GRSCI A Worldwide Connection


Grand Rapids Sister Cities International (GRSCI) is a non-profit organization that works to build relationships between Grand Rapids and its sister cities by promoting understanding and mutual respect through exchanges in culture, art, education, and community and economic development.

Through an agreement with the City of Grand Rapids, GRSCI administers Grand Rapids’ sister cities programs and interfaces with state and nation wide efforts to bring the culture of other nations home to the citizens of our area. Because of the hard work and dedication of our members and volunteers and the Grand Rapids community, we now have six sister cities: Bielsko-Biała, Poland; the Ga District, Ghana; Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea, Omihachiman, Japan; Perugia, Italy; and Zapopan, Mexico.


Watch this video for a glimpse at what sister cities have meant to Grand Rapids and how Grand Rapids residents have connected with others from around the world.


Click on any of the buttons below to learn more about a specific sister city around the world.


News Update– September 26, 2021

GRSCI is pleased to announce our sixth sister city of Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea. On September 26, 2021, GRSCI, Mayor Bliss, City Manager Washington organized and held a virtual signing ceremony at Studio Park with Gangnam-gu’s Mayor Jeong Sun-kyun, and many community supporters.

Discussions included opportunities for artistic, cultural and economic exchanges, such as Gangnam-gu’s continued hosting of ArtPrize in a pop-up format, K-Pop concerts in Grand Rapids as well as start-up, business and medical partnerships.

Welcoming Gangnam-gu as GRSCI’s 6th sister city!

News Update – May 1st, 2021

Greetings from the GRSCI Board of Directors!

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the continuing relationships between Grand Rapids and our sister cities have been challenging.   We want you to know that we are still very active, with each of our five current committees meeting individually, and keeping in virtual contact with our liaisons in our sister cities through Zoom.   

The GRSCI Board has agreed to extend any current memberships until November 1st, and we hope to have a new membership drive in place soon, with a special announcement later this year.

The Board is also pleased to announce a new Board Director, Mr. Brent Case of The Right Place. 

GRSCI continues to expand our outreach to the Grand Rapids community with partnerships or memberships in the following organizations: 

  • The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
  • The Right Place
  • World Affairs Council of West Michigan
  • Downtown GR Inc. 
  • Experience GR

We invite all, including the business community, to experience the rewards of planning, developing, and participating with other volunteers in a Grand Rapids Sister City program.  

Contribute your talents, host visitors, volunteer at events, become a delegate as a citizen ambassador, and experience the joys of a sister city exchange in one of our sister cities. 

If you would like to renew your membership, or send a donation at this time, it is possible to do so online on the GRSCI website, or you can contact Kelli Jo Peltier, our treasurer, at .

Membership rates:  $5/Student, $25/Individual, $40/Family, $100/Sustainable, $125/Ambassador (Business) and $50/Ambassador (Non-profit). 

We would like to thank you and all of our current members and volunteers for your donations and support as they make it possible for us to continue with our ongoing mission of educational, economic and cultural exchanges with our sister cities around the world. 

Thank You!  

For more information, please check out our website  We are also on facebook and Instagram.

News Update – September 27th, 2020

Dear Friends of Grand Rapids Sister Cities:

This year has been quite a change for GRSCI including good news!

  • GRSCI and the Mayor’s office are in the early stages of adding a new sister city! Stay tuned for developments to officially welcome “Gangnam-gu”, a district of Seoul, South Korea as Grand Rapids sixth sister city. A Gangnam Committee has been formed with local volunteers that will advance this new relationship with Grand Rapids.
  • GRSCI is exploring a 2021 collaboration with Founder’s Brewery to release each year in Grand Rapids and in a sister city, two sister city inspired craft beers. The collaboration could include exchanges of recipes and Brew Masters.
  • Our May 2020 annual meeting/fundraiser at the Grand Rapids Chamber and several planned exchanges were postponed due to the pandemic. However, the GRSCI Board’s monthly meetings and individual sister city committee meetings and events have been held on Zoom and will continue virtually until further notice.
  • The Board held a Zoom meeting with all of our 5 sister city liaisons. It was quite productive to see each other, listen, and discuss together our common objectives for the future.

Thank you for your continuous support of Grand Rapids Sister Cities!

Please renew your GRSCI membership thru our website!

Thank you,

The GRSCI Board of Directors

J-CHAT – September 1st, 2020


Japan’s punctual, hard-driving work culture is well known. What about Japanese companies in the States? What’s similar, and what’s different?

Last summer, longtime J-Chat attendee Andrew Mulder moved to Chicagoland to work for one of Japan’s best-known food companies. He’ll share with us his rich experience working there thus far.

The event will take place Tuesday, September 1. Due to time zone differences, J-Chat will start at 7:15 PM, but feel free to join us at 7:00PM for pre-presentation fun and banter.
Email us at “grsci [dot] omi [at] gmail [dot] com” for access credentials.  Be sure to give yourself a few moments to log into Zoom . You shouldn’t need to create a Zoom account, but you will need to download the software.

For those interested in learning more about our work, the Omihachiman Committee will meet before J-Chat, starting at 6:40PM.

Hope to see you there, 

Sara Simon, Omi Committee Chair

Exit Space Project – Welcome Mural by Dave Battjes

“Local artist Dave Battjes (Instagram: @davebattjes) is finishing up his newest mural on the retaining wall of the Ionia ramp from I-96 near Michigan Avenue downtown Grand Rapids. This is UICA’s second mural in partnership with Grand Rapids Sisters Cities and is supported by Downtown GR, Inc. We are excited to see this project come together after being delayed by COVID-19. To date, UICA has created over 16 murals as part of our Exit Space Project.” UICA Summer Update

Accepting Applications for the Perugia Scholarship January 2020 – Through March 15th!

Click on Image for More Information

Chiaroscuro Film Series – 2020

GRSCI Member Gina Corazza Trip to Perugia, Italy – November 2019

Click Here to View the Gallery

Gina represented Grand Rapids at the Fieri dei Morti Market in November 2019

Ethnic Heritage Festival – October 2019

Ethnic Heritage Festival


What is a sister city? In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower created a program that was designed to enhance relationships among cities in the United States and the rest of the world. The desired outcome of this program was to gain knowledge and understanding of foreign cities through community exchanges of cultural and ethnic ideas.