Community / Youth Engagement

Category Entered Category No. 1 | Community Engagement
Category Entered Category No. 2 | Youth Engagement
Entrant Name Cairns Regional Council
Name of Project Sister Cities Youth Ambassadors Program
Date of Project 30 July – 8 August 2014
Participating Sister City Oyama, Japan; Minami, Japan; Zhanjiang, China; Sidney, Canada;
Scottsdale, USA; Riga, Latvia; and Lae, Papua New Guinea.


Project Summary:


The exchange program aim was to promote international understanding and friendship, and to introduce Cairns as a student friendly city. As participants were learning, they taught the people they met about their country, their culture, and their ideas. They became Youth Ambassadors, helping to bring the world closer together and making some good friends in the process.

Young representatives of Cairns’ Sister Cities enjoyed a taste of life in Cairns, thanks to the Sister Cities Youth Ambassador program. The young ambassadors experienced some of Cairns’ favourite attractions during their 10-day visit.

The program invited two students chosen by their respective local governments in:

Zhanjiang, China; Oyama City, Japan; Minami Town, Japan; Riga, Latvia; Sidney, Canada; and Scottsdale, USA to visit Cairns from 2 – 11 August 2014.

The students were aged 15 to 17 years, and some spoke basic English. Students were hosted by a family and attended a secondary school with a local student of the same age to act as their “buddy”. On the weekend of their arrival, the students attended an orientation and toured the city of Cairns. During the following weekend students visited the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Marine Park and other popular tourist destinations.

Details of the influence of the project on the Community, also the impact on economic and social development.

Through the Multicultural Advisory Committee, community groups were able to provide support to the visiting ambassadors from their own cultural background and increase the wider communities awareness of the sister cities program. By raising awareness that partnerships with sister cities is not exclusive to local governments and CALD committees, but is open to all communities.

This had a positive impact and was very tangible by the increased requests of visiting community members from the various cities, and the increased demand by sister cities for visiting programs. This has seen an increase in requests to use our model to execute similar programs throughout the region. Partnering schools The Sister Cities Advisory Committee appreciates the contribution of participating schools who welcomed students from the program to attend their school for five days. This allowed the students to experience school life in Australia and promote Cairns as a student-friendly destination.

Beijing Classroom for Oxley Teacher

Beijing Calling…

A young Oxley High school teacher is going on an in-service of a life time. Dominique Smit a language teacher from Oxley High School has been invited by the Chaoyang District Government in Beijing to attend the International Chinese Teachers Workshop in Beijing in July. The workshop will last for 21 days and will cover such diverse topics as Basic Mandarin, visit to the Confucius Institute, Introduction to Chinese Art, Music and Culture, paper cutting, dumpling making, visit to Beijing Municipal government, Pottery, Kongfu as well lectures on Chinese History and visits to historic places such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. All the workshops will be conducted by relevant professors from the Beijing Normal University.

The invitation to attend the workshops arose from the strong sister city relationship that Tamworth has with the Chaoyang District Government in Beijing. It comes quickly on the heels of a month long exchange visit by a teacher and three students from the Beijing Culture and Arts Vocational High school in Chaoyang District to Oxley High in Tamworth last month. The invitation to the workshops came as a surprise to the Tamworth Sister City Committee and Oxley High School. The school only had two days with which to nominate a teacher. The offer to attend the workshops was very generous as it covered all expenses for the 21 days in Beijing while at the workshops. This includes all meals, accommodation and travel expenses within the city.

The Oxley Parents and Citizens very generously donated the international airfare in order to allow Dominique to attend this esteemed workshop. Mr Michael O’Connor, the President of the Oxley Parents and Citizens stated “it as a great opportunity to expand the knowledge base of the school’s teachers which will only benefit our students.” Dominique is very excited about the opportunity that has been offered to her. She has never been to China and is eagerly looking forward to learning about their culture and language in order to use it in her teaching at Oxley.

Oxley has had a long relationship of exchanges with their sister school in Beijing. Tamworth Regional Council has a strong relationship with Chaoyang District and this is the only reason such an generous offer has been offered to a teacher from this city, commented John Green, the Chairperson of the Council’s Community Sister City Committee. Without such a strong relationship such a fantastic offer would never have been possible. Dominique will be the only Australian teacher at the International workshops.

In supporting the visit by Ms Smit Tamworth Regional Council Mayor, Col Murray said it was gratifying to see Tamworth Regional Council’s Sister City relationship with Chaoyang District bring tangible benefits for the community.`The workshop invitation is an example of how the Sister City program goes beyond international friendship. It actually creates to business and educational opportunities from which the whole community can benefit,’ Cr Murray said.