“From owning and operating the world’s busiest and most efficient airport to being home to numerous Fortune 500 companies and consulates, our influence spans the globe and this office will only foster the growth of that influence,” Dickens said in a statement.
With the new office, current International Affairs Director Vanessa Ibarra will be placed in a cabinet-level position, according to city officials. In addition to focusing on international affairs, the office will also connect the city’s departments with its counterparts nationally and internationally to address local issues and exchange best practices.
Cities such as New York and Los Angeles have similar international affairs offices, according to the council’s ordinance, but the Atlanta’s new executive office is also the latest visible expansion of the mayor’s input on city affairs. In her last year as mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms created the office of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and she also created the office of violence reduction. Dickens is currently working with the council to create a nightlife division office to address nuisance businesses, as well.
On Sept. 17, the new office is partnering with the Georgia Council for International Visitors to host the 39th annual Consular Ball, which honors the Georgia Consular Corps and Atlanta’s international community.
Earlier this month, Dickens traveled to the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a U.S. delegation to contribute to a presentation on eliminating racial discrimination. He also became a co-chair of the Truman Center for National Policy’s new Task Force on City and State Diplomacy in February.