Ennis and Phoenix Twinned Sister Cities

In March 1988 Ennis was twinned with and began its Sister City relationship with Phoenix, Arizona at the instigation of some Ennis and Clare natives who were resident in Phoenix at that time.

Ennis is one of 10 cities around the world with whom Phoenix has formalised a Sister City relationship – these cities are; Calgary in Canada, Catania in Italy, Chengdu in China, Grenoble in France, Himeji in Japan, Prague in the Czech Republic, Ramat-Gan in Israel, Taipei in Taiwan and Hermosillo in Mexico.  In this context Ennis is a small player from the West of Ireland with a population of 25,000 people – but is more than capable of holding its place as a progressive and active participant in the Phoenix Sister Cities portfolio.

At the heart of all Sister City programmes is an agreement, signed by the Mayors of each Sister City, confirming the commitment of each community to the Sister City programme.  Sister Cities agree to send and receive delegations of various types, including political and business leaders, arts and cultural representatives, educators and technical experts,  because it believes these exchanges promote cross-cultural understanding, municipal and technical cooperation and business opportunities.

Each Sister City is supported by a network of people who are committed to the goals and objectives of the programme.  In Ennis this work is carried out by the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board, a committee of volunteers drawn from Ennis Town Council, Ennis Chamber of Commerce and local interest groups.

The Twinning Board aims to create and nourish people-to-people relationships between Phoenix and Ennis through a variety of educational, cultural, commercial, cooperative, and disabilities awareness programmes.

The Board is also committed to promoting global understanding and appreciation on a continuing, long-term basis by endeavouring to create opportunities and international partnerships for the citizens, businesses and organizations in Ennis.

In Phoenix in addition to fulfilling a similar stated mission, the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, through a public-private partnership, serves the city of Phoenix as the official Office of Protocol.  In this capacity, it is the city’s primary contact for individuals and delegations from around the world that represent trade, government and cultural organizations.

An example of some of the initiatives which have been fostered by both communities include an Arizona couple whose newborn son, Nicholas, tragically passed away at the Cliffs of Moher in July 2006 pledged to raise 86,000 U.S. Dollars towards the provision and equipping of a First Aid facility at the world famous tourist landmark.  The Nicholas First Aid Room is now fully equipped and operational at the Visitor Centre at The Cliffs of Moher.

Civic and community leaders from Ennis and Phoenix have visited each other on exchanges and have developed strong ties and personal friendships.  Over the years youth ambassador, teacher, cultural and technology exchange programmes, to name but some, between both communities have been hugely successful.

Phoenician Youth Ambassadors travel to Ennis in June each year and live with Ennis families for 3 weeks, then in July its the turn of Ennis Youth Ambassadors to travel to Phoenix where they are home hosted by Phoenician families