As the New York Times says, “All the news that’s fit to print” about Sarasota Sister Cities…………..
Please read to find out about a member’s mother who was a hula dancer and movie star—and the unusual, circuitous path to the creation of our mosaic commemorating Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico, in Bayfront Park.

April 5 - 11:30 am Annual Meeting  – Sarasota Yacht Club

April 20 - 4:00 pm Presentation by Ray Young on Polynesian Cultures of the South Pacific at the new Audubon Nature Center, Celery Fields, 999 Center Rd & Palmer Blvd, Sarasota.
A Wine & Cheese Meet & Greet will follow immediately after the presentation at the same location.

May 21 - Florida Studio Theater: Young Playwrights Festival

Aug 1-12 - Dunfermline, Scotland tour

After the announcement went out about Ray’s Polynesia talk on April 20, we received an email from Randy, a member of SCAS and a Board member of Sister Cities International.
          Ray- Aloha,
          As the token Hawaiian in Sarasota SCI, I am both interested in your event and more.
          I … was born in Hawaii. My Mother was a Hawaiian legend hula dancer, movie star, and
          diplomat. I would be pleased to give you support and assistance and am planning to fly in for
          the event.

          Hon. Randy Avon, CEO
          Asian Pacific Development Corp.
          Home offices in Mexico City, Mexico
          U.S. Office: 1000 West Mc Nab Road; Pompano Beach, Fl 33069

Randy, we’ll be happy to see you, but do bring film of your mother.  She sounds interesting!!!!!!  Emails like Randy’s make me laugh.

At the last board meeting, the following were voted new members:
          Nelly Camardo, City Director – Rapperswill-Jona, Switzerland (Friendship City)
          Marlies Gluck, City Director – Tel Mond, Israel.

And a BIG THANKS goes to Linda Rosenbluth who is stepping down from the Tel Mond position after having served SCAS in almost every capacity.

          In three previous newsletters you have read about the restoration of the plaques in Bayfront Park.  We have a tree and a plaque on a concrete pedestal there for each of our Sister Cities.
          THE JOB IS FINISHED!  Now, in addition, we have a sign on each end of the tree walk identifying this as the Sarasota Sister City tree walk and indicating all our Sister Cities and our mission statement.
          Kudos go to Ray Young for making this happen.  It looks mighty nice, Ray!

          It was recently noted that the Sister Cities mosaic in Bayfront Park is in disrepair.  The mosaic shows a Mérida hand and a Sarasota hand within a heart, depicting how our relationship with Mérida was seen as this lovely colonial city became our twin in the Yucatan.
          What’s the back story on the creation of this mosaic?
          A noted Mayan artist--Luis Manuel May Ku--working with students from Mérida, Sarasota & Englewood, helped these students design a 18' x 40' mosaic for a wall in the US Consulate in Mérida.  
          Luis then came to Englewood in December, 2010, to help Englewood students develop a "friendship with Mérida" mosaic they presented to the City of Sarasota.  It was presented to Mayor Kelly Kirschner on Dec. 10 in the Ringling Museum courtyard at the twinning ceremony.
          Later the mosaic was dedicated in Bayfront Park before a large crowd of Sarasota City officials including Mayor Kirschner, Sister City members, and a large contingent of local students, including Principal Grossenbacher and art teacher, Dawn Hinck, both of Englewood Elementary.
And that’s the rest of the story………...

Dat’s all, Folks!

Questions or Comments to Dave Harralson
at / 941-870-5516

Annual Meeting / Annual Report / Election of Officers Tuesday April 5, 2015 at the Sarasota Yacht Club

Click for More Photos

Annual Meeting / Annual Report

Election of Officers

11:30 am Tuesday April 5, 2015 

Sarasota Yacht Club
Address: 1100 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone:(941) 365-4191

The luncheon will open at 11:30 a.m. with lunch at noon. The meeting will commence at noon and will be chaired by President Beth Ruyle-Hullinger.

The agenda for the meeting include the Annual Report by the President, the distribution of the Revised Bylaws, and the Nomination and Election of Officers.

RSVPs, meal selection and $25 payment are requested by April 1, 2016 to meet requirements of the Sara Bay Country Club. All meals coffee, tea or soda; cash bar is also available.

RSVP to 
Gail Sanderson (
with your menu choice.

at the

Sarasota Yacht Club
1100 John Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota 34236

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Menu Choices:  (choose one)

#1 Chicken Florentine, with vegetable, potato/rice & dessert

#2 Chef’s Salad & dessert

#3 Vegetarian – Chef’s Selection - & dessert
Payment & Notification of Menu Choices:
Send check for $25 to Sarasota Sister Cities, 1565 First St., Sarasota, FL 34236 and email Gail Sanderson ( with your menu choice
Pay online for luncheon at and click on Payments in the menu bar and pay.  Then email Gail Sanderson ( with your menu choice


Click for Google Map Directions

Thistle Ball April 2, 2016

The Caledonian Club of Sarasota invites you to join them at the 30th Anniversary "Thistle Ball": 

Saturday, April 2, 2016, at 5:30 PM 
Venetian Golf & River Club
502 Veneto Boulevard, North Venice
$60,- per person, RSVP by March 18
For info contact: Mary Ellen at:

Modern Pentathlon - Volunteers Needed

Dear Members, Families, Friends and Affiliates of SCAS and GCAA,

SCAS and GCAA, will soon officially join Benderson Park as their partners. Beth Rulye and Irene Leung, Presidents of 
SCAS and GCAA, had a very amicable and productive meeting with Benderson Park's program coordinator Ellen Hagley. We set out a framework for a mutually beneficial lasting relationship to spread our non-profits' good works and to seek progressive ways to increase awareness of our organizations and to promote new memberships and young blood to carry the mission of being citizen diplomats to many incoming international Olympian Athletes for this very special event.

We will all (Members, Families Friends and Affiliates) be invited to attend May 5th Thursday opening ceremony for the Pentathlon World Cup at Ringling Museum elegant courtyard at 5:30 pm. More detailed information, directions, volunteer positions and sign up forms will be available online soon. 

All volunteers are recommended to work for 3 hours ( or more)  for any given day  and will be given a high quality 100% cotton preshrunk colored T shirt bearing the beautiful Pentathlon logo. High School students will receive community service hours. Fabulous free lunch will be served at the volunteers' special large tent, and unlimited drinks will be served throughout the day. Volunteers , when not on duty, will get close up seats for all the World Cup Sports competitions.

If  you wish NOT to become a volunteer but only wish to be a spectator/ guest of the events, we have hundreds of FREE tickets waiting for you.   Each person will require a ticket for each day IN ADVANCEFridaySaturday and Sunday for all events of that particular day.

Thank you for your kind attention and we look forward to seeing you in Benderson Park. We will have tent set up with SCAS and GCAA logos.


Irene Leung, MBA

Apply to be a High School Homestay Local Coordinator Application deadline: April 1

Apply to be a High School Homestay Local Coordinator

Application deadline: April 1
High School HomestaySister Cities International’s High School Homestay Exchange Program allows member cities to host students from their sister city for a year or semester of high school in the U.S.

This program is a wonderful opportunity to help a young person experience life and culture in the U.S. while living and studying in your city. As a U.S. State Department-designated sponsoring organization, Sister Cities International can process the J-1 secondary school student visa starting in the 2016-2017 school year.

If there is interest in your sister city program, the first step is recruiting a Local Coordinator for your community. Local Coordinators are individuals who help recruit host families and work with local high schools to place students. A modest stipend is included with the position.

Click here to download a High School Homestay info flyer and click here to download a High School Homestay Local Coordinator application.

The deadline for applications is THIS FRIDAY, April 1, 2016.

For more information about the High School Homestay Program, visit or contact Ted Carroll, membership manager for youth programs, at


@SisterCitiesInt #SCI60years

High School Homestay Exchange Program
Tweet this! Help recruit a Local Coordinator in your community for @SisterCitiesInt's High School Homestay Exchange Program

International Festival April 21 Sarasota Christian School 5:30-7:30 pm

Sarasota Christian School will be hosting its 2nd annual International Festival April 21 from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Sarasota Sister Cities will set up a table with brochures and information about the Sister Cities program. This is a great way to reach out to youth.

April 30 - May 1 - Dragon Boat Race and AsiaFest

Time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, and
Happy Easter To You All !!

Our April / May activity highlights are as follow. 

You are cordially invited to enjoy these International Competition Events, All Free Of Charge. Best Date to attend will be April 30th to cover both Dragon Boat Race and Asia Fest ( Ms. Asia Contest; Dances; Foods and Many Exotic Crafts for sale )

April 29th/ 30th: Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Race: ( Free for all Spectators)



May 6th to 8th, 2016: Sarasota Benderson Park Pentathlon World Cup Competition Free Admission For All


​We look forward to seeing you in these events. 

Pentathlon World Cup, with more than 200 + Olympic Top Athletes from 36 nations, will be competing for the last time at Benderson Park. Please do not miss this rare chance to cheer, to help out and to mingle with the world's top Olympians right here in Sarasota. Many great photo ops with your favorite young athletes :)

More details to follow shortly.

Coming from South: 2 miles north of N. Cattleman Rd from Fruitville Rd.
Coming from North: 1/2 mile south of N. Cattleman Rd from University Pkwy

Very Best Regards

Irene Leung, MBA

Vice President, Sports Sarasota Sister Cities

GCAA ( Gulfcoast Chinese American Association )

Tel: (Cell) 941-928-3720

Sarasota Festival of New Plays - Young Playwrights Festival May 21, 2016




The City of Sarasota will welcome students from Sarasota Sister Cities who won a playwriting competition connected to the Florida Studio Theatre. The Florida Studio Theatre accepts plays written by students from all over the United States plus Sarasota’s Sister Cities. The winning plays are performed by The Florida Studio.

The students’ plays will be performed Saturday, May 21, 2016. More information will be provided shortly.

For more information about the “Write a Play Program” at Florida Studio Theatre click

Photos from previous Young Playwright Festivals

Sarasta Mayor Suzanne Atwell meets with the Young Playwrights group.

Sarasota Sister Cities viewed a number of plays written by students, including students from our Sister Cities of Tel Mond, Israel, Vladimir, Russia, and Dunfermline, Scotland.  The young playwrights from Tel Mond and Dunfermline were in Sarasota and signed autographs. The cast and creative director provided outstanding performances.

Young Playrights from left to right
Aleksandra, Kara, Clare, Ori

Ori and Bill Wallace

Ori, Camy, Kara, and Aleksandra

SSC Board March 23, 2016

News About Our Sister City, Xiamen, China

WTCTB Monthly Newsletter: MARCH 2016 

On February 25, 2016, The World Trade Center Tampa Bay was pleased to host a presentation about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and this new trade treaty’s benefits for Tampa Bay businesses. The presenter was international business attorney Susan L. (Susie) Hoeller of the Hoeller Law Firm which has offices in Tampa Bay and NW Arkansas.  Attendees were World Trade Center Tampa Bay members and guests involved in exporting goods and services, international law, banking and marketing, and medical tourism. The TPP was signed on February 4, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Twelve countries are signatories today: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. These TPP countries currently produce 40% of global GDP and 26% of world trade.   Ms. Hoeller discussed the many benefits of TPP, including:
  • 18,000 tariff cuts for Made in America exports
  •  new “cumulation” rules of origin which will allow U.S. exporters to integrate supply chains in the TPP region
  • special provisions to help small and medium size U.S. businesses export
  • the lifting of restrictions and bans of the export of U.S. services like retail, communications, logistics, software and more    
  • science based food safety measures will replace other countries’ unfair barriers to the export of American agricultural products     
  • cutting edge rules to promote internet-based commerce, digital freedom and an open internet
  • a ban on “forced localization” – the discriminatory requirement that certain governments impose on U.S. businesses forcing them to place their servers and other facilities overseas in order to access those markets
  • new provisions to protect intellectual property creators and criminalize trade secret theft     
  • foreign state owned enterprises competing unfairly can be challenged by U.S. companies
  • strongest worker and environmental protections of any trade treaty
  • anti-corruption provisions
  • sustainable development and food security commitments
Ms. Hoeller also discussed some of the criticisms of the TPP by opponents including some of the current Presidential candidates in both parties. These criticisms include:
  • No anti-currency manipulation provisions
  • Predicted flood of more imports from the cheap labor countries
  • Consumers in countries with government bulk purchasing of drugs are concerned that these arrangements will be challenged by multi-national drug companies leading to higher prices
  • Concerns that TPP will expand multi-national companies power to challenge state owned enterprises and individual countries’ health and safety laws   
The participants discussed the significant geo-political and national defense aspects of the TPP, for example, the exclusion of China and Russia. Ms. Hoeller has concluded that the TPP will be very good for Tampa Bay area companies. She urged participants to contact their federal, state and local political representatives in support of TPP and noted that the mayors of both Tampa and St. Petersburg have publicly supported the treaty.  The time for TPP supporters to act is now because the Congressional ratification vote is expected later this spring.  



Tampa Bay International Town Hall at Port Tampa Bay

Friday, May 6, 2016  - The Tampa Bay Export Alliance (TBEA), a partnership  between the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and Pinellas County Economic Development, will host the 2016 Tampa Bay International Town Hall.  WTCTB will be present at the expo, so please stop by and visit our booth!

  Port Tampa Bay, Cruise Terminal Two, 651 Channelside Dr. Tampa, FL  33605

Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and program from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

WTCTB members use promo code WTCTB for $10 discount


  Notes From our Executive Director


Happy (Chinese) New Year!…here are some “thoughts” about the Year of the Monkey! (Please note that the WTCTB does not take responsibility for any actions you may take based upon the following description…haha.)

The Year of the Monkey is the time to shake things up and create change. Even the most ambitious plans can succeed. There will be more than enough action and opportunity to keep you busy. In Monkey year, it’s fine to just make it up as you go along.   Those born in Monkey years (1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016) are intelligent, witty, mercurial, and entertaining. They are wonderful to be around because they are also fun and creative. Monkeys embody strong leadership potential and, like their best friend the Dragon, won’t allow anyone to tell them what to do. The uninhibited Monkey rarely gets embarrassed by anything, and is free to express himself/herself fearlessly in all walks of life.


The government in Beijing will try to summon Monkey power this year as it decides how to handle the continuing debt restructure and demand issues within the Chinese economy.   In February I visited the City of Xiamen in Eastern China directly across from Taiwan. Xiamen (like many of the coastal cities) certainly does not yet appear to be suffering during this downturn in the economic cycle. It is a typical second-tier China port city with dozens of cranes adding to the skyline, a bustling container facility and new international airport terminal.  Due to its geographic location (close to Taiwan with temperate weather), Xiamen has received significant recent investment for business and tourism expansion projects. The growth is impressive and Xiamen is posed to continue to take advantage of its geographic location.

While in Xiamen, we visited several bio-tech research facilities (including international companies) and observed some interesting facts about the business environment. Although bio-tech research facilities tend to operate inexpensively compared to the clusters around Shanghai, the determining factor per comments from management for locating in Xiamen was the research organizations' ability to maintain privacy and avoid prying eyes of colleagues and competitors (and government). Maybe there is something to be said for keeping a low profile in the new Chinese economy.

I should also mention that Xiamen offers some unique culture and excellent natural scenery. I highly recommend a visit to Gu-lang-yu - an island community developed during the period when Xiamen was a foreign concession.  Be warned of sometimes crowded conditions and bring walking shoes... but overall a worthy excursion to see the preserved architecture (including three churches on this small island).  More examples of classic homes on the WTCTB website.   Please contact the WTC if you would like to know more about doing business or visits to China.  

Become a WTCTB member today!  Please access our website at the below link to download an application and read about our member benefits. There are membership levels available for both individuals and large corporations, as well as student and veterans memberships. 
For more information please contact Meredith Cernuda at  

Connect with us