WASHINGTON, DC – Olivia Connor of Nashville, Tennessee has won the Sister Cities International 2019 Youth Leadership Award. 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.

Olivia Connor has been involved in Sister Cities of Nashville (SCN) since 2016.  She applied to be a Student Ambassador to Caen, France and was accepted into the summer program.  She was an exemplary citizen diplomat while in Caen, according to the trip chaperone, as she participated in a two-week educational and cultural exchange. She was invited to join the Sister Cities Youth Advisory board, and since then, has hosted three students from Caen, France in successive years for two-week cultural exchanges, welcoming them into her home and her school community. She has also served as Volunteer Coordinator (2017-2018) and as President of Sister Cities of Nashville’s Youth Advisory Board (2018-2019), volunteered to help Sister Cities of Nashville as an intern in 2018, and spearheaded a volunteer initiative to support refugee children through Nation’s Ministries.

Over the years, that Olivia has been involved with Sister Cities of Nashville programs Olivia has always been the first one to volunteer to host incoming exchange students and has worked hard to recruit more volunteer hosts as well as being a voice in the community for Sister Cities. It has not only been Olivia’s volunteer work with Sister Cities of Nashville, it has been Olivia’s attitude and the approach she has brought to all of her work. Olivia approaches of her involvement with an extremely positive attitude, with energy and enthusiasm, and with creativity.

“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.