OUR MISSION & HISTORY
Aspen Sister Cities is a nonprofit organization run by a Board of Directors. Our mission is to share ideas and cultures through the international exchange of students and community members from Aspen and the greater Roaring Fork Valley. We support the Sister Cities International mission statement of promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation- one individual, one community at a time.
The Aspen Sister Cities program began in 1966 with a relationship with Garmisch- Partenkirchen, Germany. In 1985 Mayor Bill Stirling and the council established the Aspen Sister Cities Committee. Relationships with six more cities were subsequently established (Shimukappu, Japan- Queenstown, New Zealand- Chamonix, France- Bariloche, Argentina- Abetone, Italy- Davos, Switzerland).
Affiliations between cities throughout the world began after WWII. Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House summit on citizen diplomacy, where he envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world. President Eisenhower reasoned that people from different cultures could understand, appreciate, and celebrate their differences while building partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts. Today, this network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in nearly 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries.
In 1992 my husband (who was then Chairman of the Aspen Chamber resort Association) and I joined a group of Aspenites for an official visit to Queenstown, New Zealand to sign the official documents tying our two cities together.
On the plane ride home, after an amazing week in this picturesque and adventuresome town with many new friends and connections made, our President, Len Olender asked me to be the city coordinator. I immediately went to work beginning our first of many successful student exchanges. From there, we hosted teams from Queenstown to race in the 24 Hours of Aspen ski marathon; we hosted theater group; art and culture exchanges; and we hosted many official visits from their mayor and committee members.
A few years later, my husband became President of Aspen Sister Cities and in 2003, we were lucky to travel to the beautiful town of Bariloche, Argentina with many Aspen Sister City folks to meet the wonderful citizens of Bariloche and sign the official treaty joining our two towns.
Then, in 2015, after a two-year courtship, Abetone, Italy became our seventh Sister City and I had and continue to have the pleasure to be the city coordinator along with Rolando Galli, my wonderful friend and liaison in Abetone.
Watching our daughter’s experience the Chamonix, France exchange in 7th grade, let us see first-hand the incredible benefits these programs have to offer. For her, it was life-changing.
Being involved with Sister Cities for almost 30 years has been an incredibly rewarding experience and with the hard work of everyone on our committee past and present, I’m so honored to be President.
SISTER CITIES COORDINATORS
Abetone – Italy
Bariloche – Argentina
Chamonix – France
Davos – Switzerland
Garmisch P – Germany
Betsy Ann Anastas
Queenstown – New Zeland
Shimukappu – Japan
support our mission
To support the Sister City International mission statement of
promoting peace through mutual respect. understanding,
and cooperation – one individual, one community at a
time by facilitating exchanges between Aspen Sister Cities.