Sister Cities Commission

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Sister Cities Commission

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The Sister Cities Commission provides leadership and recognition of the Sister Cities Program, the Village's partnership with Sister City Angoulême, France, promotes elements of the Sister City to the citizens of Hoffman Estates and offers opportunities for education and exchange.


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Upcoming Events

Sister Cities Commission Meeting
When: Third Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m.
Where: Frank Alexa Training Room
Hoffman Estates Village Hall
1900 Hassell Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169



Past Events
See past event highlights on this page (below) or view all details for each event (PDF)

Monet, Manet, Renoir: Models, Mistresses, Muses  
On Saturday, April 22, the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities and Celebrations Commissions jointly hosted an afternoon with French art and culture expert Tish Robinson. Ms. Robinson helped bring to life the inspiration behind the iconic paintings of the Impressionist Masters: Monet, Manet and Renoir. Their paintings all feature familiar images of beautiful young women bathed in sunlight and shadow and depicted in public and private settings in Paris and the surrounding countryside. The fascinating and often poignant tales of these women as models, mistresses, and muses were brought to life, illustrated by these legendary artists.     


French Evening 2016 Cheese tableA Night in Paris - French Evening  
On the evening of Tuesday, October 25th the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission hosted their 19th Annual French Evening, but this year the evening included a Parisian twist! Instead of the traditional four course meal, guests were treated to a night in Paris: City of Lights, complete with a market, a mime, and a caricaturist. Guests were ushered into the Sears Centre under the warm glow of street lamps and the Eiffel Tower, a scene that was trés enchantée. As visitors to Paris approached, they were greeted by the sight of un marché Parisien, or a Parisian market.

See all French Evening event details (PDF)

French Evening 2016 Crepes

Mural Painting with Local CartoonistCloseup with kids
On June 4, 2016 at the Hoffman Estates Branch Library, children ages 8-13 painted a mural with local cartoonist Geoff Bevington. Mr. Bevington traveled traveled to Sister City Angouleme, France to participate in the 43rd Festival International de la Bande Dessinée 2016 (the international comic festival), January 2016.

See the final mural and event summary (PDF)

See full news story and event details (PDF) 

Geoff and final group of kids 

2016 Bon Appetit Food Festival  
The Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce was delighted to bring back the Bon Appétit Community Food and Drink Festival. Featuring delicious cuisine and liquor samples from over 20 restaurants and distilleries, the event hosted 290 people on Thursday, April 21, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre. Guests had an opportunity to judge cupcakes prepared by culinary students from Elgin Community College and Harper College.  

Congratulations to the winners of the Bon Appétit Cupcake Contest:

First Place     Char Vale & Marissa Luise - Harper College 
Second Place   Joe McGovern - Harper College 
Honorable Mention    Gabrielle Vaz and Marissa Ramos - Elgin Community College 
Honorable Mention    Jennifer Ivansco - Elgin Community College 

Prize money for first and second place kindly provided by Tate & Lyle. Honorable mention prize money generously provided by Hoffman Estates Community Bank. Thank you to these sponsors for supporting culinary education!

Historical Portrayal of Coco Chanel
The Sister Cities Commission hosted a historical portrayal of Coco Chanel, presented by Annette Baldwin, former fashion director for Marshall Field's. Annette will explore the life and experiences of Coco Chanel. View the "Little Black Dress" creations and Chanel-inspired jackets designed and created by students from the Harper College Fashion Studies program. Attendees cast their vote for their favorite designs; prizes were awarded to winners. The event took place on Tuesday, April 19 at the Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club. Read a detailed summary of the event (PDF)

Congratulations to our Coco Chanel Design Event winners:

Little Black Dress Competition:   Winner - Jennifer Hanna
  Honorable Mention - Melissa Schultz (Mishel) 
Chanel-inspired Jacket: Winner - Diana Park
  Honorable Mention - Violeta Popescu

Thomas Jefferson: Seduced by France
Eiffel Tower display
The Commission celebrated National French Week on Saturday, November 7, 2015, with a program and French-inspired luncheon. The program entitled "Thomas Jefferson: Seduced by France" was a slide presentation, narrated by Tish Robinson, on the five years Thomas Jefferson resided in France as America's Minister to France from 1784 to 1789. See more about this outstanding and well-received program (PDF)

Group at Jefferson event 

Culinary and Football Exchange Programs2015 Culinary Exchange in Chicago
In October 2015, two exchanges with sister city Angoulême were held; one for chef Patrick Guat and culinary students, and the other for American football players from France. 


The six culinary students hosted by Dick and Sandy Kruse, Brian and Sue Yarwood, Cheryl and David Rogan, Sandy Rivera and Rob Schwartz, and John and Mary Gorski, spent time visiting various culinary related companies and touring the Chicagoland area, including trips to the museums, Cantigny Park, tours of the village’s fire and police departments, bowling, shopping, a Chicago Wolves hockey game, lunch at Eataly, and much more. See more photos and information about the Culinary Exchange (PDF)

The team members of the Angoulême Marauders are semi-pro professional football players that participate in a four team league in their region in France. The purpose of this exchange was to expose the football players to American football in a variety of different ways. The players viewed Schaumburg High School practice every day and met the Athletic Director, coaches and principal to review plays and their films. Players watched the Chicago Bears game at Jersey’s Sports Bar, visited Hoffman Estates facilities and visited with Mayor McLeod, toured Hoffman Estates High School, the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park and Willis Tower in Chicago. They attended Bon Appétit, the Food and Tasting Festival of Hoffman Estates, toured DePaul University, attended a concert at the Sears Center and tailgated and attended the Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois University Homecoming football game in DeKalb, Illinois. A great thank you to host families Rios/Harding, Samson, Lamberti, Miller, and Mosier for their kind hospitality. See more photos and information about the Football Exchange (PDF)

Football Exchange at Jerseys

Coco Chanel Historical Portrayal

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, an enthusiastic audience attended a historical portrayal of the most influential designer of the 20th century and one of the most influential women of all time...Coco Chanel.  

The program was presented to the community by the Hoffman Estates Celebrations and Sister Cities Commissions, and the Schaumburg Township Public Library. Attendees were encouraged to donate food items or a monetary contribution to our local food pantries. Light refreshments, including mini-croissants, brie, various spreads, jams, and Orangina were served. 

French Evening 2015
On the evening of Thursday, April 30th the Hoffman Estates Sister Cities Commission hosted their 18th Annual Soirée Française, or French Evening. Guests attending the fundraiser at the Stonegate dined upon a delicieux four course meal, prepared by Chef Patrick Guat and Chef Pascal Herbert, of L’Amandier School in Angoulême, France. The night’s events also included silent and live auctions to raise funds for the commission’s exchange program with students in Hoffman Estates’ sister city, Angoulême, France.

A great thank you to our generous event contributors to our fantastic evening in 2015!

  French Evening 2011

The Commission would also like to recognize its members who work tirelessly for many months to secure the donations and to assemble the baskets for the auction; set-up the banquet room on the day of the event; and provide support and oversee the dinner on the night of the event. Merci Beaucoup!

French Evening
The Sister Cities Commission held its 16th Annual French Evening on Thursday, April 18, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre located at 2401 W. Higgins Road. This special evening, "Soirée Culinaire – Discovering French Delicacies," showcased the flavors of France prepared by our guest chef from Angoulême, France, Chef Patrick Guat, and his students from L'Amandier School. In addition to a fine three-course meal, French wine and Pineau Charentes, a regional liqueur of our sister city, were served.

French Evening 2011     French Evening 2011

French Chef Visits Hoffman Estates - 2013
The Sister Cities Commission hosted a week of culinary events presented by visitors from Angoulême, France, the Village's sister city. Chef Patrick Guat, chef instructor at L'Amandier School, and two culinary students from Angoulême arrived in Hoffman Estates to offer cooking classes and demonstration dinners.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 25 -- "Bordeaux: Food and Wine with Chef Patrick" for 40 guests at L'Eiffel Bistrot and Creperie at The Arboretum. The event included an aperitif, a classic five-course French dinner, wine with dinner, and an after dinner drink.
  • Sunday, Oct. 30 -- "Children's Cooking Class," for ages 12 to 15 was held with a theme of, "Sweet and Savory French Desserts." In addition to preparing and sampling the desserts, each child will received a chef's apron.
  • Monday, Oct. 31 -- "Four-Course Prix Fixe French Dinner" for up to 125 guests at Elgin Community College (ECC) Spartan Terrace Restaurant, 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.

 Children's Cooking Class 2011

Children's Cooking Class, photo courtesy Ken Campbell

Food Tasting Festival 
Approximately 20 restaurants provided sample-sized world cuisine for the Village's second annual International Food Tasting Festival. The event hosted a variety of exciting food demonstrations throughout the evening from renowned chefs, including Chef Patrick Guat from L'Amandier School in Angoûleme; Gale Gand, a Chicago-based pastry chef, cookbook author, winner of the 2001 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef and host of the Food Network show "Sweet Dreams"; and Viktorija Todorovska, Ambassadrice Armagnac à Chicago.

The event was co-sponsored by Tate & Lyle, Silesia, the Sister Cities Commission and the Stonegate. The 2015 Taste of Hoffman Estates Food Festival will be presented by the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce.

French-Indian Fur Trader Presentation  

To celebrate French history and culture, the Village's Celebrations and Sister Cities Commissions, along with the Schaumburg Township District Library, sponsored a program featuring storyteller and naturalist, Andy Talley. Andy brought to life the French-Indian fur trader. The entire community was welcome to attend and light refreshments were served.

Sister Cities Commission Members


  • Lillian Mosier, Chair
  • Jill Wood-Naatz, Vice Chair
  • Jean-Marc Bartsch
  • Ken Campbell
  • Carol Demuth
  • Marcia Frank
  • Jeffrey Howard    
  • Marti Lansu
  • Melissa Marscin
  • Brianna Yarwood
  • Cheryl Rogan
  • Dave Rogan
  • Lily Rudnick
  • Cindy Ruszay
  • Mary Warburton
  • Debbie Schoop, Staff Liaison

Commission Openings
Are you interested in joining the Sister Cities Commission? Commission members organize and participate in French exchanges, plan cultural events for the community, and help with the annual French Evening event. Speaking French is welcome, but not mandatory. Meetings are the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall.

The volunteer commissions of the Village of Hoffman Estates serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and Board of Trustees. These commissions are comprised of volunteers who either reside or work in the Village of Hoffman Estates. To download an application to serve on the Commission, click here (PDF).

Lillian Mosier, Chair

About Sister Cities International
The Village of Hoffman Estates participates in the Sister Cities International (SCI) organization. To find out more about Sister Cities International, click here.

The mission statement of SCI is: Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.

The organization's goals include: SCI is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development. SCI leads the movement for local community development and volunteer action by motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual benefit.

  • Develop municipal partnerships between U.S. cities, counties, and states and similar jurisdictions in other nations.
  • Provide opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships.
  • Create an atmosphere in which economic and community development can be implemented and strengthened.
  • Stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work, and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical exchanges and projects.
  • Collaborate with organizations in the United States and other countries which share similar goals.


About Angoulême, France

Geographical location: Located approximately 200 miles ( 450 km) southwest of Paris in the Charente Department of France. Located some 100 km. from the Atlantic Coast (La Rochelle and Royan) and 120 km. from Bordeaux.

Population: Angoulême's current population is approximately 50,000.

A short history: Before the 14th century, Angoulême was invaded by the Arabs and then by the Normans. It was made into a Duchy in 1515 and was finally returned to the crown in 1714. Protestantism was introduced into the town by Calvin and Angoulême suffered from the problems between Catholics and Huguenots. Angoulême's last Duke was the son of Charles X in the 19th century, Louis-Antoine de Bourbon. A bishopric, it has a remarkable Roman-style cathedral dedicated to Saint-Pierre from the 12th c. There are also the remains of ancient fortifications to be seen in the town.

There are two museums, the archeological museum and the museum of Angoulême. The town is a combination of medieval (old town) 18th and 19th century and modern (National Centre of Cartoon Drawing) architecture.

Economic activity: Traditional activities such as paper (Angoulême velin, Charentais slippers) and newer electronic and high-tech industries (Leroy-Somer, Telemecanique, Maximum Video, Jungle Image) and small and medium-sized companies (wood, metal and cardboard). The area around Angoulême is largely agricultural, producing a variety of fine wines.

Cultural Activities:

  • Home of the National Centre of Cartoon Drawing. Each year there is a festival of International Cartoon Drawing
  • Other events – Jazz Festival, Circuit des Remparts (car race and exhibition), Gastronomades (culinary festival)
  • New university town: Law, Polytechnic, Art School and Music School
  • Sports – three swimming pools (two covered and one open-air), horseback riding, nine-hole golf course, 50 tennis courts, canoeing and kayaking, rowing, windsurfing, soccer stadiums, bowling, squash
  • Theatres, cinemas, campsite, youth hostel, and numerous restaurants

Twin Towns of Angouleme:

Visit the City of Angoulême's website at

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