Date: August 1, 2023 – For immediate release


Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions, Inc. (OSCAR) has won the 2023 Sister Cities International Award for Innovation in Youth and Education and Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance. The national event highlights the achievements of sister cities across the nation and provides international recognition for each community’s contributions within the citizen diplomacy movement. Sister Cities International established the Annual Awards Program in 1962 to recognize outstanding sister city programs. This year’s winners were announced at the Sister Cities International Conference, which was held on July 28th in Durham, North Carolina. 

The Innovation in Youth and Education Award was given in recognition of the efforts by OSCAR in hosting two impactful youth exchanges in 2022 – The  Gymnasium Olomouc – Hejčín High School Students Exchange and the Czech Republic Campanella Children’s Choir Exchange, who considered Owensboro, KY to be a highlight of their international visit to the U.S.

The Innovation in Humanitarian Assistance Award was given in recognition of OSCAR’s efforts in establishing a relief fund to aid Ukrainian refugees in Olomouc who had been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence in their country. Our sister city Olomouc in the Czech Republic worked closely with its partner city of Chernivtsi, Ukraine to provide humanitarian aid to the 50,000 Ukrainians who sought shelter at the refugee camp established at Chernivtsi University. Olomouc provided shelter to over 5,000 refugees, many of which were women with small children. Most of the Ukrainian refugees in Olomouc lost everything and many of them were seeking a permanent VISA to allow them to reside in Olomouc indefinitely. With the help of our community, OSCAR was able to raise $24,007.26 to provide much-needed assistance to those displaced by the crisis in Ukraine. Funds were donated to the Faculty Primary School Komenium and Kindergarten in Olomouc, and were used for the purpose of providing education to Ukrainian refugees, including education and activities as well as school materials and equipment.

When learning of the judging results, and that Owensboro was one of only 12 cities in the U.S. to earn international recognition at the event and one of only two cities in the U.S. to be awarded in more than one category, Michael Vanover, President of OSCAR, was very clear… “I’m blessed to be working along-side such devoted citizenry, and the city of Owensboro has much to be thankful for.”

Contact: Adrienne Carrico at Adrienne.Carrico@owensboro.org or 270-687-8561