Columbia's Sister Cities
The Sister Cities of Columbia program is a member of Sister Cities International.
Sister Cities of Columbia, South Carolina, is a global citizen diplomacy program. It is dedicated to furthering understanding among the citizens of Columbia, South Carolina, by encouraging and assisting the city and its citizens to link with similar communities throughout the world. The World Affairs Council has administered the Sister Cities program on behalf of the City of Columbia since April of 1996.
The goal of the sister cities program is for the communities involved to learn more about each other and develop lasting and meaningful exchanges in the fields of business, education, medicine, religion, and culture.
Strengthening Columbia's Sister City relationships will give Columbia and its citizens the opportunity to experience and explore other cultures through long-term municipal partnerships. As our communities and state become increasingly multicultural, international linkages such as these will be crucial to improving the quality of life for all residents in the Greater Columbia area.
The Sister Cities of Columbia program works to stimulate environments through which the citizens of the Midlands and their international partners can work together to solve problems, as well as enjoy the economic and cultural advantages that come with increased trade and tourism. Some of the benefits to the Midlands and to its citizens include:
2016 Sister-City Update
In 2000, Columbia Mayor Bob Coble signed the agreement with Kaiserslautern, Germany establishing the sister-city partnership. Sixteen years later, the benefits of that partnership took a significant leap forward when the University of South Carolina, the University of Kaiserslautern and the Science Alliance of Kaiserslautern signed a memorandum of understanding to explore educational and economic development opportunities. USC Provost Joan Gable signed the agreement in July along with University of Kaiserslautern President Helmut Schmidt and Science Alliance Chairman Dr. Dieter Rombach.
In the background was an on-going discussion between the Kaiserslautern-based Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (inventor of the MP3) and the University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Clemson University to create partnerships that could have an impact on Columbia and South Carolina for decades to come.
The Columbia World Affairs Council, which administers the sister-city program for the City of Columbia, was instrumental in the communications and creating the ties with USC, the City of Kaiserslautern, the University of Kaiserslautern and the Science Alliance made up of three research institutes in Kaiserslautern – Max Planck, the German Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Fraunhofer IESE.
In September, a team from the Fraunhofer IESE and its partner organization at the University of Maryland came to Columbia to begin the discussion on setting up a CyberSecurity competence with USC as the hub. In addition, the team held a workshop at Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research to create the next generation of innovation – the Rapid Innovation Lab. Key people from USC and Clemson have joined to work on both these initiatives. The South Carolina Department of Commerce along with the Columbia World Affairs Council was instrumental in providing support for the discussions and future activities.
While in Kaiserslautern in July, the USC group met students from the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, the state’s premier secondary education institute based in Hartsville. For three years GSSM students have been spending their summers doing research at the three German research institutes.