In the first half of the 20th century, armed conflicts claimed the lives of an unfathomable number of civilians. Stunned by the horrors of war in Europe, President Dwight Eisenhower sought out a different way to prevent future cycles of war. He proposed a program that connects citizens of nations abroad with U.S. cities: Sister Cities International.
The program began in 1956, and the people-to-people, citizen diplomacy initiative took off across the country. A few years later, in 1960, St. Louis’ first partnership abroad flourished in Stuttgart, Germany, through the World Trade Center St. Louis' international mission. Now St. Louis has 16 sisters abroad, from Argentina and Senegal to Indonesia.