International Relations & Sister Cities

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Global Reach

Annually, St. Petersburg warmly welcomes visitors from around the globe to explore its museums, art galleries, shopping districts, waterfront parks, and pristine white sandy beaches. Our city’s extensive international connections enhance our local economy and cultural vibrancy.

For more than five decades, St. Pete has been actively engaged in global outreach, fostering partnerships through its membership in Sister Cities International. Notably, St. Pete maintains Sister City relationships with Takamatsu, Japan, and Isla Mujeres, Mexico, along with a ‘Friendship City’ connection to Figueres, Spain.

About St. Pete's Sister City Relationships

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Takamatsu, Japan

St. Pete has had a Sister City relationship with Takamatsu, Japan since 1961. The hope has always been to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan through citizen-to-citizen contact and help to provide opportunities to study abroad and make dreams come true for the young people of Takamatsu. As part of its relationship, the City participates in a summer cultural exchange of Student Ambassadors with Takamatsu.

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Isla Mujeres, Mexico

St. Pete has been a Sister City with Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico since 2016. Like St. Petersburg, Isla Mujeres takes great pride in its waterfront and is home to the oldest marina along the Mexican Caribbean. Annually, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club partners with the Club de Yates Isla Mujeres to organize the Regata del Sol al Sol a marquee annual race between two cities and a core component of the Sister City relationship.

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How to Get Involved

Student Ambassador Program

Each year the City of St. Petersburg sponsors two to three local high school juniors to represent the city as goodwill ambassadors to our Sister City of over fifty years, Takamatsu. Students receive complimentary roundtrip airfare to Takamatsu and accommodations with a Japanese family (or families) for up to three weeks during the summer. Students participate in daily activities, visit landmarks, and share cultural experiences with Japanese host families. In return, visiting high school students from Takamatsu are placed with St. Pete host families for similar cultural learning experiences. Being a host family is a requirement for eligibility in the Student Ambassador Program. The applying family will be interviewed as well.

Eligibility

  • Candidates for the Student Ambassador Program must live in St. Pete and be in their junior year of high school when they apply.
  • Ideal candidates for this program are dedicated, energetic St. Pete students who demonstrate civic pride and would feel confident representing our city and sharing our culture with the community in Takamatsu.
  • Upon return, students will be expected to share their experiences with students, civic groups, and other interested citizens and provide a presentation of their trip with the Mayor and City Council.

Application will open again in Spring 2025.

World Affairs in Action

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Our Partners

The St. Petersburg International Folk Fair Society, Inc. (SPIFFS), an organization with long-standing support from St. Pete's international community, has been charged with providing support for the St. Petersburg’s Sister Cities program. SPIFFS also provides support in establishing the Student Ambassador Program.

For more information about the Sister Cities program and cultural exchanges within St. Pete, please call 727-289-3744 or email:internationalfolkfair@gmail.com