Atlanta’s Sister Cities Commission is looking to Austin, Texas’ and other cities’ business oriented Sister City programs as models for a new strategic planning initiative.

“Atlanta is poised to become a major global player,” Claire McLeveighn, Atlanta’s director of external affairs and international relations, said of the strategic planning project, which still is in its initial stages.

During an interview with GlobalAtlanta last week, she invited the participation of local representatives of bi-national groups, especially those with Sister City ties to Atlanta. She also invited academics in the business schools of local universities to become involved in the planning.

To date, most of the activities of the 17 individual Sister City committees have involved cultural and educational exchange programs.

The late Mayor Maynard Jackson established Atlanta’s Sister Cities Commission in the 1970s to support the work of the individual committees and manage requests for establishing relationships with cities overseas.

In 2001, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson created the Mayor’s International Infrastructure Task Force, a program that produced a recommendation to integrate that city’s international activities, including its sister cities relationships.

“Austin’s Sister Cities are focusing on developing business ties,” Frank J. Flauto, Austin’s international program manager, told GlobalAltanta.

He credited the Gwangmyeong, Korea-Austin relationship as responsible for attracting a Samsung Electronic Co. Ltd. facility to Austin.

For further information regarding the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission’s strategic planning initiative, contact Claire McLeveighn at (404) 330-6100. For more information about the City of Austin’s international programs, contact Mr. Flauto at