Media Contact: Cyncia Raymond, PIO
City of North Miami
305-893.6511 Ext. 12244
craymond@northmiamifl.gov

COUNCILWOMAN MARIE ERLANDE STERIL ELECTED TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SISTER CITIES INTERNATIONAL

North Miami, FL – 8/21/2014

Councilwoman Marie Erlande Steril was elected to the Board of Directors for Sister Cities International. The honor was bestowed on her during the 58th National Conference in San Jose, California on August 2, 2014. The city of North Miami has been an active member of Sister Cities International since 2007.   

Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy. The organization endeavors to advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development exchanges. It serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices in the field of citizen diplomacy. On March 25, 2008, the City of North Miami entered into a partnership with the City of Delmas, Haiti via the Sister Cities International program.  

In 2009, a Delmas delegation received training on the City of North Miami’s own disaster preparedness model, which follows the National Incident Management System (NIMS) model overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This training became invaluable in the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010. A follow up emergency recovery and Continuity of Operation Plan (COOP) workshop was coordinated for approximately 75 civil protection employees from four municipalities (Delmas, Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, and Tabarre) from July 10 through July 12, 2010, in the city of Delmas, Haiti.

In June 2012, through collaboration with Miami-Dade County and the city of Delmas, North Miami provided a five-day disaster preparedness training for approximately 200 participants in the city of Delmas.  Participants included police, civil protection employees, government staff, and elected officials, who were afforded the opportunity to learn from each other and share experiences. Through the close ties formed by participation in the Sister Cities International Program, emergency personnel throughout the country benefitted from this training.

Sister Cities International also promotes cultural exchanges which was demonstrated last October. In celebration of International Creole Month, Councilwoman Marie Erlande Steril hosted a forum at Johnson and Wales University that was designed to spark conversation and bring the community closer to bridging the generational gap amongst the Haitian Diaspora and the residents of North Miami. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Ambassador Daniel Supplice from the Republic of Haiti who was engaged by our contacts through the Sister Cities Program.   

This past March, Women’s History Month, when women from all walks of life are celebrated, Councilwoman Steril took the opportunity to include several women who’d made a difference in Delmas and the surrounding area. The ladies were recognized as goodwill ambassadors. This past May, hundreds of books and resource materials were collected to help stock Delmas’ new library and participate in an exchange of books with Delmas. North Miami provided books in English to the city of Delmas’ library and the city of North Miami received books in Creole and French.  

All these efforts and those to come are the manifestation of the original and expanding vision set forth by the Sister Cities International Program.
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