What Is Sister City?

The Pocatello Iwamizawa Sister City Foundation is a volunteer group of ordinary citizens who have formed long-term relationships with the people of Iwamizawa, Japan.  Every year a youth delegation is chosen to represent the City of Pocatello and surrounding areas.  Every five years an adult delegation is chosen.  Each delegation travels to Iwamizawa, Japan and promotes culture exchange, peace and friendship.

Sister city relationships offer the flexibility to form connections between communities that are mutually beneficial and address relevant issues. Our relationship offers endless possibilities for the Pocatello area communities and conducts a wide variety of activities.

The Pocatello Iwamizawa Sister City program provides experience in international affairs and citizen diplomacy for our youth.  Sister city exchanges are often the first opportunity that youth have to travel abroad, and the experience of being a guest rather than a tourist is a unique opportunity that helps them develop cross-cultural competence and maturity.  These exchanges are often described by participants as “a life-changing experience,” and many current leaders in international affairs or diplomacy can trace their interest to their first sister city exchange.

Each year applications are taken and reviewed by the Sister Board of Directors, which is a sub-committee of the Mayor’s office.  The Board then chooses the applicants for interview.  If an applicant is chosen to be a youth delegate, they have the unique opportunity to travel to Iwamizawa, Japan and represent Pocatello.   Each delegate stay’s with a host family and participates in various activities and events that are arranged by the City of Iwamizawa Sister City Board of Directors.  Likewise Pocatello hosts a youth delegation from Iwamizawa.

Each youth delegate is responsible for the cost of their travel expenses.  The youth delegation fundraises throughout the year to help with the cost.  A chaperon is selected from the Board of Directors to accompany the delegates.  Each delegate is required to attend a weekly cultural and language class.  Typically the parents of the delegate attend a fundraising meeting during the same time.  All funds raised by the delegation and deposited in the Sister City bank account must be used for the group’s trip and is non-refundable.

If you have questions concerning the program please email Doug Woolley at douglasrwoolley@gmail.com.