Grand Forks established a sister city exchange program in 1984 with Ishim, Russia. At this time, Russia was part of the Soviet Union, and it was thought that such a formal exchange of information would help foster good relations between the two countries. While exchanges of information and materials did take place, visits did not occur until 1990, the year before the breakdown of the Soviet Union. After about fifteen years, this exchange was suspended.
In 1999, Grand Forks formalized a sister city relationship with Awano, Japan. This relationship was the culmination of a homestay program, established in 1993, with visits by teachers and students between the two communities. One lasting reminder of the sister city program with Awano is the Japanese garden in Sertoma Park. This sister city relationship ended when Awano was annexed by a nearby, larger city.
Exchanges between community leaders of Grand Forks and Sarpsborg, Norway, developed into a sister city agreement in October, 2005. Various visits and tours have taken place since this relationship was formalized. Given the significant Norwegian-American heritage of the Grand Forks community and surrounding area, supported by exchanges of students and professors of the University of North Dakota with institutions in Norway, this sister city agreement will probably be long-lived.
Donation; 92-1843 and 2012-3201
Additional materials received by Peg O'Leary, Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission, in January 2014 (2014-3249)
President's Office Records; UA 43 - Box 85, Folder 2 (Awano, Japan-Sister City 2000)
Center For Teaching and Learning, Dean Vito Perrone Records; UA 57 - Box 24, Folder 20 (Mayor's Task Force on Nuclear War - Sister City Program)
Center For Peace Studies Records; UA 87 - Box 23, Folder 9 (Sister City- Ishim)