Morocco Trip to Build Friendship with Islamic World

Mary Jean Eisenhower & Sherman Banks Lead Delegation

Mar 17, 2006, 00:00 ET from Sister Cities International

    NEW YORK, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A goodwill mission to Morocco this week
 will extend a hand in friendship from U.S. citizens to people in a
 predominantly Islamic country. Sister Cities International is sending a
 "Partnership & Peace Tour" to Morocco for a historic ten-day mission to build
 sister city ties.
     The delegation's forty-two members will be led by Mary Jean Eisenhower,
 granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower and CEO of People-to-People
 International, and Sherman Banks, President of the Sister Cities International
 Board of Directors. Both People-to-People-International and Sister Cities
 International trace their origins to a White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy
 convened by President Eisenhower in 1956.
     The delegation will visit Rabat, Fez, Marrakech and Casablanca. They will
 hold meetings with several key officials seeking to set up new sister city
 ties and strengthen existing linkages. More than 150 wheelchairs purchased
 with donations from throughout the United States, will be distributed to needy
 residents during the trip. As part of the 50th Anniversary of the citizen
 diplomacy movement in 2006, the delegation will hold a conference in
 Casablanca with 150 attendees titled, "Reaching Out to Your Global Neighbors
 Through Citizen Diplomacy: Promoting Islamic - U.S. Relationships."
     The delegation's visit to Morocco is part of the Islamic Peace &
 Friendship Initiative. After the tragic terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001,
 Sister Cities International launched an outreach effort to the Islamic world
 that resulted in a 33% increase in U.S. communities partnering with the Middle
 East, an 18% increase in partnerships with Africa, and a 3% increase in
 Eurasian sister city relationships. There are currently three sister city
 relationships between the United States and Morocco. Casablanca partnered with
 Chicago, Illinois in 1992. Agadir, Morocco linked with Miami, Florida in 1995
 and with Oakland, California in 2004.
     WHO:          Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO, People-to-People International
                   Sherman Banks, President, Board of Directors, Sister Cities
     WHAT:         "Partnership & Peace Tour - Morocco" begins its journey for
                   goodwill and understanding
     WHEN & WHERE: March 17, 2006, 5:00am - 12:00pm, New York, NY
                   March 18-25, 2006 - Morocco (202.347.8630 ext. 8251 for
     About Mary Jean Eisenhower
     Mary Jean Eisenhower, President and CEO of People to People International
 (PTPI), was born in Washington, D.C. during her grandfather, Dwight
 Eisenhower's first term as U.S. President. Since joining PTPI, Mary has
 visited more than 40 countries. Missions have included everything from meeting
 first families to distributing food to cultural and humanitarian exchanges. In
 1999 she started PTPI's International Friendship Fund inspired by an orphanage
 in Morocco. The fund is a way for people to help the friends and facilities
 they visit throughout the world and help our Chapter network assist each
 other. Currently she is focused on a number of projects, including a trip to
 Sri Lanka for the dedication of three new schools, made possible by
 contributions to PTPI's Tsunami Relief Fund and the Peace Camps and Global
 Peace Initiatives in Egypt and Russia for youth and adults in 2007. Other
 focuses include the eradication of landmines, disability issues, the Operation
 Iraqi Children program and Chapter development. Recently she completed a
 Fellowship at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.
     About Sherman Banks
     Sherman Banks was elected president of the Board of Directors for Sister
 Cities International in 2004, and joined the board in 2002. Banks has focused
 much of his attention on the Islamic Peace & Friendship Initiative, working to
 forge friendly citizen-to-citizen ties between the U.S. and predominantly
 Islamic countries. He spearheaded the development of international tourism for
 the Little Rock (Arkansas) Convention & Visitors Bureau and served as
 International Development Director for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of
 Commerce. He served as president of the Central Arkansas Council for
 International Visitors for five years in the early 1990s.
     About Sister Cities International
     Representing more than 2,400 communities in 132 countries, Sister Cities
 International ( is a citizen diplomacy network
 creating and strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities
 abroad. Begun in 1956 after a White House summit where U.S. President Dwight
 D. Eisenhower called for people-to-people exchanges, sister city partnerships
 are tailored to local interests and increase global cooperation at the
 grassroots level. Sister Cities International promotes peace through mutual
 respect, understanding and cooperation by focusing on sustainable development,
 youth and education, arts and culture, humanitarian assistance and economic
 growth programs.

SOURCE Sister Cities International