This story relates the origins of the Crescent City, California, USA - Rikuzentakata, Japan Sister City relationship.
A little over two years after the 2011 earthquake triggered the tsunami/nuclear catastrophe in Northern Japan, a lone boat washed up on the beach in Crescent City, California, the Tsunami Capital of the United States, April 7th, 2013.
Several local high school students found the boat imbedded in a kelp bed and discovered identifying Japanese markings. With the help of a school professor, the students refurbished the boat, identified the name of the boat, the its school and the town of origin as Rikuzentakata, Japan.
A local philanthropist arranged for the student delegation to escort and return the boat. This student to student introduction was the impetus for the establishment of a formal sister city relationship these two communities sharing common natural disaster phenomenon.
Since 2015, Crescent City and Rikuzentakata have annual student and municipal exchanges. This deepening relationship was generated arts, cultural and sports activities, shared city resiliency best practices, penpal and school competitions, and some innovative business and economic development joint projects. The most creative of these is a joint micro brewery brand, SeaQuake Brewing.
In 1956, President Eisenhower founded the modern day Sister City Movement at a White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy from his conviction that national governments can only create the conditions for peace. True peace will only be achieved through people to people and sustained community to community connection based on mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.
The Crescent City, California, USA and Rikuzentakata, Japan sister city relationship exemplify the spirit of true citizen diplomacy.