North America is important to the people and organisations of Birmingham. In recognition of that a related Association has been established under the chairmanship of Professor Jo Andrews from Birmingham City University.
With the intention of promoting meaningful engagement between Birmingham and North America the Association is building on the business, local government, education, cultural and other linkages.
The Association has met on 2 occasions to date and colleagues have begun detailing UK / USA activity. That activity is varied and extensive. It currently includes:
- National Express has a joint Birmingham / Chicago Headquarters. Its engagement in the USA is considerable being responsible for, amongst other things, the provision of the iconic yellow school buses in 30 USA states.
- Marketing Birmingham is strongly connected to the USA, promoting Birmingham and its wider tourism / business agenda with interests in the east and west coasts as well as the Mid-West. (A presentation on their work was made at the meeting on 10 January and is available on this website).
- Birmingham City Council has a Sister City relationship with Chicago and a joint work programme with City Hall. Current collaboration includes the exchange of good practice and knowledge around city management, education – teaching and learning, school governance etc; immigration and social services. There is also a Forum 48 partnership of the City Council, Birmingham City University and others seeking to promote the concept of Knowledge Cities.
- Schools in Birmingham have, through The Edge Partnership, been working with counterparts in Chicago for over 10 years.
- Birmingham City and the University of Birmingham universities are currently developing bi-lateral relationships with DePaul and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
- There has been considerable cultural activity with North America involving for example the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In addition the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is looking forward to a prestigious residency at the Library of Congress in Washington in April 2014.
Future meetings of the Association will provide the opportunity for organisations to showcase their work and collaborate with others to further develop Birmingham`s linkages with North America.
20 December 2013