Chicago hosted social services delegates from its sister cities of Birmingham and Hamburg from June 1-14, 2014 as part of the ongoing Tri-City Social Services Exchange between the three cities.
Since its inception in 1998, the Tri-City Social Services Exchange has connected social service professionals from Chicago, Birmingham and Hamburg, creating important cross-cultural dialogue and best practices between the cities. In 2014, the exchange was extended to a two week program and included a political track for visiting politicians.
The visiting politicians included:
Birmingham City Council
• Brigid Jones, Councilor & Cabinet Member for Children & Family Services
• Peter Hay, Strategic Director for People
Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
• Jan Poerksen, Secretary of State, Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration
• Herbert Wiedermann, Head of Department, Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration, Department of Family
Chicago hosted a comprehensive program around the theme of “Building Safer Communities for Children, Adults and Families”. As a culmination of the exchange in Chicago during this 18th Annual Social worker International Exchange, a conference was held for the wider social services community in Chicago to come experience presentations and group discussions with the international colleagues.
Kathleen Borland, Chair of the Social Service Initiative presented a congratulatory letter of support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the politicians from Birmingham and Hamburg at the conference hosted by Dominican University. Ms. Borland and Viviane Ngwa were integral in the planning of the exchange in Chicago.
The Birmingham Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, led by Chair Rupert Ward, hosted a welcome reception on June 3 and Rolf Achilles, Chair of the Hamburg Committee and Art Historian led a tour of downtown Chicago.
Hamburg will host the exchange in 2015.