More than 250 mayors and state and federal officials are scheduled to be in Atlanta through Sunday for the National Conference of Black Mayors' 38th annual national convention.
"As leaders of large urban cities and rural areas, mayors play a vital role in ensuring the future economic growth and safety of our nation as we address challenges at home and increasing global competition from emerging economies," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “Crumbling transportation infrastructure, joblessness and failing public schools are issues that mayors tackle on a daily basis."The gathering is billed as a forum in which rural and urban mayors can exchange ideas. The Atlanta convention is expected to deal with job creation, housing, health, sustainability, green technology, international trade, good governance and ethics and broadband.
Reed will serve as official host of the meeting. He plans to welcome the officials on Thursday night with a reception at City Hall.
It's a high-profile event for the 42-year old mayor, who has received doses of national exposure on CNN and Meet the Press and in forums organized by the Aspen Institute and other groups.
Atlanta’s history as the cradle of civil rights and its evolution into an "economic and political powerhouse" led the group to select the city as its meeting place, said Robert L. Bowser, president of the NCBM and mayor of East Orange, New Jersey. The conference will be held at the Marriott hotel in Buckhead.
Founded in 1974, the National Conference of Black Mayors represents more than 650 African-American mayors across the United States.
Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama, is scheduled to be there. So are Rep. John Conyers and Ambassador Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta. Representatives from Senegal, Colombia, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are also expected to attend.
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