Pittsburgh has formal relationships with 18 cities around the world in locations as diverse as Russia, Paraguay, Israel, Bulgaria, and China. Yet most of these relationships don’t go very far beyond the paper they’re signed on and the resolutions filed away in City Council’s archives. As our economy is diversifying into high tech industries and our universities and medical centers are putting out world-renowned products and research, we have an opportunity to activate these existing relationships and form new ones to create real economic development and cultural exchange opportunities with cities around the world. In fact, just last August I traveled to Gaziantep, Turkey a city on the cusp of a transformation led by eds and meds, to formalize a sister city partnership and meet with leaders in business, government, faith, and the arts. We should capitalize on these relationships and bring new jobs and new investment into Pittsburgh.
1. Attracting Foreign Companies
I will be a Mayor who never stops seeking opportunities to bring new jobs and new investment into the city. One critical way to do this is to look beyond our shores at companies operating outside the United States but looking to enter the U.S. market. I recently met with the leaders of Europe’s largest manufacturer of LED lights, a company that is seriously considering opening a plant in Pittsburgh. These opportunities are out there and Pittsburgh’s affordability, accessibility, and strong business climate make it an ideal candidate for investment. All we’re missing is a Mayor willing to do the legwork to go out and find the opportunities and promote Pittsburgh as the best choice for companies around the world. I will reconnect with leaders from all of our existing sister cities to explore concrete opportunities for cross-border business investment and I will actively seek out potential new partnerships with cities that are emerging as future leaders.
2. Sharing Our Culture
Beyond business investment and job creation opportunities it is also important that we seek out avenues for cultural exchange around the world. Reestablishing partnerships with our existing sister cities could open up new avenues for cultural exchange that would enrich Pittsburgh audiences and provide opportunities for Pittsburgh-based artists and performers to share their work with an international crowd. As part of a broader strategy to reengage with our sister cities, I would like Pittsburgh to host an international arts and music festival and to work with foundations and organizations engaged in international affairs and the arts to bring artists and performers to town from all of our sister cities. We shouldn’t let these unique partnerships go to waste.