Birmingham Sister Cities

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Birmingham Sister Cities (officially the Birmingham Sister City Commission) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which administers the American Sister Cities Program on behalf of the City of Birmingham.

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 organized as part of the National League of Cities, but since 1967 has been an independent organization, Sister Cities International (SCI), "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".

The Birmingham Sister City Commission was founded as a public commission by city ordinance on April 23, 1982. It's powers and duties were enumerated as:

  1. To further economic cooperation and cultural exchange on the basis of mutual friendship and amity between the City of Birmingham and cities hereafter designated as its sister cities by the city council of the City of Birmingham
  2. To develop, compile, coordinate and exchange information with the officials and citizens of all such designated sister cities.
  3. To plan, develop and carry out mutual economic and cultural activities with the officials and citizens of all such designated sister cities.
  4. To encourage and cultivate mutual understanding of the respective economic, social and cultural problems existing within and between the City of Birmingham and its designated sister cities.
  5. To appoint committees and subcommittees and delegate responsibility and authority thereto.

The Birmingham Sister City Commission was subsequently incorporated as a non-proift by Nicholas Scielzo and Scotty Colson on October 20, 1994.

In 2005, under the leadership of Birmingham Sister Cities chair Ruth Lamonte, Birmingham signed an unusual "trilateral" partnership agreement with Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel and Al-Karak, Jordan. The city had a long-standing relationship with Rosh Ha’Ayin through the Kimerling family and ongoing "Project Renewal" and "Partnership 2000" programs. Birmingham mayor Bernard Kincaid, Al-Karak Mayor Mohammed Maita, and Rosh Ha’Ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai signed the agreement on November 9 at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

In 2012 the Birmingham Sister City Commission was honored as the "Best Overall Program" for cities between 100,000 and 300,000 by Sister City International. It received the award again in 2016. In 2017 Birmingham Sister Cities coordinated fund-raising and planning efforts to build a library and community center in the village of Apaaso, Ghaana. Birmingham's Sister City of Winneba, Ghana participated in the effort. Paul Amamoo chaired the Ghana Committee which coordinated the project.

The organization's first executive director, Corlette Stewart Burns, was hired in 2020.

The City of Birmingham displays the flags of the home countries of its sister cities at East Lake Park.

Sister Cities

Friendship Cities



  • Sasebo, Japan. Former Birmingham resident Katie Parsons, a native of Sasebo, listed a sister-city agreement between her two homes among her dying wishes.


Executive directors

As of January 2022 the Birmingham Sister City Commission is made up of:

The non-profit board consists of:


External link