About Houston

Business Overview - Sister Cities

Sister Cities Graphic
The Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs is the city’s liaison to Houston’s sister city associations, to the national governing organization, Sister Cities International, and to the local Sister Cities of Houston organization.

The sister cities concept was launched in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed linking American cities with cities in other countries to exchange people, ideas and cultures.  President Eisenhower’s goal was to involve individuals at all levels of U.S. society in citizen diplomacy in the hope that these people-to-people relations would lessen the chance of future world conflicts. Founded 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 U.S. Sister Cities International serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices in the field of citizen diplomacy. As a membership association, Sister Cities International continues to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for its members.

In Houston, the official city-to-city relationships are supported by the Mayor’s Office and volunteer associations to promote people-to-people diplomacy and encourage citizens to develop mutual trust and understanding through commercial, cultural, educational, and humanitarian exchanges and interactions. The Mayor's Office of Trade and International Affairs has been tasked with managing the City of Houston's sister city program and relationships on behalf of the mayor. The individual volunteer associations that represent each relationship are the major life source of the program. The considerable efforts of these dedicated volunteers bring to life the citizen diplomacy that is at the heart of the sister cities mission. In 1993, Sister Cities of Houston, the umbrella non-profit organization, was created to strengthen Houston's greater program and works collaboratively with the Mayor's Office and the individual associations.

If you are interested in learning more about Houston's sister city program or how to become involved, please contact Tomiko Olah at tomiko.olah@houstontx.gov.

Houston's sister cities (and year relationship established) are listed below.

  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2001)
  • Baku, Azerbaijan (1976)
  • Basrah, Iraq (2015)
  • Chiba, Japan (1972)
  • Grampian Region, Aberdeen, Scotland (1979)
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador (1987)
  • Huelva, Spain (1969)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (1988)
  • Karachi, Pakistan (2009)
  • Leipzig, Germany (1992)
  • Luanda, Angola (2003)
  • Nice, France (1973)
  • Perth, Australia (1984)
  • Shenzhen, China (1986)
  • Stavanger, Norway (1988)
  • Taipei, Taiwan (1961)
  • Tampico, Mexico (2003)
  • Tyumen, Russia (1995)