Over the years the Charlotte International Cabinet Office has established visits and exchanges with various cities around the world, including our eight sister cities. We work with City officials, The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and The Honorary Consular Corps to promote the City abroad and highlight our international partners. Our goal is to establish an exchange for every visit we have with a purpose to promote citizenship and diplomacy. These exchange programs are typically focused on academics, business, civics, music and art, service, or sports and we make sure that each exchange has a significant educational or cultural component. Most programs offer home hosting to enrich the overall experience. All Charlotte residents are strongly encouraged to participate and more information about the various programs can be made available by contacting our office. Below is information about recent and ongoing exchanges we sponsor.
Every year there are language exchanges between various countries and students from local middle and high schools and colleges. These programs highlight language proficiency and cross-cultural awareness and provide an enriching experience for our Charlotte youth.
In October of 2007, the Limoges Sister Cities Committee hosted delegates from our sister city of Limoges, France who participated in the Waging Peace in Our Communities grant program. Delegates from Charlotte visited Limoges the following February. The program was funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. State Department and was administered by Sister Cities International. Three pairs of US-French sister cities sought to strengthen their partnerships by jointly studying immigrant and minority integration issues, such as high unemployment, education attainment and discrimination. Each city developed a citywide action plan to improve cultural understanding and minority integration. Charlotte, St. Louis and Los Angeles were the three US cities participating with their French counterparts: Limoges, Lyon and Bordeaux.
Music and Art Exchanges
One popular exchange organized by CIC is our French Jazz exchange. Charlotte area jazz musicians perform in a Jazz Festival in Limoges, France and in exchange, professional French musicians venture to Charlotte to perform free concerts at local universities. They also perform at local venues throughout Charlotte like the Cajun Queen and the Double Door Inn. Additionally, the French musicians organize Master Classes for students at local grade schools.
In the past, the Charlotte Sister Cities committees invited artisans to be part of the Southern Christmas Show. While they were here they also visited public schools and shared their talents.
Every two years students from six countries (including Charlotte which represents the United States) have the opportunity to play in a youth orchestra concert hosted by the Limoges Conservatory of Performing Arts and The International Relations Department of Limoges.
In 1987 Jerald Melberg, a resident of Charlotte, visited a poor school in Arequipa, Peru and was moved by the difficult conditions faced by its students. With help from the Charlotte community and local Peruvians he revitalized the school. Through the years many Charlotteans, including former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot, have visited the school to meet the students, provide supplies and help strengthen the programs offered there. The school has continued to grow in size and is a wonderful symbol of the strong relationship between Arequipa and Charlotte.
CIC participates in a youth sports exchange with the city of Limoges, France. In April 2010 youth basketball teams from Charlotte attended an international youth basketball tournament held in Limoges and in November 2010 a youth basketball team from Limoges came to Charlotte. In previous years, soccer and baseball teams from Charlotte have traveled to international tournaments in Limoges and hosted French teams here in Charlotte.