The Sister Cities International Annual Conference will be held in Atlanta during the last week of July in 2001, providing an opportunity for the city to keep alive the spirit of the Olympic flame, Georgianne Thomas, chair of the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission told GlobalFax last week.

      Ms. Thomas said that Atlanta was selected during this year’s annual conference held from July 30-Aug. 1 at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort and Towers in Miami Beach.

      This convention will enable us to keep the Olympic flame alive in Atlanta, Ms. Thomas said.  We want to show our Southern hospitality to the world once again.  And we want the visitors who will be coming here to know that we are interested in them and not just the commercial possibilities.

      She added that the convention would require volunteers and the support of local businesses.  A special emphasis would be placed on finding home stays for international visitors, and a presentation featuring Atlanta would be made at the annual convention to be held in Denver in the year 2000.

      Councilman Jim Maddox and Steronica Dunston of the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs represented the city.  Ann Danridge, a professor at Clark-Atlanta University, and David McAuley, national sales manager of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, made formal presentations to the more than 1,000 attendees.

      Atlanta currently has sister city relations which foster educational, cultural and economic ties with 15 cities around the world, and another is about to be formally established.  Nuremberg, Germany, was approved by the City Council as the newest addition on Aug. 3, but won’t be officially included until a signing ceremony is held.  Mayor Bill Campbell is expected to sign the agreement in Nuremberg sometime this fall.

     The other cities include Ancient Olympia, Greece; Brussels, Belgium; Bucharest, Romania; Cotonou, Benin; Lagos, Nigeria; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Newcastle Upon Tyne, England;

      Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Salcedo, Dominican Republic; Salzburg, Austria; Taegu, Korea; Taipei, Republic of China on Taiwan; Tbilisi, Georgia and Toulouse, France.

      For more information, Ms. Thomas may be reached (404) 755-0502.