About Us

OUR STORY

What Is a Sister City?

A Sister City is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. These two cities and their citizens formally join to learn more about each other and to develop friendly and meaningful exchanges in a wide variety of areas. Exchanges may include, but are not limited to, government, business, economic, cultural, educational and social relationships.

A Sister City relationship is only officially recognized once the highest-ranking government official of each city sign off on an agreement to become a "Sister City".  The affiliation not only involves the governments of each city but also a citizen committee in each city who is engaged in ongoing and continuing projects of mutual interest through continuous contact with one another.

OUR MISSION

Arlington Sister City Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Arlington County, Virginia. Established in 1993, ASCA supports and coordinates the activities of Arlington County’s five Sister Cities: Aachen, Germany; Coyoacán, Mexico; Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Reims, France; San Miguel, El Salvador. ASCA works to enhance and promote the region’s international profile and foster productive exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts through a series of activities.

OUR HISTORY

1991

The Beginning

The Arlington Sister City Association (ASCA) was established in May 1991 with the appointment of the Arlington County Sister City Commission who was tasked to explore the benefits of various exchanges and the potential to increase recognition of Arlington as a regional international center through sister city relations and activities. 

1993

Aachen

The Commission formalized its first partnership with the Aachen, Germany in June 1993 at Aachen, and a reciprocal visit and ceremony in Arlington in May 1994. ASCA became an independent, nonprofit organization in August 1993.

1995

Coyoacan

In July 1995, ten Arlington delegates visited Coyoacán, a Federal District of Mexico City, to discuss making Coyoacán Arlington’s second sister city. At a reciprocal set of meetings with Arlington business leaders, together with several cultural events and a tour of the county, delegates formalized the partnership at Arlington House and the Arlington County Board officially adopted Coyoacán as a sister city on October 7, 1995. Coyoacán officials adopted Arlington as its first sister city on June 22, 1996.

1996

Reims

Arlington began communications with Reims, France in 1996. The first Arlington delegation visited Reims in 2000 and established a high school exchange program. A signing ceremony took place at Reims on August 28, 2004, which coincided with the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Reims by U.S. forces in August 1944. A reciprocal visit to Arlington took place in June 2005, culminating with a signing ceremony at Arlington House on June 12, 2005.

2005

San Miguel

An Arlington delegation visited San Miguel, El Salvador in September 2005 and signed a preliminary agreement, followed by a reciprocal visit and ceremony in Arlington in June 2006.  Arlington’s relationship with San Miguel is supported by a vital local community of Latin American residents and businesses.

2011

Ivano-Frankivsk

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine became a sister city in May 2011 when the agreement was signed at the annual convention of the Sister Cities International in Arlington Virginia.

ABOUT ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA

Situated directly across the Potomac River from the Washington, D.C., Arlington, population around 238,000,  provides convenient access to the power, prestige, influence and opportunities of Washington, D.C., while retaining the warmth and charm of a close-knit neighborhood community.

Arlington is 26 square miles and has nine different neighborhoods and 39 historic districts to explore. Arlington has received countless awards and accolades including Fittest City, Most Walkable City and Best Place to Live in Virginia. 

Things to Do:

  • National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial 
  • Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) 
  • Arlington National Cemetery 
  • Air Force Memorial 
  • Military Women’s Memorial 
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island 
  • Arena Stage 
  • Arlington County Fair 
  • Rosslyn Jazz Fest 

OUR PARTNERS

Arlington is a world-class community and tourist destination located just five miles from the heart of the nation’s capital. It’s the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest award for Smart Growth in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business. For current demographic information, see the Arlington County Profile.

Arlington Public Schools is a diverse and inclusive school community, committed to academic excellence and integrity. We provide instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment, responsive to each student, in collaboration with families and the community.

OUR SUPPORTERS

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit which serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States. This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in nearly 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries

Sister Cities International’s mission is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation one individual, one community at a time.

Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization of approximately 700 businesses and organizations working to strengthen business and the economic environment for those who work, live, and do business in Arlington to strengthen businesses and the economic environment for those who work, live and do business in Arlington.

OUR SPONSORS

OUR BOARD

Officers & Directors

The ASCA Board of Directors is comprised of an executive committee and representatives from each sister city.

Hanna Eun, Chair of the Board

North American SAP Insights and Data Practice Leader, Capgemini

Stephanie Benefield, Vice Chair of the Board

Owner, Benefield Ltd

Gijs de Leede, Treasurer

Former Senior Financial Officer, Children’s Defense Fund

Daphne Lathouras, Secretary

Marketing Professional

Elizabeth Schollaert, Immediate Past Chair

Retired Arlington Public School French teacher and World Language Department Chair

2022-2023 Board of Directors

Catherine Ashby

Assistant Superintendent, School & Community Relations, Arlington Public Schools

Shannon Flanagan-Watson

Deputy County Manager, Arlington

Orlando Gammara, Esquire

Immigration Attorney

Carole Lieber

Commissioner at Arlington County Human Rights Commission

John Manzolillo

Founder and CEO, CEP Group, (JManzGroup LLC dba)

Jose Pineda

Transportation Engineer, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

Michelle Shanahan

Former Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, National Public Radio (NPR) and Secretary of the NPR Foundation

Sophia Tailor

Legislative Issues Manager, Energy and Environment, Stateside Associates

Mary Tang

Counsel at US Federal Government

Charlie Toth

USAID BHA Junior Program/Administrative/Operations Assistant, MacFadden.

Dan Vasquez

CEO/Founder, Intelliwings, LLC

For more almost thirty years, ASCA has operated under a Board of Directors and is supported by members and sponsors through dues and contributions.

Committees

Sister City Committees- Volunteers who actively work on promoting exchanges, programs and events between the two cities.

  • Aachen Sister City Committee: Hanna Eun, president
  • Reims Sister City Committee: Elizabeth Schollaert, president
  • Coyoacán Sister City Committee: VACANT (Emeritus)
  • San Miguel Sister City Committee: Orlando Gamarra, president
  • Ivano-Frankivsk: Sophia Tailor, Charlie Toth, co-presidents

 

Board Committees- Provides structure, policies and procedures, and guidance for ASCA.

  • Governance Committee: Michelle Shanahan, Chair
  • Finance: Gijs de Leede, Chair
  • Development : Christy Walika, Chair

Management

Christy Walika

ASCA Executive Director

Social Impact Report

GET TO KNOW ALL OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, REPORTS AND WORK PLANS