International Citizen Diplomat, Honorary Consul General to Ghana, Arts Education Patron
Class of 2022
Sherman Banks, a decorated and honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran, is founder and CEO of Banks International, LLC. He serves as President Emeritus of Sister Cities International and as Honorary Consul to Arkansas and the Delta Region USA for the Republic of Ghana, where he was also coronated as the Kente Chief of Diaspora Agotime, the Volta Region, Ghana. He has over 35 years of experience in International Economic and Tourism Development to help bridge educational and cultural divides among nations.
Banks is a charter member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and is an active member of the American Legion, The Human Rights Campaign, and the Little Rock Air Force Community Council, as well as the past Honorary Commander of the 34th Combat Training Squadron.
Fluent in English and Italian, Banks has been invited to numerous foreign countries and to various educational, civic, and government organizations across the United States. He has authored educational programs for and hosted world leaders from many exotic places such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Russia, and China; in addition to nations in the Middle East, South America, Europe, and African nations including Egypt and Morocco.
Over the years, Banks has been appointed to various positions and served on numerous boards. His vast civic appointments include the Arkansas Prison Study Commission; the National and International Board of the American Library Board; and the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense and approved by then President Bill Clinton; and Liaison on the Little Rock Sister City Commission and became the first African American to have been elected president of Sister Cities International. In Ghana, he helped organize the Global Sister Cities Foundation to reduce poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and promote universal primary education. Banks has received a plethora of prestigious honors and awards for his works.
Banks has served on the Humanities Committee and the International Visitors Program at the University 0f Arkansas at Little Rock. In 1992, he served as president of the West Little Rock Rotary Club; and since 1989, he has served as chairman of the organization’s International Committee. He also served as International Tourism Director at Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Special Assistant to then Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Banks was reared by his paternal grandfather, Albert House Phillips, and his wife, Almeda Owens Phillips. He graduated from high school in Los Angeles and attended LA City College. He arrived in Arkansas in 1975 as a musician and small business owner; he also attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
Banks has made Little Rock his home.