Monday, May 23, 2022

Southlake Sister Cities Brings Russian History to Southlake

Southlake Sister Cities is hosting a free history lecture on Russian history. Come and enjoy some traditional Russian snacks and learn more about Russia from Dr. Dan Orlovsky.

When: September 14 at 7:00 PM
Where: 3rd Floor, Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main Street, Southlake, TX

Southlake Sister Cities is about fostering understanding and acceptance across many cultures through personal experiences. “We picked Dr. Orlovsky because he is a professor of Russian studies at SMU (Southern Methodist University), and he focuses on the middle working class people of Russia rather than just the history of the country,” says Katy Hintze, vice president for the Southlake Sister Cities.

Dr. Dan Orlovsky is a professor and George Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies at SMU. He is a specialist in the history of Provisional Government after the February Revolution of 1917, and he continues to study the history of a much understudied hidden class of Soviet citizens, people who were neither workers nor peasants, the white collar “employees” of the Soviet Union between 1918 and 1956. Dr. Orlovsky travels annually to Moscow to work in the trade union, Communist Party and state bureaucracy archives in pursuit of this hidden class.

This is the third speaker Sister Cities has brought to Southlake. Past lectures included a speaker from China and a speaker from Germany.  Southlake Sister Cities creates such events to help educate the community about other cultures and to create understanding.

Learn more about Sister Cities at

Southlake Sister Cities Seeks Youth Ambassadors for Trips to China and Japan

As the saying goes, friendship knows no distance. This is certainly the case for Southlake and Suzhou Wuzhong District, China. Although thousands of miles and an ocean apart, the two cities signed a Friendship City agreement in November 2010 to develop a reciprocal relationship and promote cultural exchanges. Operating under the same guidelines as the Sister City relationships Southlake has with Tome in Japan and El Fuerte in Mexico, the term Friendship City is used in China.

As part of the Friendship City agreement, the first Southlake youth ambassador exchange trip is planned March 8-15, 2013, during Carroll ISD’s Spring Break. A life changing event, students and chaperones are paired with Wuzhong host families during their stay to experience first-hand the Chinese culture. In addition, a well-planned itinerary combines historical, educational, and cultural activities:

  • Visit beautiful Suzhou City, known as “Venice of the East” and “City of Gardens”
  • Explore historical sites that carry more than 2,500 years of rich cultural heritage
  • Interact with students and faculty at Jiangsu Foreign Language School
  • Tour the magnificent city of Shanghai

The approximate cost of the trip is $2000 per person (including airfare) and applications, available online, in the Southlake Public Library, or the Community Services Department must be submitted by December 15. To qualify as a youth ambassador, students must be a resident of Southlake or current member of Southlake Sister Cities; between 15-18 years of age (at the time trip begins); submit a recommendation from a teacher or counselor; and attend mandatory orientation(s) prior to the trip.

According to Candice Edmondson, the City’s staff liaison to Southlake Sister Cities, being a youth ambassador means representing Southlake and the United States.

“Being a youth ambassador to another country is a huge honor. We want to instill in the kids that they are representing their school, community and country,” she said.

Plans for the youth ambassador trip have been in the works for awhile. An adult delegation, including Southlake City Council Member Jeff Wang, who is also president of Southlake Sister Cities, visited the Wuzhong District of Suzhou, China in November 2011 to speak with local government and school officials about youth delegations visiting both countries. The hope is to make these trips an annual occurrence.

Suzhou, which has a population of more than six million, is a cultural city with a history spanning 2,500 years. It is located at the entrance of the Yangtze River Delta in China. With a network of rivers and canals as well as fertile land, the city is rich in a variety of agricultural products. Suzhou has been referred to as the “City of Gardens,” “Land of Fish and Rice,” “Silk Capital” and “Paradise on Earth.” Aside from its beauty, Suzhou is also an economic powerhouse— ranked first for contracted foreign capital and fourth in total import/export volume in China. Wuzhong District (pop. 600,000) enjoys a history of well developed culture, picturesque landscape and is the cradle land of ancient Wu Culture.

Southlake Sister Cities is also accepting applications for its annual youth delegation trip to Tome, Japan, which has been a Sister City since 1991. Each summer, a group of Southlake students and chaperone(s) head to the Far East for a once-in-a-lifetime Japanese experience. After arriving in Tokyo and then a bullet train ride to Tome, they are paired with host families for their week-long stay. In addition to experiencing Japanese culture, customs and cuisine first-hand, the host families escort the youth ambassadors to many places in Tome, known for its samurai history, as well as scenic Matsushima.

Tome is located in the northeast part of the Miyagi Prefecture with a population of approximately 91,905 residents. Tome was originally a district that consisted of eight towns, including Southlake’s original Sister City, Toyoma. In April 2005, the towns merged with the town of Tsuyama, formerly of the Motoyoshi District, to form the new city of Tome.

Southlake Sister Cities (SSC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering global understanding, friendship and communication through education and exchanges. Membership is open to individuals, youth, families, non-profit/civic organizations, for profit businesses, and patrons.  For more information, go to

Southlake Sister Cities Accepting Travel Applications

Southlake Sisters Cities organization is part of the Sister Cities International offering several programs which include Youth Embassador Program. Youth Embassador Program offers students opportunities to get involved in the community and sister city communities.

In the past SSC has offered annual trips to sister city Tome, Japan to Southlake students. The students traveled to amazing locations and learned the local culture and people. They experienced every life in a home-stay environment. Many students enjoyed the experience they made more than on trip.

Adding to SSC’s annual trip to Tome, will be to Suzhou, China. Suzhou is SSC’s new sister city which was established in 2010. SSC offers a wonderful experience and exciting way to learn about China. Aside from visiting ancient and exotic locations in China, our students will  experience the everyday life of Chinese people, their food, and practice language skills.The trip is a week long starting Friday, Mar. 8- 15, 2013. Applications are being accepted through Saturday, December 16. Chaperones will be determined by SSC, City of Southlake and/or Carroll ISD. Visit to apply.