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Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most historic cities in the United States, tracing its roots to colonial America. Founded in 1630, Boston was designed by its Puritan settlers to be a morally superior society: a ‘city on a hill’ for the rest of the world to emulate. The shipbuilding, whaling and fishing industries flourished in colonial Boston, and the forty miles of piers and docks along the waterfront attest to Boston’s continuing importance as a trade city. Boston is the site of America’s first public school, founded in 1635, and it has been an educational hub ever since. Several major events of the American Revolution occurred in Boston, including the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Because of this rich history and colonial architecture, the city is a popular vacation spot, attracting 16.3 million visitors annually.

Located at a deep harbor, the city has a population of over 667,000 people living in its 47.8 square miles. Boston is a growing city, and is experiencing its third great building boom since the 1850s, with major construction and urban planning efforts evident throughout the city -- in addition to entire new neighborhoods. Within the past five years, Boston has become a “majority minority” city, with non-whites now making up 53% of its population. Currently 44% of Boston Public School Students are non-native English speakers. Boston has 23 official highly diverse neighborhoods, and is a true ‘walking city’: Nearly 13% of Boston residents walk to work, while nearly 33% regularly use the city’s extensive system of public transportation. Boston is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, which as a commuting region includes parts of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.

As the largest city in New England, Boston is the regional center for the insurance, banking, finance, and publishing industries.  It is a noted hub of biotechnology, home to such globally known companies such as Genzyme and Novartis, as well as many innovative smaller firms. Boston is also renowned for its medical research facilities and state of the art hospitals. After Silicon Valley in California, Boston is the United States’ second most prominent center for venture capital and high-tech entrepreneurship, fed by graduates of the area’s many universities. The Boston-Cambridge area boasts over eighty colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northeastern, Boston University, Boston College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Boston also has a tradition of social innovation, and is the home of a vibrant nonprofit sector, ranging from grassroots groups to headquarters of such prominent organizations as Partners in Health, Oxfam America, City Year, and Citizen Schools.

Boston is also is a thriving center for the arts, home to the world-renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra, the American Repertory Theatre, and the Boston Ballet. The city also boasts outstanding museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium. Popular public facilities include many parks from the Boston Common to the Boston Harbor Islands and the first public library in the country – and one of its best. Finally, Bostonians are passionate fans of their championship sports teams. Fenway Park is the oldest major league baseball park still in use and home to the Boston Red Sox. Other favorites include the Boston Celtics basketball, the New England Patriots football, and the Boston Bruins hockey teams.

Boston program organized by

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Sarah Sibley 


Vice President for Citizen Diplomacy  


Joshua Bruno 


Manager of Citizen Diplomacy Programs 

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