Raleigh Sister Cities

The RSC goal is to enable the citizens of Raleigh and the residents of its Sister Cities to exchange ideas and experiences in the areas of education, culture, sports, the arts, business, and economic development, and to promote exchanges between the cities and their citizens.

Raleigh became associated with the Sister Cities program in 1986 and now has partnerships with five cities: Kingston Upon Hull, England; Compiegne, France; Rostock, Germany; Xiangyang, China and Nairobi, Kenya.

Interested in serving?

If you would like to be considered for service for Sister Cities joint board, please complete this online interest form.


RSC is a volunteer driven non-profit 501(c)3 organization that supports its programs with donations and grants. RSC is governed by a Board of Directors elected by its membership. Board meetings are held regularly, and general members are welcome to attend. Membership is open to all who are interested in promoting and fostering the aims of the organization.  Raleigh Sister Cities also collaborates with the City of Raleigh to engage citizens in the organization’s programs. Raleigh Sister Cities current president is Marlene Millemaci. 

Current Projects

Current projects include cultural, sporting, and student exchanges, economic and community health projects as well as other events in Raleigh and its Sister Cities. The programs, which are organized by Raleigh Sister Cities’ members, seek to broaden understanding and friendship between Sister City communities and their citizens. Raleigh Sister Cities was instrumental in establishing the International Festival held annually in Downtown Raleigh.



Kingston Upon Hull, England

Raleigh’s first Sister City was established on October 3, 1986.

Where is it?
The City of Hull is on the eastern side of the U.K.  It is located at the mouth of the River Hull, on the Humber Estuary, midway between London and Edinburgh.

What are the partnership activities and opportunities?
Many exchanges have taken place between the two cities with an emphasis on reciprocal home stays. As Raleigh Sister Cities renews its relationship with Hull, Raleigh participated in Hull’s City of Culture Celebration in 2017.

A little more about it…
In 1293 King Edward made Hull his northern base and supply port. Six years later he granted its first Royal Charter. Historic and modern Hull boasts of its museums, marinas, and the Old Town conservation area, as well as its factories, offices, and shops. Hull is the home of the scenic Queens Gardens and the Humber Bridge, one of the world’s longest single span suspension bridges.

A Music and Performance Arts Festival called the Freedom Festival is held in Hull each year. The eclectic mix of entertainment welcomes a varied audience to experience music, dance, art, street theater and entertainment from across Europe. Named the UK City of Culture for 2017, Hull hosted an unmatched collection of art and cultural events. The City of Culture website describes the destination:

“Yorkshire’s only maritime city, Hull is a place shaped by the tides and the seasons where east meets west, north meets south, island meets mainland. To some, the city is seen as isolated or on the edge, but in reality it has been at the centre of major trade routes, migration and enlightened thinking for centuries. Today, it is the UK’s front door, a city at the heart of northern Europe, with a major ferry link to Rotterdam and pole position on the E20 trans-Europe route from St Petersburg to Limerick.”

“It is quirky and irreverent and different from any other British city – It has a willful independence because it is on the edge of the earth.” - Rosie Millard, The Daily Telegraph

Compiegne, France

Raleigh’s second Sister City was established in July 1989. 

Where is it?
Compiegne is less than an hour northeast of Paris at the edge of France’s most beautiful national forest.

What are the partnership activities and opportunities?
Numerous school exchanges have highlighted the relationship between Raleigh and Compiegne. Our partnership has also included visits by Raleigh performing groups like Theater in the Park, the Raleigh City Symphony, N.C. State University Chamber Singers, and the Raleigh Boys’ Choir. In recent years there have been exchange visits involving cyclists, tennis players, and golf enthusiasts. The summer of 2014 brought a visit from the Mayor of Compiegne to our city, and an opportunity for Compiegne golfers to host Raleigh visitors for a variety of experiences and relationship building. Additionally, secondary school exchange programs ran in 2015-16 as a collaboration between Compiegne’s University of Technology and NCSU.

A little more about it…
Compiegne’s history includes the site of the capture of Joan of Arc and a magnificent Chateau that was home to “the hunt” during the reign of Loius XV. The city was also the site of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on November 11, 1918. Since 2008, Raleigh Sister Cities has joined with the ROTC units at NCSU in commemorating the anniversary of Armistice Day with a daybreak ceremony at the NCSU Bell Tower, drawing hundreds of students and Raleigh citizens. The Bell Tower was built as a memorial to the 35 members of the NCSU community who lost their lives in France during WWI. Some years there has been an 11 a.m. Armistice Day ceremony in Compiegne Park in Raleigh. There is also a Raleigh Roundabout in Compiegne.

Compiegne’s old-growth beech and oak groves make up one of the most beautiful forests of France. An extensive network of bike paths and more than 1,000 km of forest trails and roads crisscross this large forest. Since 1968, Compiegne has been the start city of the famous Paris-Roubaix bicycle race. Compiegne is also home to the University of Technology of Compiegne, an engineering school founded in the mid-1970s to provide an alternative to the traditional “grandes écoles” for students interested in technical fields.

“The people are as charming as the town itself and represent the best values of the Sister Cities program – citizen to citizen friendship that can lead to a lasting peace in the world.” - Gretchen Chapman, Chair of the Compiegne Committee

Rostock, Germany

Raleigh’s third Sister City was established June 2001.

Where is it?
Rostock is the gateway to northern Europe on the banks of the River Warnow, two hours by car north of Berlin.

What are the partnership activities and opportunities?
This partnership has featured exchanges between scientific groups associated with universities in each city and with high school students, such as N.B. Broughton High School’s exchange with Erasmus Gymnasium since 2005. The Sister Cities’ Rostock Committee has also organized special dinners at Capital Club 16 in downtown Raleigh and plans to hold a family-friendly Quiz Bowl night for German enthusiasts this year.

A little more about it…
This city is home to the oldest university in continental northern Europe, The University of Rostock, founded in 1419. It also has a substantial commercial ship building industry and a history of port life as part of the Hanseatic City Ring on the Baltic Sea. The harbor invites visitors to linger and connects Rostock to Scandinavia and the eastern countries bordering on the Baltic. The city is home to the annual Hanse Sail festival, when many large sailing ships and museum vessels are brought out to sea.

Its location near the Baltic coast makes Rostock one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Germany. The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research touts the slogan widely heard in Rostock:

“We live where other people go on vacation.”

Xiangyang, China

Raleigh’s fourth Sister City was established November 2008.

Where is it?
The City of Xiangyang is in the Hubei Province in eastern China.

What are the partnership activities and opportunities?
Our cities have engaged in numerous education, business and economic exchanges since 2008. In 2012, Xiangyang, Raleigh and Osogbo, Nigeria, began establishing public health centers in the African city as part of the Sister Cities International-funded Sino-African Initiative. The cities will continue to focus on collaboration in education and the high-tech industry. A trip to Xiangyang is planned for September 2014 to strengthen economic and educational partnerships.

A little more about it…
Xiangyang was first built during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) and has a long history. The city is divided by the Han River, which runs through its heart and divides the city north-south. The city itself is an incorporation of two once separate, ancient cities: Fancheng and Ziangzhou. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, the old city was built up to be even more spectacular. Golden tiles and colored glazes made the city wall shine in the sunlight and reflect imposingly in the surrounding moat. Today, remnants of the city wall of ancient Xiangyang City are all that remains of the Ming Dynasty.

The city’s reputation is also established on its time-honored function as a transportation center, enabling the commercial and cultural exchanges of North and South China. In 2014, Raleigh and Xiangyang won Sister Cities International’s United States-China Sister Cities Award in the “Most Innovative” category. Raleigh’s Mayor Nancy McFarlane reflected on the partnership in The Carolinian News:

“We’re very pleased to receive this international recognition of the innovative accomplishments of Raleigh and Xiangyang, its sister city. The Sister City program has proved its value many times over.”

Nairobi, Kenya

Raleigh’s fifth Sister City was established 2012.

Where is it?
Located in East Africa, Nairobi lies on the Nairobi River in the south of Kenya. Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and surrounding area also form the Nairobi County.

What are the partnership activities and opportunities?
Over the past decade, many Americans of Kenyan decent have made their home in Raleigh and the Triangle. In 2009, Nobel Prize winner and Nairobi resident, Professor Wangari Mathaai spoke to the student and faculty of Meredith College in a tree planting on their campus, symbolizing the lasting importance of environmental stewardship worldwide. In May 2014, Dr. Susan Mboya-Kidero, wife of Nairobi’s Governor, met with Raleigh Sister Cities’ Nairobi Committee to plan educational and performing arts exchanges between our cities. Plans are underway to partner with Mama Africa to produce an Africa culture festival and to organize a soccer delegation to play in Raleigh’s European Sister Cities.

A little more about it…
Nairobi is surrounded by 70 square miles of plains, cliffs, and forest that make up Nairobi National Park. The city’s name comes from the Maasai phrase ‘Enkare Nyrobi’, which translates to “cool water.” The area Nairobi currently occupies was uninhabited swamp until a supply depot of the Uganda Railway was built by the British in 1899 linking Mombasa to Uganda. Nairobi was incorporated in 1900 and in 1905, replaced Mombasa as capital. Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963. In 2013, Nairobi City Council became “Nairobi City County.”

Like Raleigh, Nairobi is home to several institutions of high learning. As Raleigh is hailed for its leadership in sustainability, Nairobi is home of the United Nations’ Environmental Program. Nairobi is renowned in East and Central Africa for its dense tree-cover, plethora of green spaces, and plentiful parks. Nairobi is also the focus of the textile industry in Africa.

“Nairobi is a city full of contrasts. It’s old enough so you can feel its past and multi-ethnic enough so you can experience Kenyan culture, yet it’s modern enough to get Internet access. It’s a city that blends people from all cultures and walks of life.” -The Kenya Information Guide

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