"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

Concerts at the Sarasota Opera House

2013 Season
Concerts at the Sarasota Opera House

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Sarasota Sister Cities in concert on Sunday, April 14, 2013 2:30 p.m. The Sister Cities 50th Anniversary Celebration program includes Rossini, Sonata a Quattro, No. 3; Ravel, String Quartet in F major and Glinka, Grand Sextet in E flat major for Piano, String Quartet and Double Bass
LA MUSICA is a critically acclaimed international chamber music festival guided by Artistic Director, Bruno Giuranna, and Associate Artistic Director, Derek Han. La Musica fulfills its mission to bring together world-renowned musicians from Europe and the Americas to present exciting programs of familiar and unusual chamber music, communicating a joy in performance to enthusiastic audiences.
Your attendance would be appreciated in support of this outstanding musical concert celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sarasota Sister Cities.  Tickets are $40 per peson and can be ordered on line at: 

Annual Meeting April 5, 2013


State Conference 2-4 May 2013

State Conference 2-4 May 2013

The Florida Sister Cities State Conference will be held May 2-4, 2013 at the popular Helmsley Sandcastle Resort on Lido Key in Sarasota. The conference will be hosted by the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota as part of their 50th Anniversary commemoration of their Culture Coast Sister Cities program.

Dynamic keynote speakers at the Conference will include Mary Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International and David Houle, Resident Futurist of Ringling College of Art and Design who is in demand by Presidents and CEOs of Corporations throughout the US. The conference will begin with a pool side reception beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 2nd. A full program of topics of prime interest to Sister City members and community leaders will be held on Friday and Saturday morning.

Of special interest will be an Authors display where Florida Sister City members who are authors can display and offer their books for sale during the conference. 

This will be the third time the Florida Sister Cities State Conference has been held at the Helmsley Sandcastle on the sugar-like white sand beaches of Lido Key. The resort d├ęcor has been updated with a new tropical look, has two heated swimming pools, two restaurants, pool Tiki bar, indoor lounge with live entertainment, free Wi-Fi throughout the resort, covered free parking, complimentary irons and ironing boards, safes for your valuables, and a complete line of water recreation vehicles (kayaks, aqua-cycles, and sailboats). 

The Helmsley Sandcastle is just minutes away from world famous St. Armand’s Circle shops and restaurants, and the many attractions of Sarasota.  Conference registration will begin in late January. However, early birds who may want to ensure group rate accommodations at the Helmsley Sandcastle can register now. Hotel registration information is attached. 
For additional information contact:

Alice Phillips, Convention Chair  phillips-alice@at.net          941-484-6391           
or Tom Halbert, President 
Sister Cities Association of Sarasota    halbertjt@gmail.com 941-485-8596


Florida Sister Cities State Conference 2013

Room Reservations

Note: The Room Reservation deadline is Tuesday, April 6, 2013 or until our room block is full.

Use the hotel's direct reservation phone numbers. Just mention the Florida Sister Cities State Conference as the group code. Reservations can be made Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Group reservation rate is valid for 1-4 persons per room and for 3-days before the conference to 3-days after the conference for those who may to take advantage of Sarasota’s cultural venues, beaches and attractions.

Reservation Phone: (800) 311-8999 or  (941) 388-2121Group Code: Florida Sister Cities State Conference

Group Rate: $99/night + tax.   
Note: No daily resort fee will be charged for this conference.

Check In is at 3 p.m.

Check Out is at 11 a.m.

Hotel Address:
Helmsley Sandcastle Resort
1540 Ben Franklin Drive
Sarasota, FL 34236

Note: Use street address or front desk phone number (941-388-2181) to set GPS destination

Web Site: www.helmsleysandcastle.com

Tour of Vladimir, Russia


Russian-American Community Center of Florida & Sarasota Sister Cities
Tour of Vladimir, Russia
Including cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg

June 26, 2013 – July 6, 2013

Yuliya Gaukhman (941) 234-2817
Albina Perets (941) 993-6891

Estimated price for trip (not including fare and visa): $2750
Price includes: Lodging, Food, Transportation and Daily Excursion fee

Sustainability Conference


Sustainability through Renewable Energy and Aquaculture
November 13-15, 2013
University of South Florida-Sarasota/Manatee

Raymond Young, Ph.D., Chair, Harry Dunn, Gloria Grenier, Dave Harralson, Ph.D., John Buechler, Ph.D., Erin Martin, Ph.D., Andrew Ezzell 


One of the major missions of Sarasota Sister Cities Assn. Inc. (SSCA) is to foster international relationships between Sarasota and its sister cities through exchanges in areas of culture and education.  SSCA’s objective is to develop respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy. In furtherance of this objective, SSCA is planning a three day conference on “Sustainability Through Renewable Energy and Aquaculture” for November 13-15, 2013 at the University of South Florida – Sarasota/Manatee.  The goal of the conference is to bring together both professionals and students from Sarasota area institutions and institutions located in our Sister Cities in a forum based on Sustainability.  


The program is near final form and the three major objectives of the conference will explore the following:

  • Sustainability, exploring issues such as sustainability concepts, sustainability management, sustainable agriculture, and energy transfer and distribution

  • Renewable Energy Alternatives, exploring such issues as new developments in solar energy, photovoltaics, fuels from biomass and ocean wave technology.
  • Sustainability of Ocean Resources, exploring such issues as closed-circuit, non-polluting aquaculture, aquaculture of giant prawns, sturgeon, and caviar.

    The topics for the conference will emphasize expertise in the Sarasota area as well as in our Sister Cities. Additional subject area expertise will be provided by outside speakers. A special student session is planned where local and sister city college and high school students will have the opportunity to interact through both poster and summary oral presentations. Area high schools will include Pineview (solar energy), Riverview (aquaculture), Booker, Suncoast Polytechnical and Sarasota High School.
    Regional presentations are planned from the University of South Florida, State College of Florida, Ringling College of Arts & Design, and University of Florida-Extension in the areas of Sustainability; from Florida Solar Energy Center, Florida Inst. of Technology and the USDA in the area of Renewable Energy and from Mote Marine Laboratories and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in Aquaculture. This will be complimented by Sister City presentations in these topic areas from University of Perpignan, Perpignan, France, Carnegie College, Dunfermline, Scotland, Autonomous University of the Yucatan, Merida, Mexico, The Interdisciplinary Center, Tel Mond, Israel, University of Padua, Treviso, Italy and Jimei University, Xiamen, China. It is planned that a professional speaker from each of the sister city institutions will be accompanied by several college and/or high school students for participation in the conference. Additional tours will be provided for the sister city delegates.
    Additional attendees to the conference would include students and professors from area colleges and high schools, employees of government and public institutions, Mote Marine, energy firms, green architects and interested Sarasota general public.