The Worthington International Friendship Association


Exchange of children's artwork between Sayama children and students at Evening Street Elementary School Known for its friendly neighborhoods and numerous community events, the City of Worthington has worked to foster an environment where people can connect and get to know each other.  But did you know the City also provides opportunities for people to meet and connect with friends on the other side of the world?  It's all possible thanks to the Worthington International Friendship Association (WIFA), which exists to create intercultural friendships and to help its members experience and embrace cultural differences. WIFA adheres to the philosophy that in order to thrive in today’s global community, we must educate ourselves about our differences.

WIFA was formed in 1994 following a visit from a delegation from Sayama, Japan. The delegation was touring central Ohio in hopes of forming a sister-city relationship. Pleased with the welcome they received in Worthington, the Sayama International Friendship Association (SIFA) invited Worthington to become Sayama’s friendship city.  Five years later they officially became sister-cities and have enjoyed a wonderful relationship for the past 15 years.

The cities often participate in cultural exchanges involving schools, musical groups, libraries and community organizations. And visitors from both Worthington and Sayama visit their sister-city each year. These visitors stay with host families, which provides an opportunity to fully experience a new way of life.

WIFA, which has more than 130 members, hosts monthly events such as dinners, lectures, slide shows and discussion groups.  The events are open to the public and serve to educate and form a dialogue surrounding intercultural differences. The organization also hosts an annual International Dinner that celebrates the sights, sounds and tastes of another country. This year’s dinner highlighted the country of Japan and celebrated the 15th anniversary of Worthington’s relationship with Sayama.

For more information on WIFA or to get involved in one of the organization's many events and opportunities, including joining a delegation to Japan or serving as a future host family, visit

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