Since September 1981
Committee Chair: John Lee
Daegu is the birthplace of Samsung. In 1938 Lee Byung-chul started a small trading company called Samsung Sanghoe in Daegu, which grew into Samsung Group of today. It clearly shows that Daegu has played a leading role in developing the Korean economy. In collaboration with Samsung, Daegu has operated the Daegu Center for Creative Economy and Innovation to incubate startups, and opened a Daegu Samsung Creative Economy Complex in March 2017.
Politically, Daegu is famous for producing several Korean presidents including Park Chung-hee, Chun Doo-hwan, Roh Tae-woo and the incumbent president Park Geun-hye. They were born or educated in and around the City. Daegu has been the center of education and is profound with excellent human resources.
The city has rich experience in major international events from sporting to energy and water issues: Daegu hosted four matches of the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup, the 2013 Summer Universiade Game, the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, the 2013 World Energy Congress and the 2015 World Water Forum.
In addition, apart from the capital of Korea, Daegu is the number one cultural city with numerous cultural facilities and events all year round: an International Musical Festival, International Opera Festival, International Jazz Festival and Daegu Photo Biennale, and more.
Daegu has strong competitiveness in auto parts, eyeglasses, metal and machinery and has been nurturing renewable energy, futuristic vehicles, internet of things, water industries and smart city technology as its new growth engine.
About the Partnership
The bilateral relationship between Daegu and Atlanta was initiated by Mr. Young Kang, the first chair of the Atlanta-Daegu Sister City Committee, and soon developed into a sister city relationship on September 20, 1981 during a visit to Daegu by then Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.
Across the past thirty-five years, a wide range of initiatives have taken place including mayoral visits, citizen and school exchanges, sports and cultural activities, professional training, technical and economic development programs.
During the first decade, several exchanges took place between the two cities with official delegations led by former Daegu Mayors Jeong Chaejin and Lee Sanghee with reciprocal exchanges by former Atlanta Mayor Ambassador Andrew Young. The delegations focused on best practice exchanges, education, culture, and economic development. Additionally, former Daegu Mayor Lee Haebong visited Atlanta in 1991 to continue Daegu’s participation in the bi-annual International Gift & Home Furnishings Market at Atlanta-based AmericasMart. Daegu also initiated several visits for professional training and business development, including a Korean focused trade show held in Atlanta in September 1997.
In 2000, Daegu was among Atlanta’s sister cities that provided a booth in the Atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport featuring miniatures of Korean cultural assets and local products. Official delegations between the two cities took place in 2001 and later in 2005 when 14 delegates visited Atlanta and were welcomed by then Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin who presented Mayor Cho Haenyoung with a Phoenix Award.
Several student exchanges have taken place between the two sister cities. Atlanta’s Pace Academy and the Wonhwa Girls High School in Daegu initiated the first student exchange in 1991, with additional institutions implementing exchanges across the 2000s. The Atlanta Technical College signed a memorandum of understanding with the Yeungjin College in 2006 to promote student and faculty exchanges.
As part of a global campaign to promote engagement and unity, Daegu features a sister city each month as part of their Sister Cities Web Photo Exhibition. In May 2020, Atlanta was featured.
In 2014, officials from Daegu International Affairs Division traveled to Atlanta to meet with Atlanta International Affairs Director, Claire Angelle, to discuss future cooperation and outline key objectives between the two cities. Since then, the two cities have exchanged best practices in water management, innovation, and smart cities.
As leaders in water management, both Atlanta and Daegu were invited to the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum and the Singapore International Water Week in July 2016 to share best practices in innovation and water conservation. While in Singapore, Daegu Director General Charlie Bae and Atlanta International Affairs Deputy Director Bettina Gardner met to exchange best practices and discuss future cooperation between the two cities.
To continue these efforts, Daegu Mayor Kwon Youngjin led a delegation of senior officials to Atlanta in advance of the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans in September 2016. Mayor Kwon met with Atlanta Chief Operating Office Dan Gordon at Atlanta City Hall to further outline best practices in water management, innovation, smart cities, in addition to trade and investment.