The Key Elements for Success of the San Jose Sister Cities Program:
Historically the best long-term guarantee of success for the San Jose Sister City program (since elected officials come and go) has been a broad-based Sister City Committee, San Jose's Sister Cities Committees are made up of many individual citizens who are enthusiastic supporters of the Sister City program. Every effort is made to recruit people from various professions, a youth delegate, people from different ethnic and religious groups, both women and men, and people with disabilities. Citizen volunteers in San Jose and our Sister Cities abroad contribute an enormous "cost share" to the local program through their time and various out-of-pocket expenses, including annual individual and family membership fees, travel expenses abroad and home stay and other hosting expenses at home.
Support and involvement from San Jose City Council and City Hall staff: our Mayor is the honorary chair. A staff person designated at City Hall who understands 1st and foremost, all aspects of the Sister City program are citizen to citizen diplomacy and citizen diplomacy is the foundation of the Sister Cities International program. Direct involvement of various city departments in municipal, economic development, technical, public safety or other exchanges; various direct and in-direct (in-kind) support for sister city activities, such as assistance with administrative costs and receptions.
Solid support and involvement in the Sister City program from the business, education and religious sectors, with an opportunity for corporations, educational and religious institutions and small businesses, as well as individual business people, academics and clergy, to contribute their time and/or financial or in-kind support. Our local Chambers of Commerce and other key organizations need to be actively involved in the Sister City program. Sister City projects should be reciprocal and jointly planned, executed and evaluated by the Sister Cities Committees as well as City Hall.
Finally, and most important:
Citizen Diplomacy, person to person contact creating cross cultural communication, understanding and unilateral support for fundamental human rights both at home in San Jose, California as well as with San Jose's Sister Cities.
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