With Atlanta City Council‘s approval of the fiscal year 2013 budget June 18, the city officially has funding to create an international affairs office.

Under the direction of Mayor Kasim Reed, the city has allocated $226,000 to hire three people to staff the office, which will fall under the purview of his chief of staff.

The department will hire a director and two specialists. It’s unclear which position, if any, will be offered to Noah Downer, who has been the mayor’s international affairs liaison for the past few years. Details for how to apply for the positions have not been announced.

Mr. Reed has hosted more than 80 foreign delegations and taken multiple overseas trips to recruit investment and share best practices for city management. He has been a strong proponent of raising Atlanta’s global profile.

Also in the budget, the city increased funding for Invest Atlanta, its development arm, which focuses in part on attracting international companies and making sure the business environment here is conducive to their growth.

Invest Atlanta, rebranded earlier this year from its previous incarnation, Atlanta Development Authority, will receive $2.5 million in the coming year, an increase of about one-third from $1.9 million.

“The thing to really bring home out of the budget was the overwhelming support from City Council, … that they really understand what it is that we do and how it impacts job creation,” Bill Cronin, vice president of Invest Atlanta, told GlobalAtlanta.

Mr. Cronin said the city just kicked off its efforts to develop a new strategic plan for economic development, which hadn’t been done since the 2006 plan that ran through 2009.

Global engagement is a key component, Mr. Cronin said, noting that the city has recently announced a partnership with the Ex-Im Bank and took a delegation of 20-plus companies to China in March.

The mayor of Hangzhou, a city with which Mr. Reed signed a cooperation agreement during the trip, visited Atlanta this week, which Mr. Cronin took as a sign that the partnership is developing quickly.

“Usually you have to wait for a lot of this stuff to gel, and the maturity usually takes quite a bit longer before you have return trips and reciprocal visits,” he said.

Visit www.atlantaga.gov or www.investatlanta.com for more information. 

Read more: Mayor to Hire Three for International Affairs Office

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...