2022 Annual Awards

The 2022 Annual Award applications are closed!

2021 was a challenging year for many sister city programs.  Adjusting to the global pandemic, communities across the SCI network continue to find new and innovative ways to connect globally and thrive locally.

The Annual Awards Program highlights sister city program achievements and brings international recognition to each community’s contributions to the citizen diplomacy movement. Sister Cities International established the Annual Awards Program in 1962 to recognize exceptional sister city programs. Current dues-paying members of Sister Cities International with at least one formally recognized sister city partnership are eligible to apply for awards. The awards will recognize achievements by sister city programs in 2021.

Winners will be announced at the Annual Business Meeting on July 8, 2022 and will be highlighted on Sister Cities International’s website, social media, and in national and regional press outreach.

Applications NOW CLOSED

EXPIRED May 6, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET

Please read the eligibility requirements, rules and regulations carefully before applying. For any questions, email [email protected]

Award applications are open in the following categories:

Best Overall (organized by population)

Innovation in Arts & Culture

Innovation in Business, Trade, and Professional Exchange 

Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance

Innovation in Youth and Education

Volunteer of the Year

Youth Leadership

Please see the guidelines below for eligibility requirements for each category.

There is no cost to apply for the SCI Annual Awards Program.

Best Overall


The Best Overall Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a city’s sister city program in 2021. Winning applicants will demonstrate some or all of the following:

  • Regular exchanges among many or all of their partnerships
  • Exchanges across many sectors, including youth, education, arts, culture, economic development, technical assistance, and humanitarian work
  • Inclusion of a broad array of organizations in their community, and partner community, including municipal government, businesses, nonprofits, academia, cultural organizations, trade associations, and civic groups.
  • Diversity of their local communities and international sister cities, including involvement of underserved communities, minorities, people with disabilities, and low-income communities.
  • Breadth and depth of impact of their programs.
  • Emphasis on youth and giving young people exposure to international partnerships and exchanges.
  • Expansion or improvement of previous activities or programs.
  • A commitment to reinforcing the principles of citizen diplomacy and the mission of Sister Cities International: to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.

Best Overall awards are presented to four (4) communities according to the following population sizes:

    • Population less than 25,000
    • Population 25,001 – 100,000
    • Population 100,001 – 300,000
    • Population greater than 300,001


The Innovation Awards recognize activities by members in 2021 that show originality and impact, challenging preconceived ideas about what is possible through sister cities and international exchange. Applications should show how their activities deviate from typical models, or how changes or improvements have taken their programs to the next level.

In addition, activities should demonstrate success in the fundamentals of sister city programs, including cooperation between various organizations or groups in the community, creating fundraising, and a commitment to Sister Cities International’s mission: to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.

Innovation awards are presented in four (4) categories:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Business, Trade, and Professional Exchange
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Youth and Education.

Applicants may highlight one or more exchanges in the respective award category as long as those exchanges occurred in 2021.

Innovation awards are presented to three (3) communities in each innovation category according to the following population sizes:

  • Population of less than 25,000
  • Population of 25,001 – 100,000
  • Population greater than 100,001

Volunteer of the Year


The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a sister cities individual who has shown exemplary leadership and talent that benefits local sister city programs and the larger sister city network.

Volunteers nominated for this award must be 18 years of age or older.

Youth Leadership Award


The Youth Leadership award recognizes a youth who has shown exemplary leadership and talent that benefits local sister city programs and the larger sister city network.

Youth Leadership Award nominations must be under the age of 18 years old.

To be considered for an award, all entries must be received by  May 6, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.