The original Chandler Sister Cities Committee, even in its informal stages, had long felt that Tullamore and Chandler would be a good “fit” for a Sister City relationship. Thomas Bracken, native of Tullamore and resident of Chandler, owns the Bracken School of Irish Dance, and hosted the Annual Feis in the Desert Dance Festival, which had been part of the Chandler cultural scene since its early days in the mid-‘90s. With over 400 Irish step-dancers from the United States, Canada and overseas, the event attracted over a 1,000 visitors to Chandler, and was highlighted as an integral part of Chandler’s Multi-Cultural Festival. As the event grew, so did the passion and desire to take our love of the Irish culture and opportunities for our Chandler community one step further.
A small group of citizens, including several from Tullamore, Ireland, met on both sides of “The Pond” in 2007-08. In June 2008, a formal presentation was made to the City of Chandler, which was approved. A delegation from Tullamore, including government officials and business representatives, came to Chandler, and the formal Sister City “twinning” was signed in February 2009. Our Mission Statement, “to cultivate and maintain a strong reciprocal relationship between the City of Chandler, Arizona, and Tullamore, Ireland, to encourage cultural understanding, community involvement, economic development, and educational exchanges,” encompasses the wishes of the Chandler-Tullamore Sister Cities (CTSC), a non-profit organization, to bring to fruition the first Sister City relationship to the City of Chandler. We are official members of Sister Cities International (SCI) and the Arizona Sister Cities.
Our efforts to “twin” the two cities began in economic times of uncertainty. But we believed, the City of Chandler believed, the Town of Tullamore believed, that this “twinning” would be a good investment for both communities. A Sister City relationship with Tullamore provides opportunities for officials and citizens to experience and explore the Irish culture through long-term community partnerships.
In February 2014, Chandler and Tullamore celebrated the five-year anniversary of the sister city relationship. Successes have included several business exchanges at the private and public levels over the years; the publication of a collaborative cookbook, “A Desert Fare,” between Sacred Heart School in Tullamore and Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler; many fund-raising events to support the Student Ambassador Exchanges (2 visits to Chandler and 2 visits to Tullamore); participation in the SCI Young Artists and Authors Showcase - resulting in 3 successive years of Grand Prize Winners at the national level; CTSC hosted the 2013 Annual Arizona Sister Cities Conference; and more. In addition, over three-fourths of the 400-500 Intel workers imported to work at the Chandler fabrication plant lived in Chandler from 2011-2012, creating an unexpected boon to the local economy.
We continue to explore opportunities and ways to share education, culture diversity, history and economic development. We are excited to experience the future relationships and where they might lead us!
Ellen Harrington, President
Carol Venberg, Vice President
Patricia Prior, Vice President
Paul McGowan, Tullamore Liaison
Leah Powell, City of Chandler Liaison
Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy. President Eisenhower envisioned an organization that could be the hub of peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world. By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts.
This has evolved into Sister Cities International, an organization based in Washington, DC. Over 900 cities, representing millions of Americans, have established links with counterparts around the world. Sister Cities International creates relationships based on cultural, educational, information and trade exchanges, creating lifelong friendships that provide prosperity and peace through person-to-person “citizen diplomacy.” Since its inception, Sister Cities International has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships.
Chandler-Tullamore Sister Cities is a member of Sister Cities International.