Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association
Testimonials from Past Trio Ambassadors and Their Parents
2009 Trio Student Delegate
Lasting Friendship with My Host Family
Being part of the 2009 Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Trio Program was such a humbling and eye-opening experience. As it was my first time traveling without my parents, I learned how to adapt and be more independent.
With Japan’s welcoming culture, it was easy to integrate and communicate with the people and community. Currently, I am striving to work for a company to do business internationally.
Without this trip, I would not have been able to be submerged into the Japanese traditions and environment. The greatest experience was being able to build lasting friendships with my host families. We still keep in touch and they are welcome to stay in my home anytime they visit Long Beach. It is incredible to see how this program has touched so many lives and hearts. Cheers to the 50th anniversary of this Trio program! I hope the longevity of this program may continue to thrive.
Bill Chow, Father of Faustine Chow, 2009 Trio Student Delegate
The Long Beach-Yokkaichi Trio program has provided a once-in-a life-time, mind opening experience for my daughter, Faustine, as she’s encountered people from the other part of the world who are well disciplined, hard-working, dedicated, honest and friendly. She has also gained an in-depth knowledge towards the understanding of the way of life and tradition of the Japanese counterpart.
Gage Hulsey, 2009 Trio Student Delegate
This year has been by far the greatest of my life so far. We thank you for all your hard work and for the effort you put into the program to make it wonderful. We have built an extraordinary bridge and I want to do my best to maintain it with everyone. I am really looking forward to meeting next years' trio from Yokkaichi.///
Parent of Samantha Lieberman, 2009 Trio Student Delegate
June 10, 2010
“The Legacy of the Long Beach Yokkaichi Sister City Organization”
Diplomacy… The word conjures up images of very formal and stilted meetings across large shiny tables by representatives of countries so foreign to each other, they don’t even speak the same language… Yet they are there, in theory, to achieve some mutual goal, whether it be a multi-million dollar trade agreement or a cease fire to a war upon which the true cost is immeasurable, as the tender is in human lives.
The dictionary defines diplomacy as a noun being “the management of communication and relationships between nations by members of each nation’s government”.
Very grand… and very static.
However, diplomacy is also defined as a skill in managing those communications and relationships, both in terms of nations and where it really starts… with individual people and their feelings.
In a word… Diplomacy is tact.
And tact… is understanding.
When you understand the culture and the belief system of the person sitting across that large, imposing table from you, you begin to build a bridge… a bridge whose struts and supports are built on shared interpersonal experiences and mutual respect.
And the best way to truly understand a culture and belief system that is vastly different than your own is to experience it first-hand.
That is what the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Organization gave my daughter last year when they sponsored her to attend the Environmental Summit in Yokkaichi City, Japan.
Samantha, and the three other high-school aged ambassadors were plunged into a culture and environment very different than their own and were challenged to create a cohesive and meaningful audio/visual presentation highlighting their suggestions to reduce global warming and help the environment…. And they achieved that…with four other high school aged ambassadors… from Japan… who didn’t speak English.
I know from my work experience, it’s hard enough to get a group of that many people to work as a productive team…even when they all speak the same language!
But what made it work was their ability to find the commonality of their singular purpose… the language and cultural issues were quickly overcome. As they shared their questions and concerns with each other, their insight and level of understanding of each other grew. All the while, the primary goal… a jointly conceived and mutually instituted plan to improve our environment was evolving.
When you give children the opportunity to embrace other cultures and practice the “art of diplomacy” at a young age… as with any other skill… it becomes honed over time. And given the inter-dependence of our global community, the future of all nations will rest squarely on those who have mastered the understanding of cultures beyond their own. We owe it to ourselves to maintain programs such as the Sister City organization, as the seeds it is planting today, will bear so much that will benefit our global future.