Building Bridges of International Understanding and Goodwill

Our mission is to promote the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Sister Cities Association, Inc., as ambassadors of international friendship and goodwill. The mission is accomplished through programs such as student, educational, cultural and economic development exchanges, which create long-term international partnerships.

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Message from the President

"The world is a very large place, yet in so many ways we are ONE community."

Dear Scottsdale Sister Cities Members, Supporters, and Friends,

It is my privilege to follow in the footsteps of so many wonderful past presidents and to work with a very dedicated board of directors, and our members of all ages.  I am so excited about our new web site, which will be so much easier to navigate and help keep our members and the public apprised of what SSCA is up to now, and in the future.

I’m struck in these tumultuous times how easily we can find ourselves retracting – moving away from an international, interconnected perspective and understanding.  The world is, on one hand, a very large place, yet in so many ways we are ONE community.  Though it is sometimes hard to remember this fundamental fact.  SSCA takes our mission seriously:  to build bridges of understanding between our community and those in other parts of the world.  The friendships and relationships that have been birthed through SSCA are but one way to remind us all that “Out of Many, We Are One” (this year’s theme of Sister Cities International’s Young Artists program).  We are celebrating our anniversary - FIFTY years!  For fifty years dedicated people have reached across our borders and expanded the boundaries of our views and understanding of others’ customs.  The current SSCA walks in the footsteps of a long contingent of people who walked ahead of us, some who are no longer with us, and the many people who continue to share in our mission.  


The past decade saw an amazing expansion to building these bridges – we’ve expanded from four Sister Cities to our current eight.  It has brought an amazing expansion of our youth programs and increased the number of student participants.  We are so proud of our students, as we watch them broaden their horizons and perspectives, as they gain a recognition of the wider world and an accompanying understanding of the world’s similarities and differences. The growth in their awareness of the challenges that are faced by us all is awesome. We are so grateful to the parents who support us, and their children with our mission and programs.   


We thank all of our members – we couldn’t do what we do without you!  Each of our Sister Cities has an organizing committee, generally coordinated by a board member, and includes interested SSCA members.  If you have a favorite city or have an interest in a specific city, please consider joining a city committee. I hope you, and your families and your friends will join with us in some of our many activities and programs.


Thank you,



Our Board of Directors


Sandra Zally

Vice President and Youth Art and Author's Showcase

Sandra Zally studied Fine Art at U. of Southern Maine, and Advertising Art at MCCC. She has created fine art programming for Scottsdale Artists' School, Phoenix Center for the Arts, Phoenix & Peoria Youth Theaters, City of Phoenix Community Centers, Senior Centers, and Arizona State Fair. She currently serves as Youth & Outreach Director for Scottsdale Artists' School, and Department Head for Youth Art & Teen Artist Guild at Phoenix Center for the Arts.


Susan Salembier


Holds a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin and has lived in the Valley since 1986. Her career spans positions in sales, Techline Studio ownership, and as a pre-school teacher's aide. She currently volunteers for Duet, Ballet Arizona, Old Town Scottsdale Garden Club, and serves on the SSCA Killarney Committee. She and her husband, Joe, are avid travelers and joined SSCA about 3 years ago.


Kathy George

Past President 2016-2018 and Membership Committee Chair

Received an MA from ASU. Enjoyed 28 years as an Organizational Consultant for a national association with a focus on strategic planning for effective membership recruitment, retention and engagement. Trained contract negotiations, legislative advocacy, political action and leadership development skills.


Joann Garner

Killarney Chair

After being raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, earned a B.A in Communication Disorders from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Later in career, earned an M.B.A. from Central Michigan University. In early career positions, served as a public-school speech pathologist and a Head Start Director in rural Wisconsin. After moving to California and Colorado respectively, served in domestic and international leadership capacities for fortune 500 companies in training, sales, marketing and project management. After moving to Scottsdale in 2001, served as a director of information technology project management for a Scottsdale-based blood banking corporation until retirement in 2015. Volunteer experience includes children’s rights advocacy, parental education community service, non-profit board training, and animal rescue and adoption.


Kyle Polen

Junior Board Advisor

Current student at ASU Barrett's Honor College. Former SSCA Youth Ambassador


Bob Rink

Alamos Committee Chair

Bob is a freelance photographer and has a house in Alamos. He served as the city of Phoenix’s photographer for 25 years, and currently assists local governments, organizations and non-profits with their photography needs. His photography has appeared in numerous publications, including Arizona Highways, Arizona Republic, Boston Globe, Mesa Tribune, New Times, Phoenix Business Journal, Sunset Magazine, The Oregonian, USA Today and Washington Post. Bob is also involved with Through Each Others Eyes, a group of Phoenix area photographers who promote global cultural understanding through photography. He has completed exchanges between Phoenix and the following communities: Himeji, Japan; Havana, Cuba; Hermosillo, Mexico; Baguio, Philippines and recently, Cairns, Australia. He and his sister have developed an annual international photo festival with the Sonoran Cultural Institute in Alamos, Mexico, which travels throughout the state of Sonora and Arizona. He is currently serving on the board of the Japanese Friendship Garden located in downtown Phoenix.


Suzan Austin

Kingston Committee Chair

Born in Orange, New Jersey. BA and MA from University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Taught high school English in Burlington, NC for 10 years. Moved the Scottsdale in 1980. Taught English and was a staff developer in the Phoenix Union High School District for 20 years. Retired in 2004 from position as English Department Chair at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix. Member and former officer of the Calgary Committee of Phoenix Sister Cities. Vice President, Annual Meeting Chair, and Chapters Chair of the Arizona Education Association – Retired.


Megan Young

Social Media Chair

Megan works in the SCC Office of Civic & Global Engagement as the Community College Initiative Program Coordinator. She has experience in non-profit management as the former Executive Director of the Welcome To America Project and local organizations. Megan is a Scottsdale native with a passion for culture, hospitality and adventure.


Claude Bobin

Marketing Committee Chair

Has over 30 years of experience in domestic and international growth strategies. He has demonstrated expertise in developing and implementing Marketing & Sales Programs for both off-line and on-line markets. He worked for the Gerland group, a subsidiary of British Petroleum and progressed from Export Manager to Executive Vice President / U.S. subsidiary. Claude is presently President of T-MedRobotics, promoting a robotized telemedicine system for Ultrasonography without Borders. He was a Board Member for the last 6 years with Phoenix Sister Cities and Chair of the Phoenix-Grenoble Committee.


Michael Kuzel

Marketing Committee

BS Engineering, MS Engineering and MS in psychology from ASU. Mike moved from Ohio to AZ in 1988. Formerly a Principal Engineer at a National Forensic Engineering Firm and now as Principal Engineer and owner of his own Engineering firm. Mike enjoys travel with his family and endurance sports both participating, as well as watching. Mike and his wife have 2 daughters who have completed several international SSCA exchanges. Mike is a firm believer in the benefits of language learning and exposure to other cultures as a mean of promoting both personal growth, as well as exchange of ideas for the benefit of industry and development.


Donna Hartz


A climatologist, with a PhD from ASU and a specialization in climate and health issues. Her research is widely published, and she has had the opportunity to present her research at conferences around the world. She has a passion for encouraging science education in the schools, and a yearning for exploration and travel - visiting 80+ countries on all seven continents.


Neil Ciarfalia


BA & MBA Stanford University. Former CFO of Aztar Corp, ran worldwide customer finance function for SAAB Aircraft.


Lisa E White

Immediate Past President 2018-2020

BA in Education and Psychology from ASU. MAE in Counseling from NAU. Retired after 30 years from Scottsdale Schools and then five at Paradise Valley Community College. Wrote curriculum for Scottsdale Schools and University of Phoenix. Taught in Interlaken, Switzerland for nine months on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. Has helped coordinate ten student exchanges to Interlaken. Docent at the Phoenix Art Museum. Volunteers in schools with at-risk students with Gabriel’s Angels with her dog, The Dude.


Zosha Darnell

Teacher Advisor Chair and liaison with SUSD

BA Spanish Teaching and MA TESOL from Central Washington University. Spent time studying in Mexico and Morocco and two years working in Spain. Spanish teacher at Arcadia high and liaison between SUSD and SSCA Board. She is passionate about the sharing of cultures and languages.


George Hartz

Past President 2012-2014, Cairns Committee Chair

BA Georgetown University. Retired Senior Vice President of CIGNA where he managed international reinsurance business with clients in over 120 countries. He currently provides expert witness consulting for international disputes. George is past Chairman of Scottsdale’s Historic Preservation Commission, director and past President of the Friends of the Library, and on the state and local Boards of the Arizona Historical Society. Signed Uasin Gishu, Kenya as a Sister City during his presidency.


Craig Miller

Past President 2014-2016

Member of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, where he was President in 2007-2008 and is Past President of the Scottsdale Rotary Foundation board. Craig served as President and Finance Chair of the Friends of the Scottsdale Public Library, and headed the capital campaign to build the library system's first Teen Learning Center. Craig is a long term member of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and Boy Scouts of America having earned the Eagle Scout. Signed Killarney, Ireland as a Cupla City during his presidency.


Emily Wininger

Experience Scottsdale

Born into a military family, Emily moved between 10 states throughout her childhood before settling in Arizona to attend college at ASU. Emily graduated with a BS in Psychology, a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, a minor in Women Studies and an honors degree from Barrett Honors College where she defended an original thesis on social media practices in the luxury hospitality segment. Emily worked in the travel and tourism public relations sector in Las Vegas for MGM Resorts International and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Emily has since relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona and currently serves as the Tourism Sales Manager for Experience Scottsdale overseeing international tourism efforts and is glad to be back in her desert home.


Moulay Zougari

Marrakech Committee Chair

Born in Marrakech, Morocco. BS in computer science from University of Texas. Senior Software Engineer and project management from 1993 to present. CEO and proprietor of a Scottsdale restaurant. Member of Scottsdale Soccer League.


Janine Bobin


Possesses 30 years of experience in fundraising and management of non-profit organizations. Successfully develops and provides creative, well-planned and executed cultural events and educational programs. Expertise in public relations. Ability to identify and cultivate appropriate networking. President of Alliance Francaise of Greater Phoenix.


Margaret Lehn

Youth Committee

Born and raised in Scottsdale, AZ. Margaret has her BS in Psychology and an MAS in Infant Mental Health both from ASU. After briefly living in Ireland, Margaret fell in love with international travel. The focus of her career has been early childhood education, including time spent as the school counselor for a local, private language immersion school in Scottsdale. Margaret is currently employed as a Parent Educator with a local Tribal Community and Margaret and her husband own a consulting firm. Margaret and her husband have 2 daughters who have completed exchanges with Scottsdale Sister Cities and have reciprocated hosting students in their home.


Linda Leprovost

Administrator and webmaster