June 21, 2024

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

Mapping the Global Footprint of U.S. Cities

U.S. Conference of Mayors and Truman Center Announce Findings from Survey on U.S. Cities’ International Activities

Friday, June 21, 2024

Kansas City, MO - During the 92nd Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Conference and the Truman Center are pleased to debut the results of their collaboration to understand the international activities of U.S. cities.

Launched in April 2024, this joint survey seeks to raise awareness about the importance of international engagement by U.S. cities for advancing local economic development, addressing global challenges, and strengthening U.S. global leadership.

This initiative, combined with Truman’s data collection, reveals the extensive formal and informal international relationships cultivated by 166 U.S. cities, comprising more than 1,600 unique engagements. The Truman Center will incorporate this data into a first-of-its-kind interactive map of subnational diplomacy to be released later this summer.

Key findings:

  • Countries of Engagement: China, Mexico, Japan, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are the top countries of engagement for U.S. cities.
  • Priority Areas: Nearly half of the engagements advance economic development goals (45%) and/or cultural and educational programs (43%), with climate and sustainability issues ranking third (14%).
  • Engagement Methods: U.S. cities cultivate relations with the world through multiple methods, including Sister Cities relations (54%), sector-specific partnerships and memoranda (7%), city networks (9%), welcoming foreign delegations (11%), and sending missions abroad (15%).
  • Resource challenges: While 60% of surveyed cities have staff managing international affairs as part of their duties, fewer than 20% have a dedicated director or manager.

This ongoing initiative offers new evidence U.S. local governments can use to enhance their international engagement. It will also help businesses, universities, and federal agencies understand the driving issues behind U.S. city diplomacy – boosting support and capacity nationwide,” said Max Bouchet, Truman’s Deputy Director for City and State Diplomacy.

"It's clear that mayors understand the importance of forging city to city relationships with foreign countries, primarily as a strategy to reach their economic development goals. But Mayors and city leaders also understand the value of maintaining these partnerships because they serve to strengthen our understanding of the world we live in and how we can work together to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing cities today,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Conference and the Truman Center will continue collecting data to expand understanding of the fast-growing field of city diplomacy. Cities yet to participate in the survey can do so here.

About the Truman Center – The Truman Center is a nonpartisan organization committed to advancing principled solutions to complex national security challenges. Leveraging a diverse network of experts, policymakers, and stakeholders, the Truman Center strives to redefine national security by promoting inclusive dialogue, innovative solutions, and principled leadership. Through programs, advocacy, and engagement nationwide, the Truman Center ensures that a broad spectrum of voices inform national security policies.

About the United States Conference of Mayors – The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Follow our work on X, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, and Medium.