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.
- Arts and Culture Partnerships: ASCA works with partner arts and cultural organizations to create and expand performing and visual artist exchanges, shared exhibitions, cultural linkages, and partnerships.
- Economic Development Opportunities: Business and corporate involvement is fundamental to ASCA’s programming. ASCA promotes and facilitates open dialogue between Arlington business professionals and their counterparts in our Sister Cities through organizations such as Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. For additional information about sponsorship, please refer here.
- Educational and Professional Exchanges: ASCA has a long history of providing educational opportunities for Arlingtonians of all ages. Programs include internationally-themed cultural events, K-12 and post-secondary student exchange progams, professional exchange opportunities, lectures and presentations.
- Global Tourism: ASCA collaborates with our Sister Cities and community organizations to increase joint tourism opportunities, exploring the idea that we live in a global environment. ASCA invites residents of our Sister Cities to come and enjoy everything our community has to offer.
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. 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.
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.
Followed by 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 along with a joint wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
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.
Our newest sister city agreement was signed on May 23, 2011 with Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
For more than twenty years, ASCA has operated under a Board of Directors and is supported by members and sponsors through dues and contributions.
Our Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is comprised of an Executive Committee and Representatives from each sister city.. Each sister city relationship has a corresponding committee of volunteers who actively work on promoting exchanges between the two cities.
Hanna Eun, Chair & Treasurer (temp)
Stephanie Benefeld, Vice Chair
Daphne Lathouras, Secretary
Elizabeth Schollaert, Immediate Past Chair
Board of Directors (2020-2021)
Sister Cities International
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.
Arlington Sister City Association is a proud member of Sister Cities International and all our programs are sanctioned by Sister Cities International of Washington, D.C.