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Santa Clara Sister Cities Association Hosts Seventh Annual Afternoon Tea

Peach essence and orange spice tea were poured at this year’s Santa Clara Sister Cities Association’s (SCSCA) seventh annual Afternoon Tea, held at the Santa Clara Senior Center on Feb. 4. On this year’s menu, the tea sandwiches were “caprese twist,” made of smooth pesto, soft mozzarella and juicy tomato on a baguette, pleasantly salty “ham pâté” on wheat bread with the crusts sliced off, and “tirokafteri,” bursting with Mediterranean flavors from the Greek spread of feta cheese, Kalamata olives and red bell pepper on herb-scented focaccia. Tedra Nikolai, Loretta Beavers and Ruth Lemmon co-chaired the event.

“Today we are fundraising for the SCSCA so we can send more students to our sister cities for exchanges,” said Raj Chahal, President of SCSCA. “We get a chance to expose our kids to different cultures. When the kids come back from these exchanges, they show they learned a lot about different cultures and this is true citizen diplomacy. It’s fun to be the president of the SCSCA. I get a lot of support from the board and the community.”

Chocolate fountains sat on each end of a long dessert table with plates of dip-friendly Rice Krispies treats, cream puffs, fresh pineapple slices and preserved fruit in between. Cellist Kevin Yu played soothing tunes on stage. Attendees purchased raffle tickets for prize packages, such as a personal pampering set, assorted teas, homemade chocolate chipped cookies on a wooden platter, lottery tickets in a silver frame and a basket of Valentine’s Day themed baking items.


One lucky raffle winner was Ivette Bookman, who scored more than one prize.

“I bought $50 worth of tickets,” Bookman said. “I won a basket of tea and a Valentine’s Day basket with chocolates and balloons. This event is excellent and it’s for a great cause.”

The SCSCA has relationships with Izumo, Japan; Coimbra, Portugal; and Limerick, Ireland.

On Sept. 11, 1956, the late President Dwight Eisenhower spoke at the White House’s People-to-People Conference where he promoted citizen diplomacy and started a program that became Sister Cities International.

“If we are going to take advantage of the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is for people to get together and to leap governments–if necessary to evade governments–to work out not one method but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little bit more of each other,” Eisenhower said.

To view a video of the speech and read more about the history of Sister Cities International, visit



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