Discover the Gem of the Mediterranean!

The ME&US Fund implements cultural, artistic, sports, debating, other socially-engaged exchanges and cooperation projects that are important for bringing closer and linking the people of Montenegro and the United States.

Our Story


The ME&US Fund is established as a project of two partner Foundations with international experience, one based in Montenegro and one in California, USA. The Foundations have been collaborating for the past 13 years under the framework of the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City relationship.

The Don Branko Sbutega Foundation in Kotor, Montenegro, named after the esteemed intellectual, humanist, Catholic priest and erudite, has over two-decades of experience in cultural and civil diplomacy – developing groundbreaking projects, supported by UNESCO, EU institutions and funds, USA, Western EU countries, companies such as Coca-Cola Europe, Orascom Development and Porto Montenegro, which are incorporated into the internationally renowned and awarded KotorArt International Festival

Parallel with these activities, fruitful collaboration is established with the SJL Foundation, a private foundation, in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, and for the past 13 years, dozens of exchanges have been realized, between the local officials, students, sportsmen and women, artists, young chefs – changing people’s lives and their perception of other cultures, for the better.

Relying on the success of the programs we have developed over the past 13 years, the ME&US Fund has a mission to strengthen the ties between our two countries and people, through  more ambitious and impactful projects, at the same time better connecting the US with the entire region of Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean.

KotorArt Don Brankovi dani muzike – Trg ispred katedrale svetog Tripuna2

In addition to everything we have been doing so far in the fields of music, theatre, culinary arts and sports, we will greatly diversify our programs. We will gather and engage people on topics of mutual interest, such as climate change, ecology and sustainable development, women’s rights, minority rights, social equity and equality, democracy, as well as important practical topics related to tourism and hospitality. Activities will continue including exchanges, joint sports games, concerts, but also cinematography, fine arts, design and architecture programs, lectures featuring experts and young professionals from both countries, as well as forums and symposiums where ideas will be freely exchanged.

That way, the ME&US Fund will provide support and empower young leaders and talented people, creating opportunities for further professional development and unique experiences. At the same time, it will establish connections between professionals in many different fields, and of all ages.

Our efforts so far have taught us that direct, personal experience in addition to education, is the most effective way to create these opportunities, and commitment to shared values and principles of the civilized, democratic, free societies. By promoting the values of American and Western societies, and intertwining them with the local culture and community, we will achieve more powerful connections between friends in peace, partners in business, and allies in times of growing challenges in the world.

The programs we have built together that make a difference

The success of our Sister City program has been exchanges that bring people with common interests together!

Check out the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City website at, or the visit, the website of the KotorArt International Festival.