Sister City

Whittier, California

Sister City Program

Changshu, China


Whittier City Hall

Changshu Square


Why a Sister City?

As the world becomes smaller, communities and individuals are facing opportunities and challenges that increasingly require a global perspective.  They are realizing the importance of forming international partnerships that foster economic development, cross-cultural exchange, and global cooperation.

A Sister City Program enables the citizens of both communities to become directly  involved in international relations in unique and rewarding exchanges, which benefits all those involved.  It enables all who participate to:

  • Exchange ideas and develop friendships with their counterparts in another culture on a personal basis.
  • Establish an identity as members of the global family involved in the constructive process of building world peace.
  • Develop a way for the diverse elements of each community to come together to enjoy and profit from a cooperative program.
  • Open new dialogues with the people of another culture to find unique solutions to improving the quality of life of all citizens.
  • Participate in a program with a real partner in another country so all members of the community can feel they are contributing in a direct personal way.
  • Better understand their own community by sharing their way of life with the people of another culture.

Getting to know Changshu

Whittier's frist connection with Changshu began in 1994, when the Whittier City Council received an invitation from Changshu city officials to create a Sister City relationship between the two municipalities.  Changshu, a city in the People's Republic of China, has a population of 1.4 million, a new, state-of-the-art seaport, a thriving economy, a well-regarded university, a modern athletic complex and a bright future.  Founded in 283 A.D., Changshu is located on the Changjian River, northwest of Shanghai.  Changshu, which means, "always harvest," has an ancient agricultural tradition.  The area's  rich soil produces rice, wheat, cotton, tea and mushrooms for both domestic and export use.  In more recent years, the Changshu's textile, electronics, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries have promoted the city's growth.

With its relationship with Changshu, Whittier joined more than 1,500 U.S. cities and nearly 2,000 international cities in the Sister City Program, which began in 1956 as a people-to people approach to world peace.  The Whittier Sister City Committee is an official Whittier advisory board, whose members are volunteers who serve at the pleasure of the City Council.  Members are individuals who live, work or have a vested interest in Whittier and who are interested in international, cross-cultural exchanges.

The Committee meets bi-annually at 5 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month.

Sister City Committee

Chair Hannah Pastrano
Vice Chair Teresa Dreyfuss
Julie Huang
Carol Rice
Norma Rodriguez
Irella Perez
Caroline Medrano

The Whittier Sister City Committee continues its goal of promoting the Sister City Program by hosing periodic visits by delegations from Changshu and coordinating cultural, economic, and education exchanges between the two cities. 

Here are some delegation visits, Chinese New Year celebrations and Pen pal exchanges;

2015 Changshu Delegation visit to Whittier City Hall

2015 Changshu Delegation visit to Whittier Council Chambers

2015 Changshu Delegation visit to Whittier Council Chambers

2011 Changshu Deligation visit to Whittier City Hall

2011 Changshu Deligation visit to Whittier Police Department

2011 Changshu Deligation visit to Whittier Police Memorial




2011 Chinese New Year Celebration Sister City Committee & City of Whittier’s WYN Club Family Night


2009-2010 Pen Pal Program

The Sister City Committee established a Pen Pal Program between the high school students from the surrounding Whittier school districts and students in Changshu. The Changshu Delegation that visited during the summer of 2009 were eager to start a program with high school students during the 2009-10 school year.

To view a few of their letters, click here.





2009 Changshu Delegation visit to Whittier City Hall, exchanging gifts and 'Peace Pole' Ribbon Cutting.


2005 Whittier Delegation to Changshu, China