Project Gettysburg-León (PGL) welcomes you, and looks forward to your joining our sister city partnership between the people of Gettysburg and Adams County, and those in León, Nicaragua, the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere’s second poorest country (after Haiti).
Founded in 1986, PGL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered in the state of Pennsylvania.
We are a grass-roots organization with programming in the department of León, Nicaragua. PGL has an office and paid staff in the indigenous community of Sutiaba, and is officially recognized by the Nicaraguan government as a registered non-profit organization working within its borders and subject to its regulations, including an annual audit.
In Gettysburg an Executive Committee consisting of volunteer officers directs PGL’s overall program, maintaining regular contact with the in-country coordinator in León. Monthly meetings for PGL members are held September through June, and numerous activities, such as fund-raising initiatives, emanate from this group. PGL receives generous in-kind support from Gettysburg College and works through its Center for Public Service.
Project Gettysburg-León’s vision is of a just world in which all people have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and are empowered to transform their communities.
Project Gettysburg-León is a sister city partnership between León, Nicaragua and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that empowers people, communities and organizations to advance sustainable development through capacity- building funds, education and cultural exchange programs.
Project Gettysburg-León’s values are Justice, Community, Education, and Empowerment. Our sister-city relationship affirms our collective belief that we are all members of one human family and our commitment to peace and justice for all people.
Project Gettysburg-León had its beginnings the early 1980s when Gettysburg College sponsored individual exploratory visits to Nicaragua in the midst of the highly publicized Sandinista-Contra conflict. This was followed by organized educational group trips under the aegis of the Gettysburg Chapel.
After seeing the effects of the long history of US intervention in that region, observing first-hand the immense poverty of the people and being challenged by the tenets of liberation theology to align with the poor, the group began to tell its story and encouraged more “solidarity trips” to Central America, especially Nicaragua. During one of these trips, in the summer of 1986, an agreement was made with the then coordinator of Project Minnesota-León to cooperate with them on projects and use their staff.
In 1987 community members from Adams County, Pennsylvania and members of the College community formed a sister city organization, Project Gettysburg-León, in order to foster friendship and understanding between the two countries and to provide assistance to neighborhoods in and around León. In 1989, the Borough of Gettysburg officially recognized Leon, Nicaragua as a Sister City.
PGL partnered with PML, sharing projects, office space and staff in León until the two groups decided to go their separate ways, and PGL has been functioning independently since 2007.
Our Guiding Principles for Development Work
Project Gettysburg-León subscribes to these guiding principles for sustainable development:
- Listen to the People
- Recognize Oppression
- Avoid Paternalism
- Recognize and Build on Local Assets
- Focus on Empowerment to Encourage Local Resources and Solutions
- Partner with People
- Make Connections
- Celebrate Positive Change