Johnson City & Guaranda – Sister Cities since 1964.

The Johnson City-Guaranda Sister Cities partnership

Unlikely though it may seem, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA and Guaranda, Bolívar, Ecuador have been Sister Cities since the mid-1960s. This partnership began in 1963, when the mayors of these two small cities met one another at a People-to-People meeting of mayors from around the world, held at the United Nations. They struck up a friendship which has persisted now for almost 50 years. May Ross McDowell, then the mayor of Johnson City (and no relation to this blog’s author) coordinated with the mayor and other prominent citizens of Guaranda in mutual visits, and they took on “Sister Cities” status when that program began. Sister Cities International continues to unite citizens for diverse countries in two-way partnerships dedicated to advancing cooperation and friendship between cities and nations worldwide.

Guaranda Ecuador is almost due south of Johnson City Tennessee

Information on the Sister Cities program of Johnson City and the Tri-Cities region is online here:

Information on the Sister Cities International program itself is here:

Guaranda Drive in Johnson City, Tennessee

One finds “Guaranda Drive” in Johnson City, Tennessee, adjacent to the Kiwanis International Park, where the Sister Cities pavilion is located.

Manuel Alban and Tim McDowell at Calle Johnson City in Guaranda

In Guaranda, Ecuador, beside the Parque Montúfar runs Calle Johnson City.

Over the decades there have been dozens of visits by individuals and groups to their respective Sister City. Many of these visits have involved faculty and students of each cities university: East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, and Universidad Estatal de Bolívar (UEB) in Guaranda. For each of the past four summers a group of about 10 ETSU students studying Spanish Language and

Clarita Alban and Jerome Mwinyelle at Johnson City Street in Guaranda, Ecuador.

Tropical Botany have joined with a group of 10 Ecuadorian students from UEB to study Botany and foreign languages (Spanish or English) in a month-long course conducted in 10 cities across Ecuador.

ETSU Johnson City & UEB  Guaranda students in 2002 Summer Courses in front of Calle Johnson City sign in Guaranda

ETSU Johnson City & UEB Guaranda students in 2002 Summer Courses in front of Calle Johnson City sign in Guaranda

A slideshow on “Guaranda, Johnson City’s Sister City” is available here:  Sister Cities Slide Show, Johnson City-Guaranda

A 2012 article from the Johnson City Press (our daily newspaper) on the Guaranda Sister Cities partnership is available here:  Johnson City Press – Sisters since 1963

Does your city have a Sister City? You might be surprised to find it does. Check the directory at the Sister Cities International web site and check with your local government. These friendly associations provide an extraordinary connection between people and towns across the most hospitable planet!


About Tim McDowell

I'm a botanist from East Tennessee State University conducting a Fulbright project in Guaranda, Ecuador.
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