Birmingham Sister City Commission
The American Sister Cities program was initiated as a citizen diplomacy project in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. Called the "People to People" program, it was originally administered as part of the National League of Cities, but since 1967 has been a separate organization, Sister Cities International (SCI), which is "a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development".
SCI leads the movement for local community development and volunteer action by motivating and empowering private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual benefit. SCI guidelines permit only one "sister city" per country, leading to the second designation of "Friendship Cities".
Birmingham displays the flags of the home countries of its sister cities at East Lake Park.
- Hitachi, Japan (1982 - present): Birmingham sends two college graduates to teach in Hitachi schools each year. A bronze replica of Vulcan by Branko Medenica is displayed in the city park in Hitachi. Birmingham accepted a pair of large stone lanterns displayed at the Japanese Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
- Gweru, Zimbabwe: The director of the Gweru Public Health Department visited Birmingham to study AIDS education programs. The relationship has been suspended due to political turmoil.
- Székesfehérvár, Hungary (1993 - present): Birmingham-Southern College sends students to teach English at Kodalyani College in Székesfehérvár. The Ambassador of Hungary has visited Birmingham and a Salute to Hungary was held by the Birmingham Festival of Arts in 2001.
- Guédiawaye, Senegal (2005 - present) Birmingham donated computers, books and medical supplies to Guédiawaye. Numerous local leaders made a visit to Senegal after the agreement was signed.
- Pomiglian D'Arco, Italy: The exchange has been suspended for lack of communication.
- Vinnitsa, Ukraine: (2003 - present) Links between Children's Hospital and Ukraine's pediatric health system have been initiated. Scotty Colson serves as honorary consul from Alabama.
- Anshan, China: Anshan, an iron and steel center, sponsored an 18-month visit by their deputy director for economic and foreign affairs during which numerous business relationships were forged. Cultural and educational exchanges have also taken place with Anshan.
- Plzeň, Czech Republic: UAB and the Institute of Art and Design of the University of West Bohemia sponsor a student exchange program. The Birmingham Festival of Arts held a Salute to the Czech Republic in 2007 with Plzeň official visiting.
- Al Karak, Jordan (2005 - present)
- Winneba, Ghana (2008 - present) builds on a relationship started through Tabernacle Baptist Church.
- Liverpool, England (2015-)
- Maebashi, Japan (2017-)
- Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel (2005 - present) a pen-pal program was created with students from N. E. Miles Jewish Day School, including a visit to Israel.
- Maebashi, Japan (-2017), has a display about Samuel Ullman in their poetry museum and has sponsored an art exhibition in Birmingham.
- Chao Yang district, Beijing, China
- Cobán, Guatemala (through Partners for the Americas)
- Krasnodon, Ukrane
Sister Province to Alabama
- Natta, Andre (May 3, 2012) "Sister Cities Commission recognized as Best Overall Program" The Terminal
- Gamlin, Rachael (July 1, 2016) "Birmingham Sister Cities wins prestigious national award." Birmingham Business Journal