NEIGHBORS ABROAD, a volunteer community organization operating under the auspices of the City of Palo Alto, directs the activities of Palo Alto's officially recognized Sister Cities program. Its purpose is to promote international and intercultural understanding.
Neighbors Abroad was founded on January 18,1963 after the Palo Alto City Council initiated a Sister City organization in concert with President Eisenhower's Town Affiliation Program. Neighbors Abroad has received thirteen awards from Sister Cities International, and Neighbors Abroad projects have received recognition from the United Nations and the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce.
Visit the Neighbors Abroad website HERE.
ALBI, FRANCE - 1994
Website (in French)
A city of 50,000, Albi is situated in southern France, on the Tarn River 50 miles from Toulouse. Dating from Roman times, the city was restored in the thirteenth century after barbarian invasions. The great Cathedral of St. Cecile was completed in the fourteenth century. The Berbie Palace holds 600 paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who was born in Albi in 1864. Albi, a "City of the Arts", has concerts and festivals throughout the year. Five branches of the University of Toulouse and a top-ranked engineering college are located there. The Friends of the Arts in Albi have established a painting academy and paint "Montmartre style" in the streets and nearby towns. The city is known for its gourmet food industry and Gaillac wine. In October 1994, a delegation of twelve from Albi visited Palo Alto for official ceremonies to formalize our Sister City relationship. A French cancan dance troupe came to Palo Alto in April, 1995, accompanied by Albi artists, and presented its exciting Moulin Rouge Cabaret show in Palo Alto, Sanoma, Santa Cruz, and Carmel. Thirteen Neighbors Abroad members enjoyed French hospitality on the first official Neighbors Abroad trip to Albi in 1955. That year Sister Cities International presented a Best First Year Affiliation Award to Palo Alto and Albi. Besides student exchanges in spring and summer, a number of adult organizations participate in reciprocal visits. Painters, bicyclists, hiking and choral groups have all enjoyed French hospitality and have, in turn, been hosts to the Albigeois. Palo Alto groups which have performed in Albi include the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, the Aurora Singers, the Palo Alto High School Jazz Band and the Madrigal singers. The Albi committee has also been host to French chefs and to sculptor Jean Marc. Numerous Bastille Day Fetes have been held ,and warm friendships have been formed during the many educational, cultural and recreational exchanges that have taken place between our two cities.
ENSCHEDE, THE NETHERLANDS - 1980
Website (in Dutch)
A city of 150,000, Enschede lies 110 miles east of Amsterdam, near the hub of principal routes to all parts of Europe. Since A.D. 800 it has served as a market center for the surrounding area. Historically, Enschede produced textiles and textile machinery; it is now an electronics-manufacturing center and is the home of Twente University of Technology, an important Dutch scientific institute. The city has three major museums, a philharmonic orchestra, an opera company, a new Performing Arts Center, and a professional soccer team that plays in the highest international league. At least 90 percent of Enschede's adults have a working knowledge of English. Annual exchanges for high school students began in 1984. At least once a year, graduate students from Twente University include Silicon Valley in study tours to the U.S. and regard their home stays and interaction with Palo Alto families as the tour's highlights. Palo Alto High School's Jazz Band has made two successful trips to Enschede; a visit by Enschede's men's chorus, De Troubadours, delighted Palo Altans. Visits by adults and former exchange students also strengthen friendships and the Sister City relationship.
LINKÖPING, SWEDEN - 1987
Website (in Swedish)
Linköping received its city privileges in 1287, but its history goes back to the time of the Vikings. In the Middle Ages it developed as an important church center and economic power, with markets in agricultural products.
Capital of the province of Östergötland, this city of over 126,000 is located between agricultural plains and forested lakes, 120 miles southwest of Stockholm. Linköping has become a center for high-technology industries, including computers, electronics, and aviation. Saab, the only airplane manufacturer in Scandinavia, produces both civilian and military aircraft in Linköping. Linköping University is known internationally for its schools of engineering and medicine. The prestigious Swedish business magazine, Veckans Affärer, identified Linköping as "the best" in all of Sweden's 286 cities in 1993.
Visits between our cities by groups and individuals enrich the relationship. Our noted plank sculpture, FjarrenVanner (Foreign Friends) was a gift from Linkoping and its 1989; in 1991, our city enabled Palo Alton Greg Brown to create one of his unique murals on an outside wall of Linköping's Folkets Hus (concert hall). A summer high school student exchange was initiated in 1991. Our Linköping Day in Palo Alto and their Palo Alto Day in Linköping are important annual events.
OAXACA, MEXICO - 1964
Website (in Spanish)
The fertile mile-high valley of Oaxaca was populated from about 1500 B.C. by a series of indigenous peoples, including Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Olmecs, and Aztecs. In A.D. 1532, Charles V claimed the area for Spain and established the city of Oaxaca. Blessed with a pleasant climate, the city, now with over one million inhabitants, is located about 350 miles southeast of Mexico City, and is the capital of the mountainous state of Oaxaca. Some of Mexico's finest pre-Columbian archeological sites are nearby. Oaxaca's market is noted for its outstanding array of native handicrafts, and the area's black pottery is unique. Palo Alto and Oaxaca have had an annual student exchange since 1965; numerous other exchange opportunities occur frequently. Important projects accomplished by our two cities include the Observatory and Planetarium - two undertakings that began Palo Alto's remarkable number of awards received for its successes in international relations. Currently our cities work together on two major projects: Nino-a-Nino, an excitingly successful Child-to-Child Health Program and the Albergue Infantil Josefino, a home for orphaned, abandoned or abused children.
PALO, LEYTE, PHILIPPINES - 1963
Palo, an English speaking community of about 38,000 is located on the northeastern coast of the Island of Leyte. Its beginning as a city trace back to 1768, and it encompasses thirty-three small divisions called barangays. Palo's economic base is primarily agricultural, with 98 percent of the people depending on their farms for their livelihood. Principal products include rice, corn, copra, sugar cane, and tobacco; fishing also flourishes. Nearby Red Beach is the site of the 1944 landing of General Douglas MacArthur and the Allied Forces to launch the liberation of the Philippines. During our years as Sister Cities, individuals and small groups from each city have visited the other. Scholarships and books have long been important in this two city relationship. Palo's Children's Library and the innovative Vocational Education Resource Center are major projects that succeed through the cooperation of both cities. In 1993, sixteen members celebrated the dedication of the new Pio Pedrosa Education Center in Palo, and our thirtieth anniversary as Sister Cities. In 1998 the Palo Committee presented "Bayanihan: Window to the Philippines," a hands-on exhibit which thrilled thousands of children and adults in Palo Alto, Canada, St. Louis, Chicago and now has a permanent home in Spokane, Washington. High priority projects now include nine scholarships awarded annually. support of two fulltime Filipina children's librarians and the Joseph Carleton Computer Center.
TSUCHIURA, JAPAN- 2009
Website (in Japanese)
Tsuchiura, Japan is a city of approximately 140,000 residents located about 36 miles northeast of the heart of Tokyo. Located in the Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsuchiura is situated on the edge of Japan's second largest lake, Lake Kasumigaura, and is about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean coast. Rich in natural greenery and water, there are beautiful spots throughout the city to view cherry blossoms. The area is blessed with fertile, flat and vast land as well as a warm climate. Tsuchiura is the host annual All-Japan Fireworks Competition in October and the annual Kasumigaura Marathon in early April, together with Marathon for blind runners who are paired with sighted runners. The middle school students exchange program between PAUSD Japanese Language class and former Niihari Village started in 1995. In 2006, Niihari Village was merged with Tsuchiura City. Every March, 16 Tsuchiura Junior High School students visit Palo Alto for a week while Palo Alto students visit Tsuchiura in July for two weeks. Pao Alto students also visit many historical cities like Nikko, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Himeji.
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY – 2017
Website (in German)
Heidelberg is a beautiful city in Germany, idyllically located on the river Neckar at the heart of the “Rhine-Neckar Triangle.” The city is home to around 150,000 people and is considered a young city in terms of population with 39 percent of its population under 30. The first mention of Heidelberg historically was in 1196. In 1803, it became a popular tourist destination for poets and philosophers, making it a city of Romanticism. In 1945, Heidelberg became the headquarters of the U.S. Army in Europe and of NATO. Heidelberg University was founded in 1386, making it Germany’s oldest institution for higher education. Today it serves as an important university town, boasting a 41 percent university graduate rate for workers. Heidelberg is also a green city and is known for its contributions to science. In 1984, Heidelberg Technology Park was established and is one of the world’s foremost biotechnology centers. More than 90 companies are located there. Almost 12 million tourists visit this diverse city each year, to get a glimpse of the countryside and urban lifestyle Heidelberg offers. The city covers an area of 40 square miles, but only 30 percent is built up. Palo Alto and Heidelberg began a Smart Cities Alliance in 2013 with the goal of leveraging the assets of both cities to exchange ideas and values, especially in the areas of environmental sustainability and innovation driven economic development. In 2017, a Sister City relationship was officially established between Palo Alto and Heidelberg.