The committee that facilitates all exchanges between Santa Barbara and its sister city, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, has been recognized for its success. Sister Cities International (SCI), a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network, awarded the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee its Best Overall Program Award for 2016, commending the committee’s achievements in connecting the two cities.
Promoting multicultural awareness is one of the Sister City Committee’s primary efforts to increase wellbeing in both communities. The committee either hosted or contributed to events aimed to honor diverse traditions, including a Tequila harvest festival and a Valentine’s dinner and dance, at which a Mariachi group performed.
Aside from managing all interactions between the sister cities, the committee also serves as an international resource organization for the Santa Barbara area. Due to organizers’ efforts, Santa Barbara and Puerto Vallarta played host to an annual conference for sister cities in the United States and Mexico. The committee also supported local endeavors, donating money to Law Enforcement Exchange — which brings Santa Barbaran law enforcement officials to Puerto Vallarta and vice versa — local rehabilitation clinics, and a “Save the Turtle” project in Puerto Vallarta waters.
Santa Barbara and Puerto Vallarta’s program will be formally awarded at SCI’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C. on July 16.