Sponsor of the Cherry Blossom Princess Program and the US Cherry Blossom Queen


The National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) is the non-profit, voluntary umbrella association for state and territorial societies in the National Capital Region. At one time or another, all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) have had active societies.

Officers of individual State Societies first gathered informally in the late 1930s in order to exchange ideas and programs. The informal association of state officers became the formal NCSS organization on April 3, 1952 when President Harry Truman signed Public Law 82-293 that gave a congressional charter to the Conference of State Societies. The NCSS continues to be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)4 tax-exempt, non-profit organization, with a 501(c)3 Charitable Foundation, which was approved by the IRS in 1970.


Cherry blossoms are a widely recognized symbol of spring celebrated across the world. For Washington, DC, in recognition of the 3,000 flowering cherry trees gifted to the United States by Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912, the cherry blossoms are symbols of international friendship and cooperation. NCSS is proud to be a part of celebrating the friendship and cooperation the cherry blossoms represent and what they mean to the nation's capital.  In cooperation with the D.C. Commissioners and the Washington Board of Trade, to promote peaceful relations with Japan, the state societies helped to re-launch the first post-World War II Cherry Blossom Festival in 1948 and restarted the pre-war tradition of sponsoring state Cherry Blossom Princesses and the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen.  

Today NCSS sponsors a series of events that highlight educational and cultural exchange and leadership for young women. The Cherry Blossom Princess Program ("Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women") comprises college students and young professionals selected by state/territorial societies and embassies to represent their culture in the nation’s capital and abroad. Celebrating Washington DC’s cherry blossoms is a cooperative effort of many organizations including the Embassy of Japan, the Mayor’s office, the National Park Service, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., the Japan America Society of Washington DC, and NCSS, just to mention a few.

Pete Berlowitz

President, NCSS

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P.L. 105-225 is our Charter and operating statute. The measure was introduced in the 105th Congress as H.R. 1085 by Rep. Henry Hyde of IL, to “revise, codify, and enact without substantive change certain general and permanent laws, related to patriotic and national observances, ceremonies, and organizations, as title 36, United States Code, "Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations.” The House passed the bill by voice vote on 2-3-98, and the Senate passed it by unanimous consent on 7-30-98. President Clinton signed the bill into law on 8-12-98, which essentially superseded our original 1952 charter. The NCSS can be found in chapter 1505 (sections 150501-150513; pgs. 137-139).  

House Report 105-326 -The House issued a report on H.R. 1085, which outlines the changes in the new bill from our original 1952 Charter. As the introduction to the report explains, H.R. 1085 was simply a codification of title 36 of the United States Code (Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations). The NCSS can be found in chapter 1505 (sections 150501-150513; pgs. 150-156). 

36 U.S.C. 150501-150513 is the NCSS chapter as published in the United States Code. Scroll down to find a link for each individual section (sections 150501-150513). In addition to the current legislative text, each section outlines the changes from the original 1952 law (similar to the House Report).