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Rio de Janeiro,


Since September 1972

Committee Chair: 


Rio de Janeiro



Rio de Janeiro is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, the second-most populous metropolitan area in Brazil and sixth-most populous in the Americas.

Rio de Janeiro has the second largest municipal GDP in the country, and 30th largest in the world in 2008.. It is headquarters to Brazilian oil, mining and telecommunications companies, including two of the country's major corporations—Petrobras and Vale—and Latin America's largest telemedia conglomerate, Grupo Globo. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the second-largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific output according to 2005 data.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums.

Rio de Janeiro was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics, making the city the first South American and Portuguese-speaking city to host the events, and the third time the Olympics were held in a Southern Hemisphere city. The Maracanã Stadium held the finals of the 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the XV Pan American Games.

About the Partnership

In early 1972, then Mayor of Atlanta Sam Massell selected Rio de Janeiro as Atlanta’s second sister city during a visit to Brazil. The partnership was also encouraged by then Governor Jimmy Carter, who had become enchanted with the city. In 1977, Mayor Maynard Jackson renewed the effort to develop the relationship between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro—creating the Atlanta Committee-Rio de Janeiro, under the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission.

Since, the Atlanta-Rio Committee has participated in helping Brazilian students achieve higher education opportunities in the Atlanta area.  In the past, with projects linked to Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and Mercer University, the Committee played a direct role in publicizing Georgia higher learning opportunities in Brazil via secondary schools and universities. 

In February 1996, Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games of Atlanta co-hosted then Rio Mayor Cesar Maia, who led Rio’s attempt to host the Olympics games. Even without official support, dozens of citizens of Atlanta and Rio continued organizing, promoted events and encouraged partnerships. Other Brazilian cities like Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Brasilia have produced a series of productive relationships with other cities through this program.


and the World Trade Center of Atlanta were able to utilize a complimentary office space with Wi-Fi access located in Rio’s business district. The office also served as a key resource in promoting Atlanta as a tourism destination.

To continue its economic development focus the Atlanta-Rio Committee created an academic curriculum for courses based on “Business English” for Brazilian business-minded students in 2012. This project encompasses the joint cooperation of the Atlanta-Rio Committee and the World Trade Center of Atlanta. The study abroad business participants benefited from the exposure cross-cultural business and social communication as well as specialized language courses. The program was also designed to promote tourism in Atlanta.

Also in 2012, the Atlanta-Rio Committee opened an official office in Rio de Janeiro. As a sponsored program and at the generous bequest of then Chairman Joseph Walker, members of the Atlanta-Rio Committee

Recent Activities

Mayor Kasim Reed led a six-day cyber security mission to Israel in March 2015. The mission aimed to introduce Chief Information and Security Officers of Atlanta-based companies to new innovative cyber security solutions and promote Atlanta’s ecosystem to attract Israeli investment. Participating Atlanta-based companies included Delta Air Lines, The Coca-Cola Company, NCR, Carter’s Baby Clothing, and many more. The 33 person delegation visited Ra’anana-based hi-tech giants Amdocs, and AT&T’s Innovation Foundry and was also hosted by Retalix which recently acquired by Atlanta-based NCR.

The Daffodil Project is a global effort to plant 1.5 million daffodils worldwide in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust.  ARSCC member Rena Kahn serves on the Am Yisrael Chai Atlanta Committee, the group that created the project and is pictured planting daffodil bulbs in 2016 with Mayor Bielski.  

Past Activities

Mayor Kasim Reed led a trade mission of 37 delegates to Brazil in April 2014 to encourage foreign direct investment in the metropolitan Atlanta region and help small-to-medium-sized local businesses identify and grow their export opportunities with the world’s seventh-largest economy. During their visit to Rio, Mayor Reed and the Atlanta delegation met the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee to discuss the economic impact of the Olympics on a local and global level.  Mayor Reed also met with Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.

The delegation toured the Rio Operations Center, which was created as part of IBM's


Smarter Cities Initiative, as well as the Porto Maravilha, one of Rio de Janeiro’s revitalization projects. To conclude, members of the Atlanta City Council, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Miguel Southwell promoted the metropolitan Atlanta region to potential investors. Over the course of five days, Mayor Reed and the Atlanta delegation met with about 100 potential investors to promote Atlanta for foreign direct investments and create export trade opportunities for Atlanta-based businesses.

Following the trade mission Atlanta Chief of Staff Candace Byrd traveled to Rio for the Rio International Film Festival that September. While in Rio, Ms. Byrd signed a cooperation agreement between the Mayor’s Office of Entertainment, RioFilme and the Rio Film Commission to promote their respective film and TV industries and contribute to economic development and job creation in their respective cities.


Across 2016, significant efforts were made to strengthen the relationship between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro which had fallen dormant. In May, Commission Chair Shelby Grubbs

met with the Rio de Janeiro Mayor’s Office to discuss future cooperation in business, law and film as a follow up to a visit by International Affairs Deputy Director Bettina Gardner in December 2015. Also, Atlanta City Hall and Centennial Olympic Park were illuminated in the colors of the Brazilian flag marking the 100 days until the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and throughout the Opening Ceremony. Fernanda Lunchine of the Atlanta World Affairs Council was elected Chair of the Atlanta-Rio de Janeiro Sister Cities Committee and will lead efforts with Atlanta’s Brazilian sister city.

To continue cooperation in film and entertainment, the Atlanta-Rio Sister Cities Committee hosted the Brazil Cine Fest to celebrate the three Brazilian films screening at the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival. Chief of Protocol Taylor Woodruff joined Rise Up & Care Founder and Georgia Tech Professor Kirk Bowman as well as film critic Jennifer Brett to discuss the Brazilian films as well as Atlanta’s sister city relationship with Rio de Janeiro and how the two cities can further cooperation as leaders in the film and entertainment industry.


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