February 7, 2018 – White House Press Release

As the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International, Second Lady Karen Pence participated in a meeting and cultural presentation of the Youth Ambassador Exchange, a program through the Houston, Texas-Chiba Sister City Relationship. Mrs. Pence met with the Mayor of Chiba-city, Toshihito Kumagai, five middle school students from last year’s Youth Ambassador Exchange program, and the teacher who served as the chaperone for the exchange program.

The annual Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Program is considered to be one of the most important elements of the sister city relationship. In alternating years, middle school students, along with a chaperone, visit their counterpart’s city. The meeting opened with Mayor Kumagai offering greetings from Chiba-city, Japan and Mrs. Pence offering greetings from the United States.

The meeting included a presentation by the five Japanese students who participated in the Youth Ambassador Exchange program. Mrs. Pence learned about the students’ visit to Houston last year where they met with city officials, attended classes at a Houston middle school, and toured local sights. Through the stories shared, Mrs. Pence gained an understanding of what it is was like for the students to experience home and school life in a culture different from their own.

“The Houston, Texas-Chiba Sister City relationship is a 45-year relationship, bringing together cities and people to experience each other’s culture,” said Mrs. Karen Pence. “It was an honor and pleasure to visit with the Mayor, students, and their chaperone. This was a great opportunity to represent the United States and continue the cultural relationship between our country and Japan.”

After participation in the sister city presentation, Mrs. Pence visted the Hama-rikyu Gardens in Tokyo. She was joined by Mrs. Chikako Aso, wife of Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. Together, they enjoyed the beautiful views of the gardens. Following the tour, the Second Lady met with Mrs. Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Thursday, Mrs. Pence will visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Yokota Air Base where she will meet with military spouses.

To stay updated on Mrs. Pence’s events, follow her on Twitter at, @SecondLady.

About Houston-Chiba Sister City Relationship

The Houston, Texas—Chiba City, Japan sister city relationship was established in 1972. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) invited to Japan a Houston delegation. The delegation approached the Japan Municipal League for International Friendship to ask about partnering with a Japanese city. Houston and Chiba City identified a number of shared interests and characteristics, for example, both are important port cities with strong industrial bases. After consideration and their respective municipal approvals, on October 24, 1972, the cities executed a sister-city agreement.

The official press release can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/second-lady-karen-pences-visit-japan-shines-light-sister-city-relationship/


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  • Houston-Tampico Sister City Association – Boom in Tierra Mexicana! Photo Gallery
    6:30 pm-8:30 pm

    The Houston-Tampico Sister City Association cordially invites you to the opening ceremony of: Boom in Tierra Mexicana!

    Selected historical photographs of the first oil boom in Mexico from 1900-1930 will be on view from April 27-May 25, 2017.

    Marco Bracamontes, curator.

    Opening reception:
    Date: Wednesday May 3, 2017
    Time: 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Location: Williams Tower Gallery
    Address: 2800 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, Texas 77056
    Parking: Williams Tower structure adjacent to the building

    Generously supported by:
    Santa Fe Natural Gas – Alpha Deepwater Services
    Marcos y Asociados – Rodriguez Davalos Abogados
    City of Houston – BDO

    (281) 793-8577


  • Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association – Meet One of Leipzig’s Buergermeisters and his Daughter
    6:30 pm-10:30 pm

    Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association will host an exciting program for you on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard, Houston, TX 77005.

    Do come and meet one of Leipzig’s Mayors and with his teenage daughter we’ll have a double header! Read more about the program here: http://houstonleipzig.org/2017/05/05/meet-one-of-leipzigs-buergermeisters-and-his-daughter/. Since we need to place our food orders early, PLEASE RSVP NOW to angelika@houstonleipzig.org .

    On another note, the German language programs for children in our community are in a crisis. While the programs of the German Institute for the Southwest (GIS) are going strong (knock on wood) and are growing at a reasonable rate, the other two German programs for children (not affiliated with GIS) have lost their leases. Please read the plea for help from the German American Elementary School for their preschool program: http://germansouthwest.org/2017/05/05/german-american-elementary-school-needs-a-new-place-to-lease/ and if you can help or know someone who can, please contact Bianca Reich at bianca@reich-realty-intl.com .

    Have a fabulous weekend, and we’ll see you on Thursday at the Parish Hall for the meeting with the mayor,

  • Port Houston – Ship Channel Tour
    5:30 pm-7:00 pm

    Sister Cities of Houston will utilize the M/V Sam Houston for a port tour on Saturday, May 27th at 5:30 PM. Food and beverages will be provided during the course of the instructional tour of the Port of Houston. Seating is limited, please RSVP directly to Denisse at dvalenzuela@harrygee.com by May 18th.

    Looking forward to seeing you on May 27th.

  • Houston Iftar Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor of Houston
    6:30 pm-9:00 pm

    Houston Iftar Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor of Houston

    Save the Date for the “Houston Iftar Annual Ramadan Dinner with Mayor of Houston” to be held on May 28, 2017 at the Bayou City Events Center in Houston, Texas from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm.

    The Houston Iftar Annual Ramadan Dinner is organized by five of our Sister City Associations: Houston-Abu Dhabi Sister City Association, Houston-Baku Sister City Association, the Houston-Basra Sister City Committee, the Houston-Karachi Sister City Association, and the Houston-Istanbul Sister City Association in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs, ISGH, Houston Office of Protocol and International Affairs, and more than forty collaborating organizations.

  • Sister Cities of Houston – May Board Meeting
    5:30 pm-7:00 pm

    East West Bank/Conference Room – On the last Tuesday of each month, the Board of Directors of Sister Cities of Houston meet to discuss ongoing business and initiatives. The Board is composed of five elected members of the Executive Committee, four at large board members and one ex officio representative from each Sister City organization.