Lakeland, Florida Wins Sister Cities International’s Innovation Award for Humanitarian Assistance

WASHINGTON, DC – Lakeland, Florida has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Innovation Award for Humanitarian Assistance for a city with a population greater than 100,000. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.

Lakeland Sister Cities made great strides to provide rehabilitation and treatment to deaf or hearing impaired people in their sister city, Balta, Republic of Moldova. The impairments are largely due to meningitis, and LSC provided assistance in the form of antibiotics and hearing aids to both combat the illness, and restore hearing after the event. The most recent trip to Balti was conducted in October of 2018.  The clinical work continues, but the focus was to plan for the needs of the upcoming 2019 program.

As the years have gone by, the program has grown in many areas from its original mission.  Thousands of citizens have received assistance in the areas of speech and hearing deficits.  Many others have received aid in areas of food and material support. Training programs and exchanges of doctors have allowed the Moldovan healthcare professionals to take up the cause and provided service to their own country.

“We all stand to learn from these superstar Sister City programs as they impact their communities across a broad range of sectors that include business entrepreneurship, youth leadership, and arts and culture,” said Roger-Mark De Souza, Sister Cities International’s President & CEO. “These individuals and local organizations inspire us to be better citizens as their work exemplifies President Eisenhower’s vision of engaged international citizen diplomats. They create beneficial connections and lasting relationships which will help their communities today and for years to come.”

Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; youth and education; and professional and technical exchange categories. We also honor a Volunteer of the Year and our Youth Leadership who demonstrate exceptional efforts to advance peace through citizen diplomacy. This year we will honor all our award winners during SCI’s 2019 Annual Conference from July 17-19 in Houston, Texas.

The conference will bring together hundreds of the most influential citizen diplomats and global leaders in diplomacy, foreign affairs, policy, business, and innovation to discuss, share examples, and network. This year’s theme, Cities Mean Business, will focus on smart and resilient cities, leadership development, and entrepreneurship as key building blocks of President Eisenhower’s vision of creating a more peaceful world through citizen engagement and international cooperation between cities.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in more than 140 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.

About Lakeland Sister Cities:

Contact: Gregory Spirakis ([email protected])