Please Welcome Deidre Gordon as Co-Chair of Lusaka

Please welcome Deidre Gordon to your ASCF Board of Directors, serving as the Co-Chair of the Albuquerque(ABQ)-Lusaka Committee. Working with the ABQ-Lusaka Committee both in New Mexico and Zambia, Ms. Gordon has already been having an impact in the Committee’s effort to provide much needed books (virtually and otherwise) for the various community libraries in Lusaka.
Ms. Gordon is a retired family therapist who worked with families and adolescents who were at risk of being removed from their homes due to their behavior. She holds a substance abuse license as well.  Still at Faith Works Counseling, Deidre currently serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator for their four New Mexico locations and the location in Missouri, where she interfaces with community members, other stakeholders, and potential referral sources. 
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, minoring in Political Science and African American Studies from The University of New Mexico (UNM). She then completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Phoenix in Counseling, specializing in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy.
Deidre is a member of Phillips Chapel CME Church, pastored by William W. Dorn. She is also a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc,, is the President of the UNM Black Alumni Chapter, and is a life member and state officer in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is a board member for Kinder Quest which oversees six Montessori Schools in New Mexico and Nevada, as well as a board member for Sprouting Compassion, a nonprofit vegan outreach community. She is the mother of one adult son, Dupri Grimes, who is an engineer in San Antonio, TX. 

Commemoration of Two-Year Invasion of Ukraine

February 24, 2024 marked the two-year anniversary of Russia’s recent invasion into Ukraine. The City of Albuquerque commemorated the solemn occasion by joining the Ukrainian Americans of New Mexico and Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation in a noon-day bell-ringing ceremony, followed by several speeches with representatives from Governor Grisham’s office, the New Mexico State Legislature, and the City of Albuquerque. 

Click here to read further from the Albuquerque Journal Article.

Help Ship Ambulance and Medical Supplies to Kharkiv

Help Ship Ambulance and Medical Supplies to Kharkiv

Help us meet our goal.

We’re raising money to buy and ship much needed medical equipment and supplies to Albuquerque’s newest sister city: Kharkiv, Ukraine. The war has ravaged buildings and depleted much needed supplies. An ambulance has already been donated, and we want to fill it and the remaining portion of a 40 ft shipping container. Please help the people of Kharkiv and Ukraine.

List of Medical Supplies Needed to Fill Ambulance:

Meds per each of the minimum 100 front line operation groups

Occlusal stickers with valves or drainage channel (100 pieces per set x 100 sets)

Nasopharyngeal airway tubes 60 pcs (smallest size- 2 pcs)

Hemostatic dressing 200 units

Israeli tactical and extremity tourniquets, black, SAM 200 pcs

Junctional tourniquets

Digit tourniquets

Pelvic splints an binders SAM 6 pcs

SAM splints 10 pcs

Schant’s cervical collar 2 pcs

Traction splints (femur)

Hydrogel bandages for burns             10 x 10 cm, 100 pcs

20 x 20 cm, 10 pcs

larger size, 10 pcs


Mobile dental office truck to service multiple stations

sturdy patient chair

dental lights

dental examination mirror

washer/ disinfectors

dentist cart

X ray machine


gloves and napkins

eighteenth hyperlight portable xray

portable ultrasound device (FAST) – 2 pcs

Help Kharkiv Youth Basketball Team Come to U.S.

Help Kharkiv Youth Basketball Team Come to U.S.

Help us meet our goal.

We’re raising money to make a difference through sports for the Youth of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Albuquerque’s newest Sister City. The “Push” Basketball Team was founded in 2022 by Eugene Pushkarev to provide a positive outreach for Kharkiv youths during the trauma of war. Albuquerque-Kharkiv are asking your help to bring the “Push” team and coaches to Albuquerque for  training with the ABC Academy and UNM Lobos for three weeks in 2024. Please join us in giving these youths a time away from the war where they can sleep each night without bombing and sirens. 
Help Kharkiv Youth Soccer Team Come to U.S.

Help Kharkiv Youth Soccer Team Come to U.S.

Help us meet our goal.

We’re raising money to make a difference through sports for the Youth of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Albuquerque’s newest sister city. Kids of War, a youth soccer team, was founded in 2022 by Ruslan Alikperov to provide a positive outreach for the Kharkiv youths during the trauma of war. Albuquerque-Kharkiv are asking your help to bring this team with their coaches to Albuquerque for New Mexico United youth camp with the New Mexico United professional players for three weeks in 2024. Let’s give these youths a time away from the war and be able to sleep each night without bombing and sirens.
Kharkiv becomes Albuquerque’s Newest Sister City

Kharkiv becomes Albuquerque’s Newest Sister City

June 29, 2023, marked the beginning of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s Sister Cities Partnership. The partnership established the 11th Sister City for Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation.

From New Mexico Trade Alliance, Celeste Nuñez:

Congratulations to the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Kharkiv, Ukraine on becoming Sister Cities! We couldn’t have been prouder to have played a role in the establishment of this relationship.

In our capacity as foreign relations advisors to the City of Albuquerque, we were at the table supporting the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation, and Sister Cities International in coordinating all the necessary steps to make this formal relationship a reality. 

Citizen diplomacy was born in the wake of World War II to empower peacemaking at the grassroots level. The war in Ukraine has reminded us of the importance of these efforts.We’re  inspired by Albuquerque’s leadership in answering the call for humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.

Former ASCF President takes on Zambia

Former ASCF President takes on Zambia

By Natassja Santistevan

Former President of Albuquerque Sister Cities, Richard Buckler, is starting a new journey. A long-standing member of the local chapter and leader in the “people-to-people” goal of Albuquerque Sister Cities, Richard has been granted the role by Sister Cities International of Zambia Country Representative.

Richard first became involved with Albuquerque Sister Cities in the early 1990s, when he was approached to help a 16-year-old from his church travel to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, one of Albuquerque’s Sister Cities which began in 1991.  He got involved with his first student exchange shortly after, writing grants and helping with a program through the United States Congress focused on building additional exchanges with the new Republics that had been a part of the former Soviet Union. After 12 years of being the co-chair/chair for Turkmenistan, working locally and leading student delegations, Richard became the President of the Albuquerque Sister Cities in 2008.

During his presidency, he met with a Zambian representative—Patrick Mapalo– who presented three Zambia cities for New Mexico to consider. Santa Fe and Clovis signed on for the Sister Cities program with Zambia.  Working with Mr. Mapalo and local African American leaders, such as Dr. Harold Bailey, Richard began the process for Albuquerque to have its first sister city in Africa—Lusaka, Zambia. After visits by Zambian officials in the Fall of 2014, Richard helped coordinate the 2015 reciprocal visit from Albuquerque to Zambia that finalized the Sister Cities’ agreement  between both cities. Shortly after, Richard stepped down from his role as Sister Cities President, and subsequently became the New Mexico State Representative for Sister Cities International.

Richard believes that successful Sister City programs are often built on strong cultural, educational, and economic ties—things that work together in synergistic ways. “We should join together with like-minded people from other countries.” Richard likes the strong emphasis in recent projects with Zambia on Education, supported by some New Mexico universities, such as the University of New Mexico’s “Sister Cities Scholarships” and Western Universities M.O.U. with the University of Lusaka to allow qualified students of both countries to enjoy in-state tuition.  Already, over 10 Zambian students have benefited with Western’s program.

He highlights at least two other programs from which he believes other Sister Cities will be able to benefit.
–the micro-loan Women Entrepreneurship program started by Los Angeles and headed up by Dr. Earnestine Robertson.
–the Honeybee project spearheaded by Patrick Mapalo, appointed in 2016 to be the Honorary Consul of Zambia for New Mexico, and who has already built 2000+ beehives that will allow many women in rural Kasama to be employed as beekeepers.

Richard’s current appointment by Sister Cities International is part of their Global Awareness program designed to promote countries like Zambia nationally. He hopes to expand on the current programs in New Mexico, and  longer term programs such as Los Angeles’ 55 year relationship with Zambia.

Knowing there is much to learn, Richard  believes that the foundation of friendship already in place can get other Cities interested in becoming Sister Cities with Zambia. Thus, his five-year goal is to help link five more cities in the US with Sister Cities programs with Zambia, leading to expanded sharing of best practices that will benefit all participants, allowing all involved to have “a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Welcome to Fabiola Melendez-Our new Guadalajara Co-Chair

Welcome to Fabiola Melendez-Our new Guadalajara Co-Chair

Fabiola Melendez was born in Chihuahua, Chihuahua Mexico. She grew up in Moriarty, New Mexico.

She was able to win a Latino American Award in 2016. She was also a College Facilitator for two years at Global Santa Fe. She had the pleasure of Studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain for a semester. This sparked her interest in International Relations.

Fabiola Melendez is the Program Operations Specialist for Q Station. She helps facilitate the space making sure all events and meetings run smoothly. She also facilitates foreign relations with the New Mexico Trade Alliance, a nonprofit economic development organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Fabiola graduated from the University of New Mexico. She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish. She also received a minor in German.

Stephen West: An Albuquerque Sister City Success Story

Stephen West: An Albuquerque Sister City Success Story

By Natassja Santistevan

 Is it easy to fall in love after a few weeks? According to Stephen West, a current resident of Japan, it is. Stephen recently visited the States and shared his experience with Albuquerque Sister Cities. After his involvement with the Albuquerque Sister City Japanese youth program, in which he visited Sister City Sasebo his senior year, he continued embracing the culture by learning Japanese and later enrolled in school, calling Japan his new home.

 Stephen was first introduced to the program when his own home was opened to Kento, a student from Sasebo. While the language could have been a bump in the relationship, the two boys bonded and even played a John Lennon song for a Sister City reception. The following year Stephen had the opportunity to stay with Kento’s family. He had been studying Japanese at UNM so he could communicate with his host family. They became extremely close. His host family had been a part of the youth program for 55 years so their bond resembles a true family. In his 3rd year at UNM and with 3 years of Japanese under his belt, Stephen applied to a program where archeologists could stay in Japan for two weeks and experience the museums and culture of Tokyo and Hokkaido. While the environment is memorable, the people left the biggest mark on Stephen. He explained “the people are very considerate, they’re very kind…our personalities align “. Culture shock is not uncommon, the biggest difference Stephen experienced between the US and Japan was the way people socialize. It’s not as common for people in Japan to entertain in their homes.  According to his experience, “usually you go out to a place, to a bar or something”, leaving the home for more intimate moments.

 West is currently enrolled in a Phd program and has been a resident of Japan since 2019 and hopes to work as a researcher or professor in Japanese Archeology. With less than 5 Americans in this field, he wants to “carry the torch” as an American archeologist.  Establishing yourself as a resident in Japan is a difficult process. Thankfully Stephen was more comfortable with the transition from his past visits.

 Stephen expressed gratitude for Albuquerque Sister City, stating he would never be on this path if it wasn’t for his enrollment in their youth program. When asked about the program he emphasized, “there are a lot of experiences you won’t get to do in America, it’s good to try out new things” and for those who are uncertain of studying abroad, “what do you have to lose”?

 From senior year to college graduate, Stephen’s story began with Albuquerque Sister City and their program continues to support his Japanese adventure and personal growth. Albuquerque Sister City is hopeful to bring student delegates to Sasebo again and is looking forward to seeing the benefits of the program on the newer students. Like Stephen, they aim to develop relationships with different cultures and people, bridging the gap between worlds and embracing opportunities.

ASCF President Pam Feather and Sasebo Committee Chairs Kazumi Kawakubo-Todman and Denise Terrazes meet with the West family over dinner to congratulate Stephen on his pursuit of his phD in Japan.

Thank You Ernesto Garcia for your Service!

ASCF thanks Ernesto Garcia for his dedicated service as our Guadalajara Chair for the past several years.  During his tenure as Chair, he helped coordinate ASCF’s involvement in the Sister Cities International’s 2018 All Mexico-US Sister Cities Mayors’ Summit held in Guadalajara.  Join us in wishing him all the best in his future endeavors.