Sister Cities Program

Site Navigation

About Us


Sister CitesIn order to truly make Detroit a globally recognized entity, Detroit must align itself with cities and countries of like vision, size, structure, and industry.  A perfect mechanism to establish Detroit as a global entity is the Sister Cities Program. 

A Brief History of Detroit’s Sister Cities Relationships
  • First relationship established in 1960 with Toyota City, Japan.
  • Newest relationship with Dubai Municipality was established in 2002.

Toyota City, Japan

  • Toyota City is Detroit’s most active sister city relationship, dating back to September 1960.  In 1965, the city of Detroit and Toyota established an annual student exchange program.  The exchange provides students from both countries the opportunity to experience the lifestyles and culture of their sister city counterparts while cultivating cultural and ethnic tolerance.  Detroit high school students visit Toyota one year, while Toyota high school students visit Detroit the following year. 
  • To learn more on how you can participate as a host family or as an exchange student, please call (313) 224-3757.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • As the central port to North Africa and the Middle East, Dubai is uniquely situated as the hub of major trade efforts in that region of the world similarly to Detroit’s unique placement on the Detroit River and as a major entry and exit point for trade between the United States and Canada.  Because of this and the Detroit region being home to the largest population of Arabs outside of the Middle East, the two cities have become sister cities to forge partnerships and alliances between two very different worlds.
  • Solidified in 2003 during the Arab Economic Summit, the relationship between the City of Detroit and Dubai Municipality has yielded several visits between the two cities and Detroit’s participation in the Dubai Sister Cities Forum. The affiliation is a tool to showcase Detroit to the world.
The City of Detroit has formal sister city relationships with five other municipalities:
  • Turin, Italy
  • Minsk, Belarus
  • Kitwe, Zambia
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Chonqing, China

As the City of Detroit develops its Sister Cities relationships, potential partnerships will range from peer relationships to mentors for the city of Detroit.  It is important that all relationships have the potential to be sustained in years to come.

The selection criteria will focus on key factors inclusive of population size and density, economic development opportunities, other strategic alliances, and the municipalities’ growth strategy.

It is recommended that new relationships be established with cities that can strategically provide a mutually beneficial relationship focused on economic development, cultural exchange, and targeted business opportunities for Detroit-based and headquartered companies.  Additionally, it is important that each of the proposed relationships be measured and evaluated using the established criteria and overall economic impact on the city of Detroit.

Sister Cities International

Toyota City Homepage