The Houston Karachi Sister City Association (“HKSCA”) is a not for profit organization, whose sole mission is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, & cooperation one individual, one community at a time.
Karachi is on the 17th Sister City of Houston and the 100th Muslim city to enter the overall sister city network. The Sister City Association is a voluntary organization created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as part of the Sister City International organization (SCI) Sister City International’s goal is to develop municipal partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, and states; with similar jurisdictions in other nations. SCI also works with ordinary citizens to participate in people-to-people exchanges and to build long-term partnerships between U.S. and international municipalities. SCI represents more than 700 U.S. communities and nearly 2,500 partnerships with sister communities in 134 countries. Currently President Barack Obama serves as Honorary Chair of Sister Cities International and locally Mayor Houston Annise Parker is the Honorary Chair Person of Houston Karachi Sister City Association.
Once an American city becomes sister city of another country’s city, then that American city cannot have another sister city relationship with any other city of that country. Karachi has the honor to be sister city of Houston from Pakistan. The agreement for the sister city partnership was formalized in 2009, by the mayors of these two great cities, involving a formal signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ceremony between the then Mayor Bill White of Houston and Mayor Mustafa Kamal of Karachi; and held at the City Hall of Houston, Houston, Texas.
Since its inception, HKSCA has made significant achievements in promoting its sister city ideals. At its core are the voluntary facilitation services provided by HKSCA in the areas of Education & Youth Exchange; Humanitarian Assistance; Cultural Exchange; Trade & Commerce; and HealthCare Initiatives’.
As a Humanitarian effort HKSCA led & formed “The Alliance of Pakistan Flood Relief Efforts”. The Alliance raised more than $80,000 in cash and $100,000 as in-kind donations. The donated items were distributed to the Mirpurkhas internally displaced persons camp in Pakistan’s Sindh Province with the coordination of Helping Hand, partner of the Alliance.
HKSCA education initiatives’ have included co-sponsorship of student exchange program with the US State Department YES Program and recently a MoU was signed between a school in Houston and in Karachi. The school exchange seeks to enrich the education curriculum of both city schools, as well as providing technology infused interactions between the students.
HKSCA trade and commerce efforts have been focused on bringing together the business leaders of the two cities with
an aim to increase direct investment and commercial exchanges. MoU signing between three parties the Karachi
Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), HKSCA, and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) is recent highlight of these
efforts in the area of trade & commerce.
To promote Health Care HKSCA is working on establishing Tele-Medicine between public hospitals in Karachi with a
hospital in Houston. (Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to
provide clinical health care at a distance).
One of the hallmark events of Houston is the avidly awaited Annual Muslim Sister Cities “Houston Iftar”. Year 2013 saw
massive attendance, at the picturesque Bayou City Center, of more than 1,500 community members from different
faiths and cultures. Many members of the US Congress, Houston City Council, Elected Officials, and several of the
Consuls General of countries’ were present at this occasion. This Annual Ramadan Dinner, which has traditionally been
hosted by the Mayor of Houston, turned out to be a huge success. The event was jointly organized by representatives of
several Sister City Associations from various Muslim cities such as ABU DHABI, BAKU, ISTANBUL, and of course,
KARACHI. Apart from Sister City Association, several other local organizations & Media also collaborated. The Houston-
Karachi Sister Association (“HKSCA”) played the lead role in coordinating the whole event as its President; Muhammad
Saeed Shaikh serves as the Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
For its commitment to the vision of sister city partnership, HKSCA has also received many local, state and national
accolades. Notable recognitions include SCI Humanitarian Assistance Award (2012) followed by Mayors City Council
recognition for helping the flood relief efforts in Pakistan, and HKSCA participation in the YES program was recognized by
the US State Department & Center for Inter-Cultural Exchange.