Government, business, technology, and education leaders from the city of Newcastle upon Tyne visited Atlanta recently. Headed by Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes, the delegates explored opportunities to grow the Sister City relationship between the two cities. The visit followed a trip to Newcastle by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in November 2012.
During their trip, the group saw many of Atlanta’s development initiatives including the Atlanta BeltLine, Atlantic Station, and Aerotropolis Atlanta. These urban renewal plans offered the delegates a glimpse of how the projects spurred sustainable business, economic, and social well-being in areas that had long been neglected or underutilized, particularly in the wake of difficult economic times.
Atlanta and Newcastle have had a long-standing relationship dating back to 1977 when President Jimmy Carter visited Newcastle. The cities also share unique bonds. In 1967, Newcastle University conferred on Dr Martin Luther King, Jr an honorary doctorate degree, the only UK university to do so before his assassination in 1968. Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes presented a DVD of Dr King’s acceptance speech to The King Center during the visit.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall, who chairs the city’s international relations committee, met with the delegation. They discussed the future plans for the sister city relationship spanning business, higher education, and cultural exchange.