MA History '89
Rick Gerrard is vice president of Phoenix Sister Cities Inc. and deputy chief of protocol for the City of Phoenix. Phoenix Sister Cities is a non-profit corporation that manages ten sister city relationships on behalf of the city of Phoenix. Gerrard has served in this capacity since 1999; his work includes the design and coordination of international exchange projects and events around the world. He staffs several sister city committees and works closely with a vast network of volunteers.
Among major projects he has managed was a fundraising initiative to finance the construction of a new kindergarten school in Chengdu, China, built after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province. The kindergarten, named for the city of Phoenix, replaced a school that was destroyed during the earthquake and was dedicated in 2011. Gerrard also played a leading role in the development of a training program for doctors and nurses in partnership with the Maricopa County Burn Center, to address a critical need for the care of burn victims in Hermosillo, Mexico, after the tragic daycare fire of 2009, which took the lives of over 50 infants and toddlers. In addition to his sister city related duties, he works with international delegations visiting Phoenix on official business, briefing the mayor, the city council and city departments, and managing matters of protocol for international visitors on official business.
Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Gerrard served as deputy director at Sister Cities International (SCI) in Washington, D.C. He spent ten years with SCI in various capacities. Among his major achievements, Gerrard organized political, educational, and trade delegations to more than a dozen industrialized and developing countries, including some delegations sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. These delegations included the first visit of U.S. mayors to South Africa after the collapse of the apartheid system of government (1995); the first visit of U.S. mayors to Vietnam after the normalization of diplomatic ties (1996); and the first visit of U.S. mayors to Northern Ireland, just prior to the Good Friday Agreement (1997). Gerrard also worked closely with the SCI Board of Directors to organize and conduct four Western Hemispheric Fora for municipalities held both in the U.S. and Latin America.
Gerrard has been involved in international affairs for over thirty years. He served for two years as Sister Cities International’s state representative in Arizona and served for one term as president of the Arizona State Sister Cities Association. He received a master of arts in history from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a bachelor of science in secondary education and social sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese and served for two years as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay.