both in the community and around the globe.
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