Sister Cities History

At the 1956 White House Summit on Citizen Diplomacy, President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned a network that would be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world when he created what is now known as Sister Cities International. President Eisenhower reasoned that people from different cultures could understand, appreciate, and celebrate their differences while building partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts. Since its inception, the Sister Cities International network has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships and represents over 2,300 partnerships in 150 countries on six continents.

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Atlanta Sister Cities History

The City of Atlanta joined the sister cities movement on June 23, 1967; when then-Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. forged Atlanta's first sister city relationship with Salzburg, Austria. To continue these efforts and further Atlanta's international presence, former Mayor Sam Massell invited Montego Bay, Jamaica and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to become Atlanta's second and third sister cities in 1972. Across the following two years, Atlanta's relationships with its new sister cities began to create a strategic avenue for cultural and educational exchanges. In 1974, then-Mayor Maynard Jackson established two additional sister cities and created the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission to oversee Atlanta's sister city efforts.


Atlanta's international strategy made significant progress under the leadership of former mayor Ambassador Andrew Young. To combat a national recession, Ambassador Young turned to international markets for investments and established four new sister city relationships which brought more than $70 billion in investment--adding nearly 1 million jobs to the region.

Today, the City of Atlanta fosters 17 sister city relationships with communities across the globe. Under the direction of mayoral appointee, Shelby Grubbs, the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission continues to provide a platform for Atlantans to explore different cultures, expand academic opportunities, drive trade and investment, assist those in need, and ultimately raise Atlanta’s visibility in the global community.

Atlanta Sister Cities Commission

Office of International Affairs | 55 Trinity Avenue SW | Suite 3450​ | Atlanta, Georgia 30303​​Info@ATLSisterCities.org

© 2017 by Atlanta Sister Cities Commission.

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