International Relations

The City of Holland connected to and growing with the wider world.

Our Mission
We build and maintain meaningful relationships between the people of Holland and the wider world through cultural, educational and professional contact.

Our Values
Respect: We commit to the highest levels of courtesy and fairness for those who serve on this commission and those whom this commission serves.

Reliability: We fulfill our commitments to ourselves, Holland residents, its government, and our local and global partners.

Collaboration: We seek great ideas and resources in our community and beyond our borders.

Hospitality: We strive to make Holland a welcoming community for everyone.

IRC Activities

Reel Time Film Series
Through its annual film series, the IRC provides opportunities for area residents to gain increased awareness and insights into different cultures abroad and at home. The programs are free of charge and include audience discussion moderated by local historians and subject-matter experts. This year's film series is being held virtually and features Q&A discussions with award-winning filmmakers. Learn more here.

Great Decisions Lecture Series
Through its partnership with the World Affairs Council of West Michigan, the IRC hosts simulcasts of the annual Great Decisions lecture series, America’s largest discussion program on world affairs, produced by the New York City-based Foreign Policy Association. Great Decisions offers Holland-area residents access to diplomats, policy makers, think tank specialists, and journalists who lead conversations on some of the most pressing global issues of our time. The simulcasts are held at City Hall every Tuesday at noon for eight consecutive weeks, February through March. No registration or fee required. 

International Festival of Holland
The International Festival of Holland attracts thousands of people to the music, dance, food and culture of  various countries. The Children’s Fiesta provides a hands-on opportunity for kids of all ages to explore world art.  The Festival Mercado (marketplace) offers international goods and cuisine.  See highlights from the 2022 International Festival of Holland.  The next International Festival of Holland is scheduled for Saturday, September 30, 2023 at the Civic Center Place.  

Sister and Friendship Cities
Inspired by President Dwight D. Eisenhower call for people-to-people, citizen diplomacy, the IRC seeks to promote cultural understanding within and beyond our borders. Through the efforts of its commissioners, Holland became sister city to Queretaro, Mexico, in 1999, and since then more than 24 delegations have crossed the border to share gifts and talents for mutual growth.

Community Collaborations
The IRC seeks to collaborate with all of Holland’s organizations --cultural, educational and professional-- in promoting cultural understanding.

Regular Meetings

  • 5:30 p.m.
  • 1st Thursday of every month
  • City Hall, Council Chambers
    270 S River Avenue, Holland, MI 49423

These are public meetings and all residents are encouraged to attend. Auxiliary aide services can be made available for persons with hearing and/or visual impairments for these meetings by calling our office at 616-355-1328, 48 hours prior to the meeting dates.

IRC Meeting Dates

November 2, 2023  
December 7, 2023 @ 4pm Strategic Planning  
January  4, 2024 July 11, 2024
February 1, 2024 August 1, 2024
March 7, 2024 September 5, 2024
April 4, 2024 October 3, 2024
May 2, 2024 November 7, 2024
June 6, 2024 December 4, 2024

Current Members

(as of 11/14/23)

The International Relations Commission is comprised of volunteers interested in promoting cultural understanding throughout the Holland community. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and serve for 3 year terms. If you're interested in joining the IRC please fill out an Appointed Volunteer Application and return it to Volunteer Coordinator, City of Holland.


  • Jorge Alberto Diaz Acosta
  • Becky Shankwiler-Brown
  • Michael Cuellar, Chair
  • John Dacloush
  • Michael Start
  • Allison Hoving Baraza
  • Jordan Neal
  • Robert O'Malley
  • David Hoekstra

Student Representatives:

  • Jacquelin Romero
  • Yanyssa Ochoa
  • Yazlen Ochoa

City Staff and Liaisons: