The year was 1964, and the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce was exploring the possibility of adopting a "Sister City." Their search was inspired by the late President Eisenhower's People to People program, created in 1956 to increase tolerance and understanding through direct contact of individuals with people from other cultures. Because so many residents of Fullerton -- in fact, many Californians -- have ties to Mexico, it seemed right to look first in that country.
After much discussion, the city of Morelia in the state of Michoacán was proposed, and citizens of Fullerton -- including the first FSCA president, Art Gratner -- made a trip south in May of 1965 to seal the deal. The visit was reciprocated two months later, and in July 1965, a second signing celebration was held, and the non-profit organization "Fullerton Sister City Association" (FSCA) was founded. A magnolia tree was planted outside of City Hall to commemorate the new partnership.
In 1989, Fullerton again began reaching out, this time to the east. The city of Fukui in the Chūbu region of Japan was suggested, and Fullerton residents made a trip to visit our second Sister City. Mayor Molly McClanahan signed the official documents, and flowering cherry trees were planted at the Muckenthaler Center and outside Fullerton City Hall to symbolize the new relationship.
Reflecting the increasing number of Korean residents in Fullerton, a third Sister City was added in 2004: Yongin, South Korea. A black pine joined the other two Friendship Trees outside City Hall. A group of Sister City members and local officials flew to South Korea to participate in the signing festivities and visit our newest Sister City.
Every spring, up to twelve students from Fullerton middle schools are chosen as "Junior Ambassadors" to travel to one of our three Sister Cities during summer vacation. Students from one Sister City visit Fullerton each year, staying with host families while they explore our town. Adult trips to Sister Cities are arranged on a regular basis, and multi-cultural events take place throughout the year, including folk dancing and authentic cuisine during "Faces of Fullerton" in April.
Yong-In, Korea Junior Ambassadors
Want to join the fun? FSCA membership is easy -- just print the Membership Form, fill it out and send in your dues. We'd love to have you come and join us! Half of all the dues we collect is used for scholarships, so that deserving students of all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to travel and learn -- not only about other cultures, but also to recognize and appreciate the great culture here in Fullerton.
The Fullerton Sister City Association is grateful to the individuals and businesses who help us continue the tradition of international friendship and cultural exchange: