Long Beach celebrates its Sister Cities with cultural performances, music, food and more

City leaders and community members gathered earlier this week to enjoy food, music, performances and more to celebrate Long Beach’s cultural diversity — and, in particular, its partnerships with sister cities around the world.

The city and the Long Beach Sister Cities Association held the celebration on Tuesday, June 4, in the Civic Center Plaza, aimed ait honoring the connection between Long Beach and its seven sister cities, officials said.

Sister Cities of Long Beach is a nonprofit established in 1963 to foster international relationships, and cultural and educational exchanges, and to promote international trade between , according to the organization’s website.

Long Beach Sister Cities tries to bring the world to Long Beach and bring Long Beach to the world, said President Susan Redfield.

The inaugural “Long Beach Welcomes Our Sister Cities of the World” had information booths, cultural cuisine and performances from the sister cities.

Long Beach’s sister cities include Yokkaichi, Japan – which was the city’s first sister city. The two cities celebrated 60 years of friendship last year.

Other cities include Qingdao, China; Mombasa, Kenya; Taoyuan, Taiwan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Sochi, Russia; and Bacolod, Philippines.

During Tuesday’s event, informative booths provided insights into the sister cities’ respective cultures, history and customs to help foster cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in interactive activities and watch performances that reflected the essence and spirit of Long Beach’s sister cities, including Chinese face changing, Japanese Taiko drumming, Cambodian cultural dances, Russian singing and guitar performances, and Kenyan drumming.

There were also complimentary cuisines from Kenya, China, Russia and Taiwan that guests were able to taste.

Following the festivities, the City Council recognized Sister Cities of Long Beach during its meeting, demonstrating the town’s commitment to promoting global connections and celebrating cultural diversity, officials said.

The organization has three core focus areas: student international and cultural exchanges, collaborative cultural programs, and shaping official international diplomatic meetings.

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