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United Kingdom

Since June 1977

Committee Chair: David Smith




Habib Rahman



Newcastle is a city full of energy, with a fierce sense of pride and a friendly regional identity. Dramatically located on the steep banks of the River Tyne, the city is an impressive sight whether approached by road or rail. Newcastle is rich in culture, architecture and history with a great reputation for style, shopping and nightlife.

Historically, Newcastle- Upon-Tyne was at the forefront of 19th century industrial innovation. At one time a quarter of the world’s shipbuilding was centered in the district.

Other trades, particularly retail, have now replaced traditional industries. Major employers now include the public administration, education and health sectors.

There has been recent large-scale regeneration in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The Quayside is the area along the banks of the River Tyne that has received heavy investment to provide an attractive  environment for modern arts, music, housing, culture as well as bars and night clubs. It is one of the most dramatic areas of townscape in the country.

Newcastle is designated as one of six UK cities of science in recognition of world-class strengths, notably in the fields of healthy aging, medical science and sustainability. Together with the North of England, the region hosts 1,000 companies in the Life Science and Healthcare industry.

Five Centres of Excellence encourage the exploitation of world-class research; build infrastructure to support and nurture high technology companies; and form international partnerships. The Centres of Excellence combined are an engine of highly skilled, internationally experienced technology executives in Bio- processing, Fuel Cells, Assistive Technologies for the Aged and Open Access.

About the Partnership

On November 13, 1967, Newcastle University awarded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an Honorary Doctorate, where Dr. King made what was to be his final public speech outside of the U.S. before his assassination. The Atlanta native provided a moving address where he called for the people to join him in the ongoing struggle against war, poverty, and racism. He was joined by civil rights activist Andrew Young who later became the first African American Ambassador to the United Nations and the 55th Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King’s visit to Newcastle and his remarkable speech led to the foundation of a rooted relationship between the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta, and Newcastle.

Just ten years later, President Jimmy Carter traveled to Newcastle upon Tyne where he received the Freedom of the City honor from Newcastle Councillor Hugh White. The visit further linked Atlanta and Newcastle, and the two cities established their sister city relationship during President Carter’s visit.

​The newly formed relationship expanded under President Carter’s Friendship Force initiative when 762 delegates took part in the first exchange between Atlanta and Newcastle in July 1977. President Carter would return to Newcastle in 1987 with a return visit by Newcastle Lord Mayor Derek Webster in 1988, where the relationship began to incorporate business and academics into its portfolio.

​In 1992, the first academic program took place with an exchange between North Atlanta High School and the University of Northumbria Business School. The University of Northumbria was later designated the European Centre of the University System of Georgia and has continued exchange programs with universities across Georgia including Atlanta’s Georgia State University.

​Today, the relationship has the opportunity to excel through innovation, business, and urban development. In 2015, Newcastle-based Sage Software moved its North American headquarters to the City of Atlanta to join its expansive FinTech ecosystem. The move created 400 new jobs and provides a platform for continued exchanges between the two communities. In 2017, Newcastle and Atlanta celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s honorary doctorate and the 40th sister city anniversary during the Freedom City 2017 festival.

Image by Ryan Booth

Recent Activities



Newcastle was one of the ten sister cities participating in in the COVID-19 Virtual Summit. Newcastle shared how it was able to leverage universities and international partners to gain information for public health standards and practices implemented across the world to accordingly adjust their own COVID-19 policies.


In March 2020, a Northern Powerhouse trade mission for exporters and high-growth businesses in the life sciences and healthcare traveled to Atlanta. Northern Powerhouse is an economic proposal by the government of the United Kingdom to boost economic growth in the North of England, including Newcastle.

Past Activities

Since 1998, an annual Joint Exchange in British and American Cultures has taken place between Georgia State University and the University of Northumbria in Newcastle (UNN).

Aimed at English and History majors with two years left of their degree, the program provides a total immersion experience through which American students visit the Newcastle to study, live, and travel with British students over an academic year, followed by a reciprocal visit to Atlanta by students of UNN.

The program offers students the opportunity to jointly concentrate their studies in British and American cultures with a focus on literature, culture and history. Participants are able to expand their experience through travel throughout the region and beyond.


At the May 2015 meeting of the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission, British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore Bedford spoke about the role of the consulate in the Atlanta community. He outlined several areas of shared interest between Newcastle and Atlanta including the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s visit and award ceremony at Newcastle University in 2017.


Other areas included the sharing of best practices in support of female entrepreneurship and life sciences knowledge between the Centres for Life, Georgia Tech and the Centers for Disease Control. He would like to see spin-off business developments between the Atlanta

Technology Development Center and the Newcastle Science Center and joint research programs between Newcastle University and Georgia Tech. Both cities, he explained, have a fast growing creative sector, for example in the area of computer game development.


Newcastle headquartered Sage Software Inc., a business management software and services company, has brought its North American headquarters to Atlantic Station in Atlanta. The expansion has created about 400 jobs. The Midtown office adds to Sage’s presence in Lawrenceville, GA. Combined, the two offices employ about 1,000. Sage is the world's third-largest supplier of enterprise resource planning software and the largest supplier to small businesses, with 6.1 million customers worldwide.


In the UK, the company is the patron of The Sage Gateshead music venue. The venue is part of the Quays development, which also includes the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art and the Millennium Bridge. It is also home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and regularly hosts other visiting orchestras from around the world.

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