"One World" International Awards

The Sister Cities Association of Sarasota will present its coveted “One World” International Award to two area “exceptionals”, the first to an individual, Linda Rosenbluth, and the second to an organization, “Embracing Our Differences”, at its One World Gala, March 16, 2014 at Michael's On East.

As the international arm of the city of Sarasota, the Sister City Association of Sarasota (SCAS) is celebrating its 51st exchanges among peoples of the world in the arts, business, civic activities, education, sports and government to increase understanding and respect among all peoples of the world, with the goal of ending violence and war across the globe.

The 2014 Individual Recipient, Linda Rosenbluth, has a penchant for sighting a critical need and creating an effective response, and she’s been doing it since childhood, when at age 9 she began her fund-raising career collecting funds for victims of Hurricane Donna and at age 15 launched a nationwide youth program to make afghans for children in Denver’s Cancer Center.

Locally, Rosenbluth organized the first non-profit event at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, the first “phonathon” for United Way and Sarasota’s first “AIDS Awareness Week”, an initiative duplicated in communities nationwide. 

Internationally, her accomplishments are legend. In 1989, she was instrumental in the adoption of Tel Mond, Israel as Sarasota’s fourth sister city and was its first “City Director”. She served for five years as president of the SCAS, during which time Dunfermline, Scotland became our fifth sister city and she coordinated a greatly increased program of personnel exchanges among citizens of our sister cities.

She has represented Sarasota on missions to Azerbaijan, Morocco, Poland and Israel, and enhanced relationships with officials and citizens of several of our sister cities with personal visits to Perpignan, France; Treviso, Italy; Xiamen, China; Dunfermline, Scotland and Tel Mond, Israel. 

Rosenbluth won the “Sister Cities International Youth Award” initiating a video project in cooperation with Sarasota High School and was inducted recently into “The Circle of Distinguished Volunteers” by Sister Cities International at its 50th Anniversary Conference.

Embracing Our Differences mission is “to promote diversity and respect, not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century. 

During April and May each year, Embracing Our Differences employs art as a catalyst to spark discussions and promote the importance of peaceful coexistence, creating a huge outdoor exhibit at Sarasota’s Island Park, displaying the art of both national and international artists, photographers, writers and students. 

In 2013, the exhibit drew over 4,400 international submissions representing 52 countries. Since it inception a decade ago, the exhibit has attracted more than 22,000 submissions from 64 countries. During the past several years, 20% to 25% of all artists selected for inclusion in the exhibit were international and in 2013, 18 artists from 14 foreign nations were honorees, including “Best of Show Adult” - an Israeli artist who had previously visited Sarasota with her family to see the display.

In responding to the announcement, Michael Shelton, Executive Director of Embracing Our Differences said, “We’re making a difference. The One World Award is a recognition of that. It’s a formidable honor and we’re deeply grateful.”

In 2013, 248,000 visitors viewed the exhibit, with 90 percent indicating the display favorably influenced their opinion regarding diversity and inclusiveness of people everywhere.

Artists from four of Sarasota’s eight sister cities: Dunfermline, Scotland; Vladimir, Russia; Tel Mond, Israel and Xiamen, China have had winning billboards at the EOD annual exhibit. Sarasota’s other four sister cities are Hamilton, Canada; Merida, Mexico; Perpignan, France and Treviso, Italy.

Previous One World Award winners are Robert Roskamp and the Roskamp Institute, Nicholas Bollettieri and IMG Academy, ORT ( the worldwide educational program for the underprivileged), the Sarasota Christian School, with relationships with schools in 12 foreign countries and former mayor Lu Ann Palmer.

The One World Gala, the annual fund-raiser of the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, will feature the award ceremony, a guest pianist from Treviso, Italy and silent auction.

Interested: Call William Wallace, 378-0085