Sister City Partnerships

TEP helps to establish and support Sister City Partnerships between China and the UK, leading to increased cultural awareness, the sharing of valuable ideas and resources and life-changing educational programmes. Find out how you could set up a Sister Partnership for your region.

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UK & China Sister City Partnerships

The UK and China have a long history of engagement and are now entering a ‘golden era’ of deepening relations between the two countries.

British cities have historically created twinning partnerships with Chinese cities as a means to develop economic relations. This was met with enthusiasm from Chinese city governments, as China’s lack of know-how in certain areas like green technologies put its cities in need of twinning partners.

The China International Friendship Cities Association counts 52 formal Sister City Partnerships between Chinese and British cities. Many of these are supported by True Education Partnerships, who work to strengthen these ties by organising Council Delegation visits and Sister School Partnerships between cities.

What Does it Mean to Be a Sister City?

Sister cities are the affectionately named agreements between certain towns, cities, provinces or in some cases, countries across the globe.

In each case the cities have come to an agreement or partnership – some of which are legally binding; others merely symbolic and social. This voluntary forging of ties helps encourage cultural understanding, friendship and exchange, as well as trade agreements and business partnerships between the two cities.

The sister city relationship has been hugely beneficial for creating a deeper understanding between Chinese and British cultures. Educational exchanges have proven to be a particularly popular means of intercity collaborations; for example, Cardiff becoming twinned with Xiamen led to the establishment of the Cardiff Confucius Institute, which now offers Chinese lessons and exchange programmes with Xiamen University.

Through these sister city links, TEP has been able to successfully create numerous Sister School Partnerships, offering life-changing experiences such as school visits to China, student hosting and school-to-school joint projects.

Benefits of a Sister City Partnership

Partnering with a Chinese city has significant measurable benefits such as:

 

  • Increased city-wide cultural awareness
  • Educational partnerships and developments, including joint research and teaching programmes
  • An influx of business, tourism & trade
  • Sharing of valuable resources and approaches in business, education, culture & technologies
  • Raising the international profile of cities
  • Showcasing local government achievements
  • More investment in the local economy.

The Sister City Partnership Process

Partnership Initiation

We plan and launch Council Delegation visits to establish Sister City Partnerships between councils in the UK and China.

Economic Impact

A Sister City Partnership can encourage inward investment and has many bilateral benefits that make a significant economic impact.

Partnership Support

We support existing Sister City Partnerships between the UK and China through business, education and sport.

Education Opportunity

We invite schools to be part of rewarding Sister School Partnerships, which have mutual student benefits for both the UK & China.

Sister City FAQs

How do you become a sister city?

True Education Partnerships organises regular Council Delegation visits to Chinese cities, to establish Sister City Partnerships between the UK and China. If you’re interested in participating in one of these visits or would simply like learn more, contact our team.

How does True Education support the process?

  • We contact local government authorities in China on your behalf.
  • We organise the trips to and from China with detailed itineraries.
  • We have the Visa expertise and organise the process for you.
  • We support you with continued and regular communications and translations
  • We compile Risk Assessments and help you comply with required  local authority documentation.

Once a partnership has been established, TEP supports relationships between the UK and China through various programmes in business, education and sport. We also support pre-existing twin city links that were not instigated by us.

How else can I support my region's links with China?

If you’re keen to support an existing partnership between your council and China, or indeed strengthen your region’s links without setting up a formal partnership, we can help. We run a variety of immersive educational experiences for students and schools – visit our School Programmes page to find out more.