The founder of Fort Wayne Sister Cities International is the national organization’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year.
Sister Cities International gave Howard L. Chapman the award to honor his work as an exemplary volunteer to the sister city movement. Chapman was the first president of Fort Wayne Sister Cities International and currently serves as a board member emeritus.
Chapman founded the group after visiting his brother in Seattle and seeing a Japanese shrine, which was a gift from Seattle’s sister city Kobe, Japan.
Takaoka, Japan, became Fort Wayne’s sister city in 1977. In the following years, Fort Wayne has added Gera, Germany; Plock, Poland; and Taizhou, China, as sister cities.
In 2015, Fort Wayne added Mawlamwyine, Myanmar, as a friendship city.
Chapman and his wife, Betsy, created the Chapman Exchange Students Scholarship Program in 2002, endowing it with nearly $1 million. The endowment generates more than $30,000 annually for students age 14 to 21 to travel from Fort Wayne to any of the sister cities and vice versa. To date, $238,000 has been awarded to 163 students.
Chapman and other award winners will be honored July 16 at the Lou Wozar Diplomatic Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.