Miraflores, Peru | Credit: Paulo JC Nogueira/Creative Commons

Santa Barbara will have a new sister city, Miraflores, Peru, which will take the place of the former sister city relationship with San Juan Metro Manila, Philippines, after both sides agreed to dissolve the arrangement due to years of inaction between the two cities.

According to the City of Santa Barbara’s website, “the Sister City Program is part of the People-to-People Program initiated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 to promote friendship among people regardless of race, color or creed … through the activities of private citizens, organizations, and the City itself.” Santa Barbara first entered into a sister city relationship with San Juan in 1965 and later transferred that relationship to the city of Santo Domingo Ilocos Sur in 1981 before that agreement was terminated in 1986; in 2000, the S.B. and San Juan reestablished the relationship, with the last visit occurring in 2017 when a delegation of 11 diplomats and San Juan officials came to Santa Barbara.

Since then, however, the relationship between the two cities has fallen silent, and eventually the San Juan Sister City Committee sent an email to the Santa Barbara Sister Cities Board “requesting dissolution” of the relationship, which the Santa Barbara board granted unanimously, according to a report prepared by board chair Margaret Saavedra.

Miraflores, Peru, will replace San Juan as Santa Barbara’s sixth official sister city, joining Kotor, Montenegro; Partas, Greece; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Toba City, Japan; and Weihai, China. In 2020, Santa Barbara suddenly cut ties with another sister city, Dingle, Ireland, drawing the ire of the Irish officials who were blindsided by the breakup (as explained by Nick Welsh at the time).

The Peruvian coastal city sits in one of the most affluent districts just south of downtown Lima, and it is known for its upscale hotels, restaurants, bars, and retail shops.

After learning about San Juan’s desire to dissolve the sister city arrangement, the Santa Barbara Sister Cities Board considered several locations to take its place, and in November 2021 the board unanimously voted to recommend the city of Miraflores for council approval.

The City Council is expected to approve the resolutions dissolving the old relationship with San Juan and establishing the new relationship with Miraflores at its meeting on Tuesday, March 14.


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