Aviles, in the northern province of Asturias, Spain, is one of four sister cities of St. Augustine; as well as the birthplace of the city’s founder — don Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
The year 2015 will mark the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine as a Spanish colony on September 8, 1565; making the city the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States. Menendez was 46 year-old at the time.
St. Augustine was the capitol of the only colony in the United States settled by people who spoke Spanish.
The US Sister Cities program traces its roots to 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a People-to-People citizen diplomacy initiative. For almost 50 years, Sister Cities has empowered citizen diplomats as they engage in meaningful international exchange programs.
St. Augustine has a very active chapter of Sister Cities International and maintains relationships with four cities:
Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional;Dominican Republic
Through those relationships, St. Augustine participates in projects that include everything from municipal training and community problem solving, to exchanges of media managers, thematic youth exchanges and professional internships focused on a volunteerism, aging, healthcare, public safety, the environment.
If you would like more information about the St. Augustine chapter of Sisters Cities International, call the Department of Public Affairs at 904.825.1004.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer