Recent Commission Activities
That same month, 30 healthcare professionals traveled to Atlanta’s Jamaican sister city, Montego Bay, for the annual Atlanta-Montego Bay Health Mission. Since its inception, the annual event has treated approximately 50,000 patients and nearly $100 million of medical supplies and services have been donated by the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Committee.
In 2016, significant efforts were made to reinvigorate Atlanta’s 17 sister city relationships and to enable the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission to serve as a key resource for Atlanta’s international activities. Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appointed Shelby Grubbs, Managing Partner of Miller & Martin PLLC—Atlanta, as Chair of the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission in July 2016. Under Mr. Grubb’s leadership, the ASCC’s bylaws benefitted from a complete overhaul; new mayoral appointees were selected; all vacant chairs were filled, and innovative programming was established to align with the ASCC’s renewed purpose. Additionally, the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission Foundation, Inc. was established to support fundraising efforts and further sister cities programs in Atlanta.
In October 2016, the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Invest Atlanta, and the ASCC launched the Atlanta International Startup Exchange. The one-week international residency has since provided 14 startups the opportunity to expand their operations in either Toulouse, France; Newcastle, United Kingdom; and Atlanta. As a result, participating startups have announced new contracts with Global Fortune 500 Companies, numerous IoT pilot projects, three foreign direct investment commitments, and continue to work closely with newly established partners on expansion projects. Through its success, the program was awarded the Innovation Award for Economic Development during the 2017 Sister Cities International Annual Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The following Spring, the Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta, the Belgian American Chamber of the South, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and the ASCC hosted a luncheon featuring Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem. Additionally, Secretary De Crem joined Mayor Kasim Reed to celebrate the renewed Delta Air Lines’ non-stop flights between Atlanta and Brussels during a reception that evening.
In April 2017, the City of Atlanta hosted a delegation of human rights leaders and city officials from Atlanta’s German sister city, Nuremberg. As part of the visit, the Center for Civil and Human Rights hosted the Nuremberg Partnership Symposium “Our Mutual Social Responsibility: Ending Global Labor Exploitation” panel discussion which included International Human Rights Award Winner Amirul Haque Amin, President and Co-founder of the National Garment Workers Federation. The following August, former City of Atlanta Chief of Staff Candace Byrd and Chief of Protocol Taylor Woodruff traveled to Nuremberg to meet with Lord Mayor Ulrich Maly and other senior city officials to discuss future cooperation in smart cities and to promote trade and investment in Atlanta.
More recently, 50 thought leaders and economic development professionals from Atlanta’s 17 sister cities and other partner cities convened to discuss how this network can be leveraged to drive trade and investment during the Atlanta International Business Development Summit in September 2017. The inaugural event culminated with the launch of an online platform, www.City2CityNetwork.com, that will enable this global network to exchange contacts, trade and investment leads, industry needs, upcoming trade events, and more.
Through Atlanta’s strategic partnership with Rio de Janeiro surrounding film and entertainment, the Atlanta-Rio Sister Cities Committee welcomed a delegation of Rio-based film executives to Atlanta in October 2017. Led by U.S. Consul General to Rio Jimmy Story, the delegation met with city officials and industry leaders to learn more about Atlanta’s $9.5 billion film industry. As a result, one of the visiting Rio-based film executives selected Atlanta to film an upcoming Netflix co-production.
In December 2017, nearly 300,000 people visited the second annual Christkindl Market at Atlantic Station. Hosted by the German American Cultural Foundation, the traditional German market features dozens of vendors selling handmade German holiday décor, treats, and the original Christkind from Atlanta’s German sister city, Nuremberg.