In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the People-to-People idea. His intention was to involve individuals and organized groups at all levels of society in citizen diplomacy, with hope that personal relationships, fostered through city, county and state affiliations, would lessen the chance of future world conflicts. Recognizing the importance of involving all citizens in world diplomacy, he called upon the nation's cities as the centers of opportunity, expression and economic growth, to unite with communities around the world in building a solid structure of world peace.
At the core of all sister cities relationships is an agreement, signed by the Mayors of each city, reflecting their mutual commitment to building bridges between governments, businesses and individuals. Today, through formal Sister Cities affiliations governed by Sister Cities International, 2,400 Sister Cities relationships are bringing citizens together.