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.

In 2016, the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs and Invest Atlanta launched the first Atlanta International Startup Exchange—a one-week international residency program that provides selected companies a platform for global expansion through connections with potential partners, investors, and clients. Since, the program has enabled 14 startups to land new contracts with Global Fortune 500 Companies, secure several IoT pilot projects, and establish new partnership with industry leaders from across the globe.

Launched in 2012 by the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase, the Global Cities Initiative is a five-year, $10 million project that aims to help leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets. Since launching Atlanta’s participation in 2013, the Global Cities Initiative has led to the release of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan and the Metro Atlanta Foreign Direct Investment Plan, both outlining key strategies for stimulating metro Atlanta’s economy and creating quality jobs for Atlantans.

The YALI program was launched in 2010 by the Obama Administration to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Through educational and cultural affairs programs, exchanges, small grants, and partnerships YALI has created programs to foster economic growth, promote food security, bolster entrepreneurial activity, develop clean, affordable energy systems and address health issues in Africa. Clark Atlanta University is hosting 25 YALI scholars for an intensive summer institute focused on business and entrepreneurship as a partner with the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Program. Additionally, various YALI interns will be placed throughout the city of Atlanta with government agencies and other organizations to gain real-world experience and make strategic connections in the United States

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