The British flag waved from a Samford University flagpole alongside Old Glory for several days in October. Its presence helped welcome guests from Liverpool, England, who were visiting for the signing of a Sister Cities agreement between Birmingham and Liverpool.
The Liverpool delegation of 11 including Mayor Joe Anderson visited Birmingham for three days (Oct. 19-21). Much of its itinerary was focused on business and economic development and included visits to Innovation Depot, Southern Research Institute and the Birmingham Business Alliance. The group also took time to visit the Samford campus and to enjoy a dinner at the home of President Andrew Westmoreland and his wife, Jeanna.
To mark the occasion, the Liverpool group received a painting of the Birmingham skyline by Samford artist Larry Thompson, associate dean for visual arts, at the dinner.
Liverpool Mayor Anderson and Birmingham Mayor William Bell signed a Sister Cities agreement Oct. 20. The signing formalizes a relationship that will focus on commercial, historic, education and artistic exchanges.
“Many of us at Samford are honored to have played supporting roles in launching the agreement between the cities of Liverpool and Birmingham,” said President Westmoreland. “Two years ago Jeanna and I were guests at Liverpool Hope University, hosted by Gerald Pillay, the president of the university. During our time with Dr. Pillay and other new friends in Liverpool, we discovered a range of connections between our cities.”
Samford chief marketing officer Betsy Holloway was one of three delegates from Birmingham who visited Liverpool with Mayor Bell in June of 2014 at the start of negotiations for the agreement. She serves as chair of the United Kingdom Committee of the Birmingham Sister City Commission.
“It has been an honor to play a role in establishing this new Sister City relationship for Birmingham,” said Holloway. “I’m convinced that the connections will lead to significant cultural, educational and commercial opportunities for each of our communities.”The Birmingham-Liverpool agreement is part of Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U. S. and international communities to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development.