City officials from Atlanta and Montreal have agreed to work closely together in learning new ways of tackling problems facing the major urban areas in the world and in providing more opportunities for women in local governments.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay signed a memorandum of understanding in Montreal on June 14 outlining a wide range of activities on which their cities would cooperate.

Ms. Franklin was in Montreal to deliver a speech at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations titled “Atlanta: an American Hub for Business and Entrepreneurship,” and to start planning collaborative projects.

As chair of the board of CIFAL Atlanta, a United Nations agency that organizes best practice-sharing conferences for government and business leaders, Ms. Franklin is to host a summit on gender equality and government to be held in Atlanta in September that Montreal officials also are to attend.

She told GlobalAtlanta during an interview in Montreal that the two cities would be “more intentional about sharing workshops, training and policy development.”

Alexander Mejia, CIFAL Atlanta’s executive director who accompanied Ms. Franklin, said that the new relationship would lead to sharing ideas and information about job creation and attracting more foreign direct investment.

“We found that we do not compete; we complement each other,” Mr. Mejia added.

Besides jointly developing international training programs for local governments, the memorandum calls for collaborating on applications of distance learning technologies and exploring the possibility of a CIFAL program in Montreal.

Through Atlanta’s involvement with the United Nations and Montreal’s membership in the World Association of Major Metropolises, the joint programs are to be global in scope and seek participants from major cities around the world.

Ms. Franklin told GlobalAtlanta that she was impressed with Montreal’s extensive transportation system, its cultural education programs and the ways that the city’s summer festivals are tied to capital improvements. “Montreal is twice as old as Atlanta, and the challenges that the city has overcome are successes that we can learn from,” she said.

She also said that there already are economic ties linking the cities including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s railcars built by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
CIFAL Atlanta – Alexander Mejia (404) 446-4177