Welcome to Fabiola Melendez: 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

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.

Welcome to Celeste Nuñez-New Guadalajara Chair

Celeste Nuñez is the Director of International Business Resources for the New Mexico Trade Alliance, a nonprofit economic development organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She connects companies from all over New Mexico with local, state, federal, and international export assistance resources to help them gain and grow international sales. Notably, Celeste manages the SBA-funded New Mexico State Trade Expansion Program Grant under the New Mexico Trade Alliance’s contract with the State of New Mexico.

Celeste is a 2020 U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) Next Gen Global Leader and a member of the USGLC New Mexico Advisory Board. In 2019, Celeste served as the organizer for the Albuquerque – Chihuahua Sister City Bilateral Commission, an Agreement with the objective of developing programs of mutual benefit in the areas of economic development, tourism and cultural exchange, public safety, and education. Additionally, Celeste contracts with local governments on other business development projects through her own consulting company.

Celeste graduated summa cum laude with a BBA from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management focusing on International Management and Marketing.

Connecting with our U.S. Embassy in Zambia

Spear-headed by Sister Cities International’s Africa Regional Coordinator Lorna Johnson and SCI Global Envoy Mary Palko, representatives from Los Angeles and Albuquerque/Clovis, New Mexico, met on-line February 3 with US Embassy Public and Cultural Affairs officers (Mr. Philip Dimon and Ms. Anamarie Karrels). Discussion centered on how to strengthen and grow sister city projects between the U.S. and Zambia.  In attendance for New Mexico were Pam Feather (ASCF president), Dr. Harold Bailey (ASCF Lusaka-Albuquerque Chair), Richard Buckler (SCI NM State Representative), Claire Burroughs (Clovis Assistant City Manager), and Patrick Mapalo (NM Honorary Consul for Zambia). Dr. Earnestine Robertson (President Lusaka-Los Angeles Committee) represented Los Angeles. 

Members Celebrate Winter Fest

On December 5 many of our Members met in person (following New Mexico Health Department guidelines) to celebrate Winter Fest. The event was hosted and catered by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and attendees were able to sample the wonderful cuisine of IPCC’s Harvest Kitchen, including chips-salsa-guacamole, three kinds of savory meatballs, green chile quesadillas, blue corn pancakes, and several kinds of fruit and cheese.   Entertainment was provided by soloist Hannah Stephens, Spanish classical guitarist Ron Manginell, Shamisen performer Masahiro Kamei, and the Tierra Adento of New Mexico Flamenco Dancers. The entertainment was live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube for  those who attended virtually.   

International Teas

International Teas

International Teas

Our annual International Tea Events look different this year due to the current pandemic challenges. We have planned alternative events through our Facebook livestream that will feature two of the 10 Sister Cities each month beginning with February 21, 2021 through June 13, 2021.

In the past, we have hosted an International Tea for the Albuquerque Community featuring the 10 Sister cities in one event at a local community center.

February 21, 2021 Rehovot, Israel and Lanzhou, China (click the date to watch the event) 
March 21, 2021 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and Hualien, Taiwan

April 25 Sasebo, Japan and Guadalajara, Mexico
May 23 Helmstedt, Germany and Chihuahua, Mexico
June 13 Lusaka, Zambia and Alburquerque, Spain

Tune in LIVE on Facebook or YouTube for presentations, Q&A, and more!
FB Live: http://bit.ly/Mach21 LIVE YOU TUBE: bit.ly/ABQSisterCities *FB Live will be the month and date listed above.

This is a fun, free opportunity to virtually experience two of our international sister cities and Learn about their culture.

Travel Update

Travel Update

Please Note: Update on Travel- Due to the continued Covid-19 pandemic, there will not be any outbound or inbound trips. ASCF will be monitoring and following USA guidelines as well as their twin city/country’s guidelines for travel.