Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter

Current Officers for May 2016 to May 2017


AJprofileIMG_6655Anthony Al-Jamie
President – SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Anaheim Sister City Commission
  • Los Angeles Nagoya Sister City Affiliation

Anthony Al-Jamie is an interculturally-minded journalist, publisher and educational entrepreneur, who lived and worked in Japan for some 20 years. His Japanese language skills and in-depth understanding of the Japanese culture, combined with his passion for intercultural relations and education paved the way for his success in Asia. During his two decades in Japan, he successfully established a chain of English language schools, with schools located throughout Saitama and Tokyo prefectures. Through these schools, he ran an English language program for members of the Advanced and Basic Officers Courses at the Japan Self Defense Force Training Grounds in Asaka, Saitama for over a decade. Anthony served as an International Advisory Council Member to the Governor of Saitama, Japan and was the only non-Japanese Member of the Wako-shi Rotary Club. During the mid-1990s, he played an instrumental part in pioneering online education through his role in the development of Anaheim University, an accredited online institution of higher learning with students residing in 35 countries around the world. In addition to his work in higher education, he is the Executive Editor and Publisher of the Asia Journals and their flagship publication the Tokyo Journal, Japan’s leading English lifestyles and culture magazine. He is President of Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter, Vice-Chair of the Anaheim Sister City Commission and Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles-Nagoya Sister Cities Affiliation.

Click here to read the President’s Message.

TomsPic_8672Tom Hersant
Vice-President – SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors

Tom Hersant had previously served Sister Cities International as Membership Chair and is a founding director and the current president of the Carlsbad Sister City Ambassadors (CSCA) of Carlsbad, CA. Carlsbad has two sister cities: Futtsu, Japan and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Tom spent his career as a public administrator with the State of California as Regional Manager for Child Care Licensing for San Diego and Imperial counties and a similar position of residential care facilities for dependent adults and children, and the State Personnel Board. He is a KPBS reader and recorder of books; and actor with several local theater groups including the CSCA plays at Schulman.See pictures of the cities and the visits at:

 Charles RiggsCharles Riggs
Treasurer – SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors


  • Palm Desert Sister Cities Foundation

Charles Riggs’ junior year was in a branch of Wagner College in Bregenz, Austria. He finished his B. A. Degree in German and Chemistry at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas and returned after graduation on a Rotary Exchange Scholarship to Berlin. He then completed a professional degree, a Master of Divinity, at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and did parish work as a pastor on campus, in a pastoral staff, and in solo pastorates. Charles retired after 39 years in ministry. In 2008, he joined Rotary International and through partnership projects became involved with the Palm Desert Sister Cities Foundation in 2010, attending Sister City International conventions in Jacksonville and Washington, D.C. Charles served as Vice President of the Palm Desert Sister Cities Foundation until his recent election to president for the 2016-2018 term. Palm Desert partners with Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico and Gisborne, New Zealand.

BraceyDavid Bracey
Secretary – SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Los Angeles Nagoya Sister City Affiliation

A former resident of Tokyo and Saitama, Japan for nearly two decades, David Bracey works as an administrator for Anaheim University in Anaheim, California. Prior to moving to Southern California, David directed the Career Management Center at the Anaheim University Akio Morita Learning Center in Tokyo, Japan. A member of the Los Angeles Nagoya Sister City Affiliation, David Bracey brings his knowledge and experience in Japan and other Asian countries to the Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter. David has worked and traveled throughout Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam over the past 20 years.

judymaculsayJudy Maculsay
Membership Chair – SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Tachikawa-San Bernardino Sister City Committee

Judy Maculsay has been a member of the Tachikawa-San Bernardino Sister City Committee since 1992 when her daughter was chosen to represent San Bernardino and spend a month in Tachikawa, Japan. Judy has served as the chairperson of the committee and has traveled to Tachikawa, Japan for the 45th Anniversary. She co-chaired the 50th Anniversary celebration between the two cities in 1959, which was held in San Bernardino. Recently, she has been the chairperson for selection of students to go to Tachikawa. She works alongside Jeanette Avila and is actively involved in fundraising projects. She most recently worked with Jeanette and Michael Avila to raise funds for the Sister City Sign Post which won an award at the Sister Cities International Conference 2014.

Judy taught eighth grade special education for twenty-seven years in Fontana, Calif. and has been retired since 2008. She loves playing golf and being with her grandchildren. Recently Judy and Jeanette Avila shared the Citizen of Achievement Award 2014 presented by the League of Women Voters of San Bernardino, in recognition of their contributions that improved the quality of life in the community.

Jeanette Avila
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Tachikawa-San Bernardino Sister City Committee

Jeanette Avila is an active member of Tachikawa San Bernardino Sister City Committee, Inc. She began her involvement in 1980 when she was selected by the committee to travel to Tachikawa, Japan as a student ambassador. She continued her involvement through her college years while attending the University of California, Riverside where she attained a Bachelor of Science degree in business. She married her husband, Michael Avila and raised their three children, Christopher, Jennifer and Michael Jose while operating her own business. Her daughter, Jennifer was a student ambassador in 2009 and is currently the program’s College Mentor. Her family is actively involved in the Tachikawa San Bernardino Sister City program and they enjoy participating in the program’s many fundraisers which Jeanette has implemented during her committee involvement.

Presently, Jeanette homeschools her son, Michael Jose, cares for her family and devotes many hours to the Tachikawa San Bernardino Sister City Committee, Inc. She is a board member and serves as the treasurer-corporate secretary. Fundraising is the primary focus of her 35 years of involvement.

She, together with Judy Maculsay, received the Citizen of Achievement Award in 2014 from the League of Women Voters of San Bernardino. She has been recognized by many city and state organizations for her outstanding contributions to the community.

jenniferavilaJennifer Avila
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors
SOCAL Young Professionals Committee

  • Tachikawa-San Bernardino Sister City Committee

At a very young age, Jennifer Avila became involved with the Tachikawa San Bernardino Sister City Committee, Inc. Her family’s involvement began with her mother, Jeanette Avila, a past Tachi-kid of the 50+ year exchange program. Jennifer will be graduating with her Associate’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences. She will transfer to Cal State University San Bernardino in Fall 2016 where she will attain her Bachelors of Science in Computer Science, specializing in Cyber Security. She is currently the lead College Mentor and Historian for San Bernardino’s exchange program. Having been an exchange student herself, she understands the special bond created between families in different countries despite the language and cultural barriers; as well as what it takes to keep these exchange programs going strong. She hopes that her enthusiasm and passion for international friendship and exchange inspires others to step up and volunteer.

Jeffrey Jarow
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Santa Monica Sister Cities Association

Jeffrey has lived in Santa Monica since 1977, married to Faye, and has a son Morgan. He been a real estate agent since 1983. Prior to joining PAR Commercial, he worked with Great Western Bank (REO department). He represented the Resolution Trust Corp (RTC) disposing of bank properties when they failed, and represented the City of Los Angeles, and consummated a sale for their Planning and Building and Safety Departments in West Los Angeles. Jeff has a successful history working with office, industrial, and retail listings in both leasing and sales. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Executive Board of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and Chairs the ‘Alliance’ Growth and Development Committee working directly with the City of Santa Monica’s Planning and Building and Safety Departments. He was appointed by the Santa Monica City Council to an eight year term of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Board and had served as its Chair for his last two years on that board. Jeff is also the President of the Santa Monica Sister City Association and is currently on the Boards of the Santa Monica Family YMCA, Santa Monica Symphony, Santa Monica Viking Baseball, Santa Monica Viking Band, Main St Business Improvement District (MSBID) and PTA Legislative Chair for Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI). Jeff is the co-founder and organizer of the Santa Monica 4th of July Parade on Main St.

MartiGarciaMarti Correa de Garcia
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee

Marti Correa de Garcia is and has been an active part of the Santa Barbara Community since 1979. She has served on numerous community non-profit boards and currently serves as a board member of the Friendship Center of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee and Southern California Sister Cities Association. Her other current activities include City Council appointment, member-at-large of the Santa Barbara Sister Cities Board where she currently serves as board secretary. Marti is also a current member of the Westmont College Art Council. Marti enjoys collecting Mexican artwork and her collection of lithographs has been displayed at the Westmont College Art Museum. She has served as the administrator of Garcia Architects Inc. since 1979. Ms. Correa was a founding member and board member of Business First Bank. She launched T.Y.R.E.S. Inc., a tire recycling company and ran it for six years before selling the company. Along with two other women she was the general partner of Coast TV, a company that received a permit to build a television station in Santa Barbara, after building a broadcast tower the permit and tower were sold to a major broadcasting entity. Marti served as Chairman of the Board for the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce in 1998, is past president and current treasurer of the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee and is past-president of 
Zona Seca, a substance abuse counseling center. Marti is the recipient of numerous community awards, including 1994 Women of Distinction-Tres Condados Girl Scout Council, 1996 Santa Barbara News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award, 1998 Girls, Inc.-Saluting 40 Years of Service Award, 1998 Business Digest-Latino Business Person of the Year, and 2006 Sister Cities International-Distinguished Volunteer Award.

ConnieGoertzConnie Goertz
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • San Diego/Leon, Guanajuato Sister Cities Society and El Cajon, San Diego de Alcala, Azusa, Downey, Santa Barbara Sister City Committees

Retired from City of San Diego City Attorney ’s office. Involved with Sister Cities programs activities since 1975. Current Vice President of San Diego/Leon, Guanajuato Sister Cities Society. Also, member of El Cajon, San Diego de Alcala, Azusa, Downey, Santa Barbara Sister City Committees. Volunteer at Hamilton Glaucoma/Shiley Eye Center, Vietnam Veterans of S.D. and Volunteers of America. Junior Partner of Wits II Women’s Investment Club. Member of UCSD Oceanside, International Friends, Garden Club and Winetasters.

 Don GoertzDon Goertz
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • San Diego/Leon, El Cajon, Azusa, Downey, San Diego de Alcala and Santa Barbara Sister City Committees
  • San Diego International Affairs Board

Don Goertz, a graduate of Kansas State University (Architecture & Engineering), is a member of AIA (American Institute of Architects) and CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) as well as a retired Navy Captain. Involved with Sister City Programs since 1975, he is Past President of the U.S./Mexico Sister City Association, Past President and member of the San Diego International Affairs Board, Vice President of the U.S./Mexico International Board and member of the San Diego/Leon, El Cajon, Azusa, Downey, San Diego de Alcala and Santa Barbara Sister City Committees. Outside of sister cities organizations, he is a volunteer at Vietnam Veterans of San Diego and Volunteers of America.

 Don GoertzMargaret Saavedra
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Santa Barbara / Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Group

After 30+ years as a school office manager and 20+ years as a member and president of the Classified School Employees Union, Margaret Saavedra retired from the local city schools in 2011. She then joined the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Group and is currently in her second year as president. She attended the Sister City International Conference in Washington DC in 2016 where her club received the Award for Best Overall Program with a population of 50,000 to 100,000. Margaret is also a member of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara, a philanthropic organization that helps many lower income families, seniors and other worthwhile organizations. She particularly enjoys being a member of Kids on the Block, a program that uses life size puppets to teach safety rules and good behavior to preschool and primary school students.

 Susan Stone
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • Bakersfield Sister City Project Corp.

Susan Stone, a retired English and social studies teacher, has been a member of the board of Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation since 1996. During her tenure on the board, she has served as treasurer, vice-president, and president, and is the co-chair of the Bakersfield-Wakayama Sister Cities Committee. When she joined the BSCPC board in 1996, SoCal and NorCal Sister Cities hosted the first all-California Sister Cities Conference in Bakersfield, and Mrs. Stone served as the treasurer for that event. While serving as BSCPC President, she oversaw the Bakersfield-Wakayama 50th Anniversary celebration, which included a Children’s Matsuri, a joint concert by the Wakayama Children’s Choir and two local choirs, and a Barbecue & Hoedown. Over the years. Mrs. Stone has visited three of Bakersfield’s sister cities: Bucheon, South Korea (2015); Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico (2010 for Mexico’s Bicentennial); and Wakayama, Japan (6 times—4 times as the leader of youth ambassadors).

WilliamTWilliam Tarpai
SOCAL Sister Cities Board of Directors

  • International Relations Council of Riverside

William, a resident of Riverside, enjoys being a Globalization Consultant and Peace-Building, promoting private sector business development between Riverside and its 9 sister cities. He went to school in Riverside County, (Norte Vista HS; Riverside City College, and California State University San Bernardino (BA; MPA). One of his first jobs was as an Administrative Intern with the City of Riverside, working in the Mayor’s office, which instilled the importance of public service. He has been a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, a United Nations Volunteer in Somalia, and Peace Corps staff (including opening the Peace Corps office in Bulgaria after the fall of the ‘Iron Current’). He was active with the American Red Cross efforts supporting the “Measles Initiative’, resulting in more then a billion lives positively affected. Now in the Post-2015 era, he supports Agenda 2030 aimed at eliminating poverty and extreme hunger by 2030. He is a strong believer in helping our young people learn about the 7 fundamental principles of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. A retired, career professional officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he also served as a Franklin Fellow with the US Department of State Conflict and Stabilization Operation Bureau. He is actively involved, helping students and young professionals learn new skill sets that will make them competitive for jobs around the world, urging them to become aware and involved with the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) challenge. The SDGs provide a powerful instrument for ‘…leveraging transformative change in the way government development decisions are made, and how economies function’.

Gil Garcia
Gil Garcia
At-Large Non-Voting Appointee, Advisory Board

Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee

Gil Garcia is a practicing architect intensely involved in civic affairs. He started his firm, Garcia Architect Inc. in 1977. He has designed and built various single-family residences and multi-family residence projects in Santa Barbara in addition to commercial and institutional buildings throughout California. Gil is an active member of Rotary Club Santa Barbara North serving as president in 1989 where he generates cooperative alliances with Sister Cities and other organizations for the development of Social and Economic impact projects and programs in Mexico and Africa. He was appointed and then elected as a Council Member of the City of Santa Barbara and during his 10 years (1992-2002) in public office he was active in the League of California Cities serving as president on the Community Services Policy Committee, president of the Local Government Commission, and Vice President of the National League of Cities Human Development Policy Committee. His sister cities activities include: Past board member of Sister Cities International (2013 to 2015), Past President of Southern California Sister Cities International (2013-2016), current member of Santa Barbara/Patras Greece and Toba Japan Sister City Committees. His activities in US/Mexico relations include: Past board member and president of US/Mexico Sister Cities Association, Current board member of the Federation of Jalisco Clubs of Southern California, current Honorary board member Sister Cities International serving as Senior Liaison US/Mexico relations, President MEXUSA International Foundation and, Delegate to the Mexico Sister Cities Association of America where his responsibility is to assist the president in organizing citizen based sister city committees in cities throughout Mexico. He is current board member and past president of Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Sister City Committee. Mr. Garcia is a recipient of numerous community awards, including University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Honorary Alumni Award, Santa Barbara News-Press 1996 Life Time Achievement Award, 1993 Santa Barbara Man of the Year award and various other civic awards and honors.

Young Professionals Committee

Anthony Al-Jamie, Executive Chair



Version 2
Allison Shoemaker
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee Chair

Mio Hayashi
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee

Melody Hirayama
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee

Ty Kamiyama
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee

Christen Kang
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee

Fiona Pitt
SOCAL Sister Cities Young Professionals Committee

State Representatives

PatFallinPat Fallin
SCI – State Representative – Central, North and Northwest: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties
Mrs. Fallin has served more than (12) years as Vice President and Secretary of the board for Sister Cities International. She also has served for (4) years as a Sister City State Coordinator in Colorado where she was a member of the Aspen City Council . Mrs. Fallin has worked on many fund raising projects for Colorado’s Sister Cities program and numerous community organizations. Mrs. Fallin continues to serve Sister Cities International as a member of the Finance and Membership Committees. Over the years, Mrs. Fallin’s focus was membership development.Moving closer to family, Mrs. Fallin recently made a move to Southern California and serves as a member of the Santa Barbara, Puerta Vallarta Sister City Program. Mrs. Fallin brings of wealth of experience to the SOCAL board and her local sister city program.

KathleenRocheTanseyKathleen Roche Tansey
SCI – State Representative – Southeast: Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties to the Arizona Border
Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Southern California. She did post-graduate studies at the University of Valencia in Spain and the Goethe Institute in Berlin. Kathleen is a retired educator and District Counselor for San Diego Unified School District. She lived in Berlin for two years, teaching at the US Department of Defense school. Kathleen is the former Chair of the International Affairs Board for the City of San Diego. In 1993, she was elected founding President of the San Diego International Sister Cities Association. In 2001, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Sister Cities International (SCI) for two terms and served as Secretary of the Board. Since 2007 she has been a State Coordinator for SCI and a member of the Conference and Membership Committees. She is a member of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club and serves as Co-Chair of the International Service Committee. Through Rotary she has raised funds for water and sanitation projects at five school in Indonesia and an HIV/AIDS Clinic in Bali. Most recently she supported the introduction of a digital learning project to a rural area of Fiji. Her Rotary Club is supporting her Sister School project in San Diego and their partner school in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Gil Garcia                                Santa Barbara                     Past President May 2013-2016

Michael Vaughn                                 Long Beach                      Past President May 2012-2013

Frank Tripicchio                               Bakersfield                      Past President May 2011-2012

Stelle  Feuers                                   Los Angeles                     Past President  2010-2011

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