Colorado Springs Sister City

Welcome to Colorado Springs Sister Cities International

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to Colorado Springs Sister Cities International.  Join with us as we shape important internationally-connected relationships around the globe. CSSCI engages in crucial summits and activities to discuss cultural understanding, economic alliances, common challenges, and blueprints for creating trailblazing municipal partnerships.  


Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is imbued with stunning natural beauty, and enjoys a unique history that symbolizes the passion and the spirit of the American West.  Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Complex, The United States Air Force Academy, NORAD, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Colorado Springs as one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations. 


Our Sister Cities


Site of the Ancient Olympic Games

Sister City since 2014


Home to residents from across 160 countries

Sister City since 1999


A friend and partner to the USA since 1991

Sister City since 1994


A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, Sister City since 1962


Host of the 2009 World Games

Sister City since 1983


A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sister City since 1996


The site of Napoleanic and WWII battles

Sister City since 1993

Nuevo Casas Grandes, MexicoFujiyoshida, JapanBishkek, KyrgyzstanKaohsiung, TaiwanAncient Olympia, GreeceBankstown, AustraliaSmolensk, RussiaColorado Springs, Colorado, USA


“The increasing interconnectivity of nations in today’s global economy underscores the need for robust partnerships between communities around the world. Organizations like Sister Cities International foster such relationships, increasing mutual knowledge and understanding between cities and cultures.  These collaborations promote collaboration and trust among citizens and nations, create opportuntiies for technological and economic innovation and development, and lay the foundations for continued peace and prosperity.  I am proud to serve as your Honorary Chair.”

 -President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States 

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Our Mission

Colorado Springs Sister Cities International (CSSCI) is a group of dedicated individuals and organizations whose mission is to promote cultural, educational, humanitarian and economic relationships with cities throughout the world. Relationships and exchanges are made by formal agreement with selected global partners at the municipal government level.
CSSCI is recognized by Sister Cities International (SCI), a citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities to increase global cooperation at the local level. The Sister City approach to international exchanges centers on citizen-to-citizen diplomacy. Sister Cities International was founded in 1956 by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It remains renowned worldwide as a distinguished people-to-people program that fosters international understanding. SCI works to promote cultural understanding, social development and economic growth, and as a national membership organization officially certifies links between U.S. communities and those abroad to ensure their sustained commitment and success in this mission. The SCI network represents more than 2,100 communities in 121 countries around the world and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.


Areas of Focus


Cultural exchanges provide the foundation for the majority of sister city relationships, bridging differences between nations through city-to-city partnerships and educating on a local level. These exchanges take many different forms, from elementary school pen pal project to tours by internationally-renowned artists. Musical performances, art exhibits, construction of peace parks or tea gardens, international cultural festivals, and teacher exchanges are popular throughout the sister city network.


To support local youth initiatives, CSSCI dedicates itself to promoting opportunities for youth exchanges, creating lasting friendships and cultural awareness from a young age. CSSCI provides project ideas, exchange programs, youth conferences, and mentoring opportunities to engage local young people in its dynamic international network.


International exchanges boost local industry and development, build avenues for trade and company expansion, and develop personal relationships that open doors for private sector investment. Economic development events and activities can include: visitors, local vendors at cultural events, on-going operations and maintenance of cultural attractions, international students, and company expansions.


Our Sister Cities

What is a Sister City?

A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A sister city, county, or state relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement.  A city may have any number of sister cities, with community involvement ranging from a half dozen to hundreds of volunteers. In addition to volunteers, sister city organizations may include representatives from nonprofits, municipal governments, the private sector, and other civic organizations.  Sister city relationships offer the flexibility to form connections between communities that are mutually beneficial and which address issues that are most relevant for partners.


ANCIENT OLYMPIA, GREECE:  Olympia, a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history.  The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Olympic Games were in honor of Zeus.The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held. When the modern Olympics came to Athens in 2004, the men's and women's shot put competition was held at the restored Olympia stadium.  


BANKSTOWN, AUSTRALIA:  Bankstown is a suburb of south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Bankstown is located 20 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre of the local government area of the City of Bankstown.  Bankstown is the seat of major industry including the aviation, engineering and maintenance at Bankstown Airport. Other employers include small industrial operations, the public service and the retail industry.


BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN:  Bishkek is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyz Republic or Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is situated at about 2,600 ft altitude just off the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tian Shan mountain range, which provides a spectacular backdrop to the city. Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the city centre, thousands of smaller privately built houses.


FUJIYOSHIDA, JAPAN: Fujiyoshida lies at the base of Mount Fuji, and is built upon old lava flows. It is considered a high-elevation city in Japan, at 2,140 to 2,800 feet above sea level. The city is also located between two of the Fuji Five Lakes.For several centuries, artisans around the Fujiyoshida area have produced high quality textiles, and now the city is the center of commerce and high technology in southern Yamanashi Prefecture.


KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN: Kaohsiung City is one of the five special municipalities under the administration of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Located in southern-western Taiwan and facing the Taiwan Strait, it is by area the largest municipality, and second most populous (by urban area). Since its start at 17th century, Kaohsiung has grown from a small trading village, into the political, economic, transportation, manufacturing, refining, shipbuilding, and industries centers of southern Taiwan.


NUEVO CASAS GRANDES, MEXICO:  Nuevo Casas Grandes, also known as Nueva Casas Grandes, is a city and seat of the Nuevo Casas Grandes Municipality in northern Mexico. The area around Nuevo Casas Grandes is noted for its great historical and archaeological heritage. Five miles southwest of Nuevo Casas Grandes is the most important archaeological site in northern Mexico, the Casas Grandes or Paquim Archaeological Zone highlighted by the new Paquim Museum. Nuevo Casas Grandes is also world famous for the nearby "potter village" of Mata Ortiz an ejido and its revival of pottery in the ancient Paquim tradition.


SMOLENSK, RUSSIASmolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River, 220 miles west-southwest of Moscow. This walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history because it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk is noted for electronics, textiles, food processing, and diamond faceting. 




June 18th, 2014


A Colorado Springs delegation attends a beautiful ceremony in Ancient Olympia, Greece celebrating our new Sister City relationship. U.S. Ambassador to Greece David Pearce released a dove as a symbol of peace between sister cities Ancient Olympia and Colorado Springs.

Read more at the City for Champions Facebook


May 16, 2014










May 16, 2014


The launch of the new CSSCI website is Friday, May 16th, 2014!  We are excited to present our new look. Take a moment to browse and to learn more about Colorado Springs' sister cities.


April 15, 2014


Colorado Springs welcomes Ancient Olympia, Greece as a new sister city!  Our communities share a tradition in the important Olympic movement. Congratulations to Harris Kalofonos for being instrumental in spearheading this new sister city initiative. Mayor Bach will officially welcome delegates from Greece on April 17th!   









Dr. Dan Hannaway









Marcia Hendricks

Vice President







Julie Smith








Joyce Velez



















Harris Kalofonos

Ancient Olympia, Greece




Marcia Hendricks

Bankstown, Australia




Graeme Badger

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan




Robin Lawrentz

Fujiyoshida, Japan




Eva Johnson

Kaohsiung, Taiwan




Warren Hill

Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico




Stephanie Shakhirev

Smolensk, Russia




Image Gallery


Colorado Springs Independent, June 12, 2014




A delegation from Colorado Springs will visit our newest Sister City, Ancient Olympia from June 15-19 for a Sister City ceremony at the ancient Olympic site and a visit to the International Olympic Academy (IOA) during the annual International Session for Young Participants in the Olympic Movement. The members of the delegation are traveling as invited guests of the City of Ancient Olympia, the IOA and the Greek government.


 Read more online

Denver Post, April 8, 2014




Ancient Olympia has become Colorado Springs' seventh sister city. The ruins near the municipality were the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and Colorado Springs houses the U.S. Olympic Committee.


A ceremony marking the agreement is being signed Tuesday by mayors Steve Bach and Aristideis Panagiotopoulos.


 Read more online

Colorado Springs Independent, April 25, 2014




Colorado Springs has a new sister city, Ancient Olympia, Greece. City Council approved a resolution today adding Ancient Olympia to the list of six other sister cities the city has.  Recommending the resolution, Mayor Steve Bach said, "Above all else we are a center for sports, health and wellness. I can’t think of a better way to express what that means to us than a sister city relationship with Ancient Olympia, Greece."

 Read more online


Colorado Springs Gazette, April 17, 2014




Colorado Springs' newest sister city, Ancient Olympia, Greece, was welcomed April 8 with a reception at Penrose House, wrapping up a busy visit as officials toured the city, learned local history at the Pioneers Museum, met with U.S. Olympic Committee representatives and had lunch with representatives from Colorado Springs Sister Cities International.  At the reception, Mayor Steve Bach and Greek officials exchanged official gifts.  Read more online


























For more information contact CSSCI at:


30 South Nevada Avenue, Suite 606
Colorado Springs, CO 80903



T: (719) 385-5256
F: (719) 385-5245


Or send an email directly to one of our Officers or Committee Chairs


For website questions, contact:


Membership Information


The executive board meets on the second Monday of each month at the Colorado Springs City Hall at 5:45 p.m. in the Pikes Peak Room.  All are invited to attend these meetings. CSSCI holds general membership meetings several times a year at various times and locations. These are announced by email to members. 


Membership in Sister Cities International is open to cities of all sizes, counties, states, international cities, and individuals. Members are a part of a network of citizen diplomats from over 500 U.S. communities with partnerships in nearly 2,000 cities in more than 140 countries around the globe.



If you would like to become a volunteer member of Colorado Springs Sister Cities International, click here


History of U.S. Presidents' Support

“The increasing interconnectivity of nations in today’s global economy underscores the need for robust partnerships between communities around the world. Organizations like Sister Cities International foster such relationships, increasing mutual knowledge and understanding between cities and cultures.  These collaborations promote collaboration and trust among citizens and nations, create opportuntiies for technological and economic innovation and development, and lay the foundations for continued peace and prosperity.  I am proud to serve as your Honorary Chair.”

 -President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States 


“No impersonal representation of a culture can fully communicate its reality to others who have never known its living substance. Through personal relations – our curiosity can be fulfilled by a sense of knowledge, cynicism can give way to trust, and the warmth of human friendship to be kindled.  “The Town Affiliation Program is making a real contribution throughout the United States and with many communities abroad. I hope that you will work to spread its effectiveness to other communities in your part of the country.” - President John F. Kennedy


“The dramatic past successes of the Sister Cities International program give you and your fellow members a dynamic role in the task of building a more peaceful and prosperous world community.”

- President Richard M. Nixon


“When President Eisenhower proposed the establishment of a program of affiliation between American and foreign cities on September 11, 1956, no one could have anticipated how successful it would become in creating imaginative and valuable exchanges in the fields of education, culture, youth, business, local government and professional expertise. All who have given of their time and talent in this effort can take great satisfaction from their accomplishments.”

-President Gerald Ford



Ancient Olympia, Greece

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Ancient Olympia Committee Chair, Harris Kalofonos



Harris was initially inspired by his belief that if Colorado Springs residents knew more about the origin and legacy of the Ancient Olympic Games they would be able to clearly comprehend the impact US Olympic hopefuls who live and train in Colorado Springs have on the long term growth of our city. Harris was encouraged by the unexpected decision of the International Olympic Committee to return wrestling as an Olympic event in the 2020 Summer Olympics, and in April, 2014 his idea became a reality when the city of Ancient Olympia, Greece became a sister city of Colorado Springs. 



Send a message to Harris 

Ancient Olympia, Greece: June 17, 2014 in Ancient Olympia, Greece, U.S. Ambassador David Pearce releases a dove as a symbol of peace between sister cities Ancient Olympia and Colorado Springs.



Olympia Greece was the site of the ancient Olympic Games, which were celebrated every four years by the Greeks. Olympia was situated in a valley in Elis, in western Peloponnisos (Peloponnesus), through which runs the Alpheus River. It was not a town, but only a sanctuary with buildings associated with games and the worship of the gods. Olympia was a national shrine of the Greeks and contained many treasures of Greek art, such as temples, monuments, altars, theaters, statues, and votive offerings of brass and marble. The Altis, or sacred precinct, enclosed a level space about 200 m (about 660 ft) long by nearly 177 m (nearly 580 ft) broad. In this were the chief centers of religious worship, the votive buildings, and buildings associated with the administration of the games.  Read the entire article  Read the Wikipedia


Interesting links


Olympia, Greece city website


International Olympic Academy



About the Chairman, Harris Kalofonos


Harris Kalofonos is the International Relations Consultant for the International Olympic Academy in the U.S., and the Manager of Marketing at USA Wrestling (USAW). He was instrumental in making Colorado Springs and Ancient Olympia, Greece sister cities in April, 2014. Over the years Harris worked on several projects related to USAW’s sponsors’ ability to communicate effectively with the organization’s 200,000 plus members. He has also played a significant role in the International Relations and Olympic Hospitality Programs of USAW having worked at four Olympic Games since 2004. He is originally from Greece, and prior to his role at USAW, he served in his home country's military as a Special Forces Officer. Beyond his professional life in the Olympic movement, Harris is involved in developing funding proposals for renewable energy initiatives. During his free time he is an avid hiker, camper, and snowboarder.

Dr. Dionyssios S. Gangas, left, Mayor Steve Bach, Aristideis Panagiotopoulos,Vice Mayor of Ancient Olympia, and Harris Kalofonos. 041714 Photo by Linda Navarro




Smolensk, Russia

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Smolensk Committee Chair


Dear friend,


It has never been more crucial to strengthen and maintain American-Russian ties, and it all begins on a city-to-city and person-to-person level.  Through mutual cultural understanding, strong friendships, and educational and economic alliances, great things can be accomplished in our quest for common ground.  I'm looking forward to introducing Russia's intelligent, thoughtful beauty and vast historical importance to Colorado Springs, and conversely, to sharing with Russia the unparalleled, visionary spirit and magnificence of the American West and its people.  I hope to be instrumental in creating new and promising joint cooperation and collaborative activities with our friends and partners in Smolensk in 2014!  If you are new to CSSCI, take a moment to watch the videos below and to learn more about the lovely and geographically significant city of Smolensk, Russia. 


With warm regards,

Stephanie Shakhirev 


Send a message to Stephanie




The walled city of Smolensk was destroyed several times throughout its long history because it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk is noted for electronics, textiles, food processing and diamond faceting.  The city is located in European Russia on the banks of the upper Dnieper River, which crosses the city in the Smolensk Upland, which is the western part of the Smolensk–Moscow Upland.  The river flowing in the city from east to west, divides it into two parts: the northern and southern center.  


Smolensk is among the oldest of Russian cities. The first recorded mention of the city was 863 AD, two years after the founding of ancient Rus'. According to Russian Primary Chronicle, Smolensk (probably located slightly downstream, at the archaeological site of Gnezdovo) was located on the area settled by the West Slavic Radimichs tribe in 882 when Oleg of Novgorod took it in passing from Novgorod to Kiev. The first foreign writer to mention the city was the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus.  In De Administrando Imperio (c. 950) he described Smolensk as a key station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Rus people sailed from the Baltics up the Western Dvina as far as they could then they pulled their boats out onto the ground and dragged them along to the upper Dnieper. 
Read the entire Wikipedia  



Smolensk Official Website (in Russian)  



Bankstown, Australia

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Bankstown Committee Chair


The long-standing relationship between Bankstown, Australia and Colorado Springs was born in a joint appreciation of athletic excellence during the 2000 Olympic Games, held in Sydney, Australia. Since the establishment as sister cities in 2001, our two cities have engaged in a variety of cultural exchanges. With a strong foundation of a shared passion for both the arts and athleticism, we hope to continue to maintain this important friendship with the vibrant and bustling city of Bankstown. 
Thank you for your interest! 



Marcia Hendricks 

Send a message to Marcia 




Bankstown is a suburb of south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Bankstown is located 20 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre of the local government area of the City of Bankstown.


Prior to European settlement, Cumberland Plains Woodland occupied much of the area. Turpentine ironbark forest covered much of what is now Bankstown. The land was occupied by the Bediagal people. Their land bordered the Dharawal and the Darung people. The Aboriginal inhabitants strongly opposed the European settlers. The resistance ceased after a number of their leaders were killed or imprisoned in 1816. In that year an epidemic broke out amongst the native people which reduced the Aboriginal populations, this also contributed to the end of their resistance.


In 1795, Matthew Flinders and George Bass explored up the Georges River for about 20 miles beyond what had been previously surveyed, and reported favourably to Governor Hunter of the land on its banks. Hunter examined the country himself, and established one of the pioneer colonies there, called Bank's Town, today written as one word Bankstown.


Hunter named it in honour of botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who travelled to Australia with Captain James Cook in 1770. The area of first European settlement along the river has been partially preserved as part of the Mirambeena Regional Park. The Bankstown City area includes large areas of the Georges River National Park.


One hundred years after its naming, Bankstown was proclaimed a municipal district on 9 September 1895. At this time there was a feeling of impending growth which was further strengthened by the promise of increased railway extensions. Municipalities that were already constituted became ambitious, and, in 1894, both Enfield and Auburn Councils announced their intention to absorb Bankstown as part of their own municipalities. However, a petition was organised and signed by 300 residents resulting in Bankstown retaining its individual status. And on 9 September 1895 it was proclaimed a municipal district. The first election was held on 2 November 1895. With 884 electors on the roll, 112 people voted to cast a total of 213 votes. Each ratepayer was entitled to 1.4 votes according to the assessed value of his property. Women were not allowed to vote at this stage.


The first town hall and Council Chambers were built in 1898 on the northern side of the Hume Highway (Liverpool Road), near Rookwood Road (site of the Three Swallows Hotel). The council chambers were relocated to a new building in South Terrace (now Old Town Centre Plaza) in June 1918. The building still stands and now has a shopping arcade running through it.


Bankstown Council relocated to its third premises in 1963 when the Civic Centre that is located on the corner of Chapel Road and The Mall was constructed. It included the Council Chambers or ‘Roundhouse’, as it’s called and is still in use today as an administration building. The current town hall was built in 1973. The administration building was destroyed by fire on 1 July 1997. Council offices relocated to Bankstown Civic Tower (the blue tower) in 1999 and on 13 June 2000 Bankstown’s now popular Central Park, where the former administration building once stood, was officially declared Paul Keating Park.  On 27 May 1980, during a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Bankstown was accorded city status.  Read the entire Wikipedia


The Acer Stadium in Bankstown

Old Town Centre Plaza in Bankstown

In addition to being the location of the US Olympic Committee headquarters for the 2000 Olympics, the city was the site of the cycling events for the games in the coliseum pictured here. The idea of a sister city relationship with Colorado Springs grew out of this contact because the US Olympic Headquarters is located in Colorado Springs.


Interesting Links


Bankstown City Website



Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Bishkek Committee Chair


Dear friend,


This is an exciting time for the relationship we have with Bishkek through the Colorado Springs Sister Cities International program.  Bishkek is an historical and cultural treasure situated at the base of the Tian Shan Range in Central Asia.  Our partnership with Bishkek is strong and our future relationship is an exciting one.  Bishkek has strong international sports and tourist sectors similar to Colorado Springs.  Through cultural understanding and sharing, our future ties with this great city will improve and expand. 



Graeme Badger


Send a message to Graeme 




Bishkek is situated at about 800 metres (2,600 ft) altitude just off the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tian Shan mountain range, which rises up to 4,855 metres (15,928 ft) and provides a spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a fertile and gently undulating steppe extends far north into neighbouring Kazakhstan. The Chui River drains most of the area. Bishkek is connected to the Turkestan-Siberia Railway by a spur line.  Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the city centre, thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees which provide shade in the hot summers.  Read the entire Wikipedia 


Bishkek Ala-Too Square

Bishkek National Historical Museum

Dancing fountains at night in Bishkek


Fujiyoshida, Japan

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Fujiyoshida Committee Chair


Colorado Springs and Fujiyoshida share more than simple geographic similarities. As two cities situated at the base of glorious iconic mountain peaks, Fujiyoshida and Colorado Springs have had numerous opportunities for cultural, economic, and educational exchanges in its more than fifty-year relationship. The relationship between our two cities furthered strengthened in a show of mutual support in the midst of individual natural disasters experienced by Fujioshida during the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and most recently the Waldo Canyon fire of Colorado Springs in 2010. Our two cities greatly look forward to continuing this beautiful friendship that has blossomed through shared tragedy and triumph. 



Robin Lawrentz

Send a message to Robin



by David Sckolnik


June 17, 2014

All praise Mt. Fuji!


Our first full day in Fujiyoshida proved to be very predictable… that’s right- incredible natural beauty, kind and oh-so-accommodating people and gorgeous food. The Youth Symphony kids continued their uninterrupted stay with their home families; the adults got to tour some of the sites.  At the exact spot we were dropped off in the downtown, a slow processional parade was headed right for us. Men clad in white ceremonial robes led the way and very young Japanese children dressed in stunning colors and textures followed behind with their parents. We had stumbled into a once-every-60-year festival. A new entry arch for the Shinto shrine Fuji Sengen Jinja” was to be celebrated today.


After hooking up with David Ruminski and Kieran Doyle, we toured the ancient “Pilgrim’s Inn- the Togawa Oshi House” where those who would dare to climb would rest upon reaching Fujiyoshida.  David and Kieran still had thoughts about another style of worship - the performance of the Verdi “Requiem” back in Tokyo. Kieran was humbled. “I just switched from euphonium to tuba this past year. I was stunned at how incredible the tuba player was,” he said. “The other kids could appreciate how that orchestra played just one step removed from being able to do the same. I’m so new to my instrument that I’m much further away.” With apologies to Kieran, I respectfully disagree. He is a talented and fine sounding player.  A light flipped on in David’s eyes as he began to recall the performance. “It was totally awesome,” he said. “that’s the place we all want to get to.”  With the boys in tow, we headed off for a special lunch. We knew we were headed for a “roll your own Sushi session.” What we didn’t know was how remarkable the people who would host us, “the Jackson Club,” would be.


Greeting ua at yet another ancient structure was the quartet of Katie Hart, Emma Johnson,  Elisabeth Buvarp and Abbi Chapman. They were full of enthusiasm. We would soon find out why.  Their host family included a woman known as "the mother of Fujiyoshida.” And yes, her deportment is very warm and maternal. At latest count, she has hosted 200 visitors from other counties in her home. She is also a member of the Jackson Club.


Once again, the warmth and generosity of the Japanese people amazed us all. But there is something even more special about this city.  

As citizens of Colorado Springs we are all family here. We walk down the streets as honored guests. We all are resolved to make sure that when children or adults visit our city we do the same for them.  The entire experience coalesced when reached the grounds of Shinto shrine. Ancient towering cedars paved the way to the shrine. The clutter and confusion of the modern world evaporated as we made our way to the opulent temple. A calmness overcame us all.  The Youth Symphony kids get back to work today, Sunday, for an outdoor concert with her, Mt. Fuji, looking on. I doubt we’ll ever have a more important audience. 


David Sckolnik

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association


June 18, 2014

One last hurrah in front of Mt. Fuji (and some special goodbyes)


The Youth Symphony kids had been in rehearsal since 9 am when we arrived at the Kirara Plaza in front of massive Yamanaka Lake. Mt. Fuji itself provided a glorious backdrop behind the open air stage. It is the kind of venue that would be cherished in the Pikes Peak region.  

It was still an hour until the 2 pm concert was to begin and there seated and awaiting us was the trio of Meagan Prewitt, Glenna Boggs and Olympia Vida. They had been reunited with their instruments after five days of travel, sightseeing and home stays. Meagan knows who she is dealing with. It’s Marie Antoinette, her oboe. “She was playing great right away, but I kept getting water in one hole.” Of her experience in Japan it was her time with her three host families that was most impactful. “I was well prepared for them,” she said. “The biggest thing is how nice the Japanese people are.”


Concert time. The President of the International Friendship Association who organized the concert and helped with the Youth Symphony’s visit to Fujiyoshida, Jinichin Hosaka, opened the festivities by sharing and highlighting the spirit of cooperation and commitment that made this part of our tour possible. He was in for a real treat.  The Fuji Kaen Taiko Drumming Group opened the program with an inspired percussion experience. This group has been to Colorado Springs in 1998 and 2005. Two choirs were next: Fujiyoshida Citizen’s Chorale and Fujiyoshida Shirakaba Choir. Their performances of Japanese literature were tight and tuneful.


These young musicians were realizing that this would be their last chance to make music in this far away land. Extra passion showed up in everything they played. It was the final chance for the first violins had to put it all together for the “Orange Blossom Special.” They had always played the notes just fine when they stood enmass for their section solo at the end of this entertaining piece of Americana. Finally, they hammed it up just right- smiling and moving to the music. The crowd ate it up.  There was also another chance to play the Ewazen “Taiko Fantasy” - this time with the resident ensemble. Set against such a glorious backdrop it had more musical impact than ever.


For their shared encore with our orchestra, the two choirs insisted  on performing America the Beautiful.” Remember that its poignant poetry by Kathy Lee Bates was inspired by the view from Pikes Peak- America’s Mountain.” Fitting it was that is should be the crown on a performance in front of Japan’s mountain by musicians from two sister cities. On the green in front of the stage, it was time for farewells. New families had to be sadly separated yet happiness and joy prevailed. Melissa Miranda and Jenna Vande Brake had obviously forged a lifelong friendship with Rose-Red Reiko and her family. These many connections need to be completed by Japanese visits to Colorado.


The final night in Fujiyoshida was in the Akaiyane Youth Center. As it had all during our visit, the city continued its red carpet treatment of our entire entourage. After this visit, we are all committed to making the annual August visit of high school students from this city to our city more memorable than ever.  Except for the marvelous bluegrass duo of Jory Lane and Ciara McGuire and the string quartet of Matt Grammer, Katie Gardner, Patrick Jones, Joshua Head and Robert Widmann with music by Grieg, the music making is over for Youth Symphony in Japan. Kyoto and its ancient temples beckons along with one last chance for worlds to collide through a last visit with school kids from that city. I think we all know that part of us will forever be left on this island nation.


David Sckolnik

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association


Fujiyoshida Mayor Shigeru Horiuchi and wife Mayumi Horiuchi enjoy hospitality at 50th anniversary of Sister City relationship event in Colorado Springs.nd gave a joint concert with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.

In 2012, at the 50th anniversary celebration, the students celebrated their arrival at the top of Pikes Peak.

Fujiyoshida Mayor Shigeru Horiuchi and wife Mayumi Horiuchi enjoy hospitality at 50th anniversary of Sister City relationship event in Colorado Springs.nd gave a joint concert with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.


Student Exchanges

Each summer Fujiyoshida middle school students and chaperones visit Colorado Springs. They stay with host families here, many of whom have served as hosts in the past. This past year's visitors range from 14 to 15 years of age. They attend Junior High Schools in Fujiyoshida. The chaperones are usually from Fujiyoshida City Hall and teachers from local Schools. Group activities include tours to the top of Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods City Park and Trading Post. Also a picnic is held for the visitors, their hosts, Rampart High School student volunteers and members of CSSCI. While the visitors are here, they share everyday life experiences with the host families such as visits to shopping malls, restaurants, movies, nearby tourists attractions, participate in sports, and meet and make friends with other young people of similar ages. 


Host families are needed each year. So if you know of any one interested in serving please get in touch with chair Jill McMillan by email.

Recent News


May 14th, 2014



Click these links to learn more:

Fujiyoshida City News

Fujiyoshida Int'l. Affairs Desk




Home to the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine, the historic entrance to the Yoshida Trail which remains to this day the single most traveled ascending route, Fujiyoshida is truly the gateway to Mount Fuji. 


Nestled at the northern base of this Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site, ranging in altitude from 650-900 meters above sea level, the city and the surrounding Fuji Five Lakes area boasts abundant natural beauty and a rich history inextricaly linked to majestic Mount Fuji. 

Mount Fuji's volcanic history has left behind a rich geological and geographical legacy, one that continues to be studied by researchers and scholars from around the world today. Local lifestyles, traditions and even industry have also been greatly affected by this same volcanic history. Of note, the volcanic soil found around the base of Mount Fuji made for poor farming land and forced the area to rely on other forms of industry. Thanks to this (mis)fortune, the Gunnai area, including Fujiyoshida, evolved into a textile manufacturing mecca, producing world-famous textiles that to this day remain some of the most valued, best quality textiles in the world. The famous Yoshida Fire Festival, which welcomes spectators from far and wide every year, is an event historically dedicated to the goddess of the volcano, meant to appease her and keep volcanic eruptions at bay. 


Fujiyoshida is home to many other attractions both historic and contemporary. From Arakurayama Sengen Park, home to the iconic Chureito Pagoda, Fuji-Q Highland, a popular destination for amusement park fanatics from around the world, and Kaneyama Onsen, a premier hot spring resort, to endless hiking and outdoor recreation areas, the city and surrounding Fuji Five Lakes area has something to offer for people of all ages and interests. 


We invite you to explore our many attractions, learn about our fascinating local history, taste our delicious local foods, don yourself in our world-class textiles, and enjoy our spectacular view of Mount Fuji!  Read the entire article

The torii gate, shrine and crisscrossed bridge, located in the North Nevada Avenue median between Platte Ave. and Bijou St. in downtown Colorado Springs, were repainted in 2004 & 2007. Rampart High School Japan Club students, who are studying the Japanese history and language, volunteered to scrape and repaint the structures. They were supervised by their teachers, Alex Echevarria and Liz Groothof-Croddy. The City's Operations Division donated ladders, paint and brushes for the event. For their dedicated effort, Carl's Jr Restaurant rewarded the student with free hamburgers. 


The Japanese structures were a gift to Colorado Springs in 1966 from the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs in commemoration of the Sister City relationship between Colorado Springs and Fujiyoshida. A plaque near the torii says the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities.  


Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Kaohsiung Committee Chair



Thank you for your interest in the partnership of Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Colorado Springs, Colorado! Kaohsiung is a city of great economic significance, and both economic and cultural exchanges between our cities remain an essential part of Colorado Springs Sister City International. In the history of our relationship, we have found ways to experience and appreciate the beauty of each other's culture from across the globe. Please take a moment to learn about Kaohsiung, and the richness of its people, trade, and culture. 



Eva Johnson

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Friendship Force of the Pikes Peak region visited Kaohsiung, Taiwan in February, 2013 and met with the Mayor's International Office Manager, Mr. Henry Huang (center).

Eva Johnson, Kaohsiung Sister City Chair displays the banner for the World Games to Warren Hill, CSSCI President. The World Games were held in July 2009 at Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Eva returned from Taiwan with the banner after a visit with city officials earlier in 2009.


Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico

A Welcome from the Colorado Springs - Nuevo Casas Grandes Committee Chair


Dear friend,


Through the past 10 years there has been a lot of activity with our friends in Nuevo Casas Grandes.  As you can see from photos posted on this web site there have been art project exchanges, gifts of school buses and furniture, gifts of fire trucks and equipment, and gifts of computers for rural schools.  All of these things, mostly made possible with Rotary Club Foundation grants, have stimulated added economic development in our Sister City.  Children have more opportunity and the city is better protected against the ravages of fire.  The giving has gone both ways.  Nuevo Casas Grandes has assisted us with a  dental project in Colorado Springs for indigent children here.  We want to continue our relationship with them by looking for new ways to engage in these across the border opportunities.  If Mexico is stronger we both benefit. 



Warren Hill 


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Nuevo Casas Grandes, a city of 80,000, was founded in the 1870's. It is situated in a wide, fertile valley on the 4,000 foot Mesa del Norte of the Plateau of Mexico in the central part of the Chihuahua State. Nearby are the Sierra Madre Occidental (Rocky Mountains) and the Casas Grandes River. Many of the region's inhabitants are of Native American ethnic groups closely related to our own southwest cultures. 
The area around Nuevo Casas Grandes is noted for its great historical and archaeological heritage. Five miles southwest of Nuevo Casas Grandes is the most important archaeological site in northern Mexico, including the Casas Grandes Archaeological Zone and the Paquime Archaeological Zone highlighted by the new Paquime Museum. Nuevo Casas Grandes is also world famous for the nearby "potter village" of Mata Ortiz and its revival of pottery in the ancient Paquime tradition. To see more of Mata Ortiz click here. Also nearby are a Mormon village, Mennonite communities, and apple and pecan orchards. 

Read the Wikipedia

In 2012, Rotarians donated two "rapid response" trucks, #6 & #7, to Sister City Nuevo Casas Grandes.  

The Mayor of Nuevo Casas Grandes tries out the driver's seat of a "new" fire truck for their city in 2009. A Rotary Club and Sister City collaboration made the gift of the Cimmaron Hills ladder truck possible. Firemen from both cities trained on the truck. This is the fifth fire truck donated through these efforts. Much additional equipment has also been donated to make their department in Mexico self-sufficient.

Mayor Steve Bach of Colorado Springs talks with Presidente Luis Cobos of Nuevo Casas Grandes during the gift ceremony.




In 2008, Rotarians, and Colorado Springs School District 11, continued their assistance by donating a total five school buses for use in Nuevo Casas Grandes.






The following procedures are to be followed for the establishment of a new sister city relationship: 


1) Contact Sister cities, International in Alexandria, Virginia to determine appropriateness of proposed relationship.


2) The interested individual, group, or organization must form an exploratory committee of interested residents of the community who are committed to promote and support the proposed relationship. This committee should consider the following factors:

Is there agreement between Colorado Springs and the foreign city on the purpose and goals of the sister city relationship, and are the goals realistic? Are there similarities to Colorado Springs with respect to population, geographic location, terrain, climate, etc.? 

Is there a viable support group in Colorado Springs that shares an ethnic/cultural identity or other interests with the foreign city (groups, clubs, associations, businesses)? Type of economic base? Are there shared interests, concerns, and potential opportunities? Is there adequate communication available to sustain the relationship? Is it a desirable place to visit? How easily accessible is it? Are there any problems associated with economic or political stability? 

This committee is to contact the city which would become a sister city to make sure there is interest in such a relationship. A corresponding committee in the foreign city must be set up. There must be an indication of support for the relationship from the local government in the foreign city.


3) When the above requirements have been met and the committee wishes to pursue a sister city relationship, the committee is to contact the President of C.S.S.C.I., who will schedule a preliminary presentation at an Executive Committee meeting. 

After the presentation the Executive Board will vote on the acceptance of the exploratory committee as a proposed Sister City. The Mayor of the City of Colorado Springs shall be informed of the possibility of a new sister city relationship.

Following the acceptance by the Executive Committee (meeting), the exploratory committee will set up a proposed sister city committee. This committee will elect leadership, raise funds, garner community support, and demonstrate success to the Executive Board by functioning for two years as a viable sister city committee. At that time the Executive Board will vote on the acceptance or rejection of the committee as a permanent sister city committee. The President will schedule a presentation at a regular meeting of the C.S.S.C.I. membership who will vote on the proposal by secret ballot and a simple majority will prevail.


4) If approved by CSSCI, the President will request, by letter to the City Manager of the City of Colorado Springs, to be placed on the informal agenda of City Council. The presentation at the City Council meeting will be made by the chair of the proposed new sister city committee and will be supported by members of the committee as well as the President of CSSCI. on behalf of it's Executive Committee and it's members. If approval is granted at the informal Council meeting a formal resolution will be placed on a future regular City Council meeting.


5) The signing of an agreement between the two cities outlining the programs and objectives of the two cities will take place at the earliest possible time.