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Oranjestad-Aruba Sister Cities Association
Become a "Citizen Diplomat"
Dutch frugality seeped into OASCA’s DNA. The Association runs a tight ship, sticks to a very simple structure with a very low overhead. The fee therefore is a flat $20.00 a year per "Citizen Diplomat". Fee collections are solely allocated to fixed costs and operating expenses. OASCA is a 100% all-volunteer organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sister city and how do sister cities relationships usually develop?
A sister city, county, or state relationship is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities and sister city relationships develop from a number of sources, including but not limited to: preexisting mayoral relationships, trade relationships, historical connections, ancestral/demographic connections, expatriate communities, shared geographic/sector challenges, personal experiences etc.
What is a sister city organization like OASCA?
A sister city organization is a volunteer group of ordinary citizens who, with the support of their local elected officials, form long-term relationships with people and organizations in a city abroad. Most sister city organizations are independent and pursue the activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community including but not limited to: municipal, business, trade, educational and cultural exchanges with the sister city. Sister city organizations promote peace through people-to-people relationships with program offerings varying greatly from basic cultural exchange programs to shared research and development projects between cities.
What criteria does OASCA follow to select the appropriate US Sister City for Oranjestad?
Oranjestad goes where she’s celebrated and not where she’s tolerated and there are 4 basic factors which are important in determining if a US city is the right candidate:
1) There has to be a presence of an Aruba-American diaspora which is willing to participate in citizen diplomacy.
2) The city has to be in the proximity of a Dutch consulate general/ honorary consulate or Dutch trading post.
3) The city has to possess a robust sister cities program and OASCA needs to identify communalities and also differences with the candidate city.
4) It must be evident that a formidable “Friends of Oranjestad-Aruba” consortium can be built with local citizens who are willing to create an “Orange City” within their city.
This selection process typically takes at least two years to come to fruition; from determining a good match, to coming to a mutual agreement, and leading up to the signing ceremony.
What is a friendship city?
Friendship cities are less formal than sister cities. In some cities, “friendship city” is often used as a first stage in the relationship, and after it is strengthened, and the partners are sure they want a long-term relationship they will become sister cities. Besides the five sister cities that OASCA is commissioned to establish for Oranjestad, the organization may decide to add one or more friendly cities if appropriate.
Is OASCA an official consulate?
No! Aruban foreign affairs in the USA are administered by the Netherlands through one (1) Embassy in Washington DC, five (5) consulates located in Miami, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and San Francisco, supplemented by countless honorary consulates and Dutch trading post throughout the US. “The Happy People Consulate” is not an official consulate but works closely with consulates and trading posts in Oranjestad’s sister cities to highlight Aruban interests. OASCA is independent and strictly promotes citizen diplomacy.
Why is OASCA incorporated in the USA and not in Oranjestad-Aruba?
One of main purposes of the Aruba Sister Cities Program is to activate Arubans who live in the States by providing a platform to contribute to the advancement of Oranjestad. Most US cities require their international sister cities to be incorporated as a 501(c)3 corporation to facilitate the relationships. Sister cities which operate from long distance have a much greater chance of failing.
Is OASCA an Aruban social club?
Not really, but everything that is done by and for Aruba is normally done with Zjeito. OASCA creates project-driven initiatives which we believe are to the benefit of Oranjestad and the US Sister City.
Is OASCA a think tank?
Not really, the “thinking” stage has passed and OASCA’s mission is clearly defined. The organization executes original projects and programs it develops to sustain the sister cities agreements which it establishes on behalf of Oranjestad-Aruba.
If people-to-people relationships are promoted, why are governments involved?
Sister Cities International calls for the highest elected government official from both cities to sign a sister cities agreement. OASCA's voting members determine the thematic areas that they deem important to the relationship. OASCA synchronizes its agenda with government's calendars and the projects are validated by Aruba's Minister Plenipotentiary as per the MOU.
Are OASCA initiatives confined to its Sister Cities?
Although the focus is on strengthening the relationship with Oranjestad’s sister cities, OASCA is free to venture out to other neighboring cities within the state to widen the impact of its initiatives.
Does OASCA promote tourism?
Tourism is not OASCA’s responsibility. The Aruba Tourism Authority, headquartered in New Jersey is tasked with Tourism & Travel responsibilities on behalf of Aruba. Since Oranjestad’s US sister cities are only accessible by long-distance travel the two organizations work closely together.
Does OASCA receive funding from governments?
OASCA functions independently from governments and pays for all its initiatives by soliciting donations, sponsorships and by applying for grants and collecting membership fees.
What is OASCA’s economic impact for Oranjestad-Aruba and its US Sister Cities?
Sister Cities international tabulates economic data and publishes economic impacts studies. OASCA has not yet acquired the capability to produce accurate impact data.