Long Beach first became involved in 1963 with Sister Cities International (https://sistercities.org), when the city of Long Beach and the city of Yokkaichi, Japan, established a partnership with the signing of affiliation documents making the two communities sister cities. This relationship celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, making it the oldest sister city committee in the city of Long Beach. Yokkaichi has maintained an active role in continuing to strengthen relations between the city of Long Beach and the city of Yokkaichi, with regular programs, trade missions and educational programs. Our initial sister city program with Yokkaichi, with its successes, opened the gates to other cites to become sister cities with Long Beach. In fact, later that same year another city requested sister city status, and the city of Valparaiso, Chile, became our second sister city committee.
In the 1980’s and 90’s, Long Beach continued to build relationships around the globe adding Pohang, Korea, and Qingdao, China. In 1989, Sochi, Russia; Meru, Kenya, in 1991, followed by Bacolod, Philippines, and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1994, brought the total number of cities affiliated with the Sister Cities program to nine. Because of previous rules governed by SCI that allow for a city to only have one Sister City per country, Sister Cities of Long Beach, Inc., established new type of relationship called Friendship City was established. In 2015 Rosarito Beach, Mexico, was approved, and in 2016 we welcomed Venice, Italy, as a Friendship City.
As the years passed, several of the original Sister Cities entered Into an inactive status because in changes in relationships and committees that had moved on to other projects. At the direction of the Long Beach City Council in 1996, a resolution was passed to form an umbrella organization, naming it Sister cities of Long Beach, Inc. This organization became the parent to all Long Beach Sister Cities, Bringing them together to focus on the international communities they served.