Recently, Mayor Walsh welcomed Strasbourg Mayor Roland Reis and a delegation of city officials for a two-day program that included participation in the Boston Marathon and a visit to the Roxbury Innovation Center. While the reality is probably not as dramatic, the concept of twin cities is actually very inspiring and offers many possibilities. A twinned city organization is a volunteer group of ordinary citizens who, with the support of their local elected officials, build long-term relationships with people and organizations in a city abroad. Each twinned city organization is independent and tracks activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community, including municipal, commercial, commercial, educational and cultural exchanges with their sister city. Today, SCI represents 1,200 U.S. cities, counties, and states and their 2,100 partners in 125 countries around the world. As international cooperation grows in importance, city-to-city programs continue to play an important role in global development and cultural understanding. Twin cities or twin cities are a form of legal or social agreement between cities, municipalities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states and even countries in geographically and politically different areas to promote cultural and commercial relations.  The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after world War II in 1947, aimed to promote friendship and understanding between different cultures and former enemies as an act of peace and reconciliation,  and to promote trade and tourism.  In the 2000s, town twinning was increasingly used to establish strategic international business relationships between member cities.   The term “city diplomacy” is officially used in the work of the United Cities and Local Governments and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and recognized by the USC Center for Public Diplomacy. A debate in the House of Lords in March 2014 welcomed the development of town twinning for urban diplomacy, particularly in trade and tourism, but also in post-conflict culture and reconciliation.
 The importance for cities to develop “their own foreign economic policies in the areas of trade, foreign investment, tourism and foreign talent acquisition” was also highlighted by the World Economic Forum.  In addition to the C40, other organizations promoting city diplomacy include the World Cities Summit, the Smart City Expo World Congress, the Strong City Network and 100 Resilient Cities.   In 2016, there were more than 125 such multilateral networks and forums to facilitate international cooperation between different local authorities.  Research has shown that city mayors play an active role in urban diplomacy. For more information on creating new twin cities, visit our Cities for Cities page. In addition to town twinning, local authorities carry out international cooperation and exchange efforts in many different areas as part of the policy to promote internationalisation. Recently, there have been increasing examples of the conclusion of economic exchange agreements to promote economic, industrial and scientific exchanges between regions. For example, three cities in Japan (Shimonoseki, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka), four cities in China and three cities in Korea have joined forces to create the East Asian Economic Development Organization to promote economic exchanges. Another example is Ehime Prefecture (Japan) and Dalian City (China), which have established the Ehime-Dalian Economic Friendship Association and are conducting a business-oriented exchange, involving both the private and public sectors. In this way, local governments can create initiatives that highlight the specificities of their region while working for mutual development. Sekondi-Takoradi is Boston`s 8th. International Twin City, Boston`s first twin city in Africa and the second in Mayor Menino`s government.
A delegation of 12 city officials led by Executive Mayor Philip Kwesi Nkrumah is in Boston for six days to begin this new relationship. A twin city or twin city is a long-term partnership between two cities, provinces or, in some cases, countries around the world. The relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected representative of both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which signifies the commitment of both cities to a better future. Alternatively, they will also sign a less binding friendship agreement and rather purely symbolic and social. Although town twinning was originally forged for military or political relations, this has expanded considerably and today the Twin Cities focus on cultural exchanges, education, trade and commercial relations. Today, more than 2,000 cities, states and counties are partners in more than 140 countries around the world. In addition, each city is able to improve its global ranking in different areas by sharing valuable resources and approaches in the fields of business, education, culture and technology. Educational partnerships and developments, including bilateral exchanges, joint research and teaching programmes, have proven to be a particularly popular means of inter-urban cooperation. The twinning also resulted in a formal trade agreement between the Boston-based Italian New England Chamber of Commerce and its counterparts in the Padua/Veneto region. .