November 18, 2010 Board Meeting

Montgomery Sister Cities Board Minutes for November 18, 2010

Attendees: Bruce Adams, Bill Hudnut, Tom Raffa, Don Mooers, Adrienne Van Lare, Evelyn Gonzalez-Mills, Devin Declan, and Theresa Cameron

The board agreed to consider the September and December meeting minutes at the next board meeting.

The board agreed upon the urgency of getting a website set up and a brochure developed.  This is important for Sister Cities to have an identity which will attract additional individual and corporate participants as well as showing Morazan, our first partner, the commitment of the organization to the sister cities program and Morazan as our first partner.

There was a discussion updating the El Salvador project progress.  It was announced that an El Salvadoran event was going to be held at River Road Unitarian Church on December 11.  Among the attendees, will be the visiting Governor from Morazan.  The Governor, a representative from ADEL (a public/private corporation which sponsors economic development in El Salvador) and the Mayor who heads the Mayors association of Morazan are expected to visit our county from December 5-12.  Bruce Adams and Karla Silvestre, County Latino liaison, are working on an agenda for the visitors. It is expected that a larger group of visitors will come to the county in the fall of 2011 or spring of 2012.  The visitors should receive from our organization our understanding of projects which might be undertaken in El Salvador according to the information generated by the visit this past summer of 20 county volunteers to Morazan.  The projects were prioritized with the help of Don Mooers identifying the possible projects and then Bruce, Don, Karla, Evelyn and Mier prioritizing the projects according to their understanding of Morazan’s needs and the feasibility of completing activities contemplated.

The planning has begun for County Executive Ike Leggett to visit Morazan this summer, most likely the last week in July.  It is hoped that during the same time, a habitat for humanity project will be undertaken by county volunteers in Morazan. It may also be the visit during which the formal documentation occurs for the county partnering with Morazan in the sister cities program.

Beit Shemesh will be the second county partner in the sister cities program.  Mier Wolf reported on the eagerness of Beit Shemesh to formalize its relationship with the county. The board would like to have a visit from Beit Shemesh leaders in the fall which might culminate in execution of a partnership agreement.  Before that, however, Bill Hudnut asked that Mier arrange a meeting for Bill, Bruce and other available board members with county Beit Shemesh Supporters to determine their level of support for this project, some of which we have seen in visits from Beit Shemesh of environmentalists and secondly Ethiopian Jews from there in the past two years.

Bill Hudnut reported in a Ukraine update that Boris Foxman, a boardmember, is currently visiting Luhansk in the Ukraine to discuss sister city possibilities.  The US Urkranian Association won an Open Door Federal Grant which will be used to bring some Luhansk leaders to the county in April so that they can learn more about the county and we about the Ukraine preparatory to considering them tor sister city partnership.

Lily Qi, Office of Community Partnerships Asian American liaison, reported on possibilities of partnering in China.  Originally, at the request of the county executive, we considered Pudong.  But Pudong decided that the memorandum of understanding they have with the county in the economic development area was as far as they wanted to go with the county.  Recently, visited Tsian-Tien near Beijing, Suzhou near Shanghai and Niajing near Shanghai for possible sister city partnering.  She advised that we should take our time in working with these cities in economic development and later on see if one of them becomes obvious for partnering.  Niajing and Suzhou are bio science centers, while Tejing is where the tourist attraction of the ceramic soldiers is located.  Meanwhile the China committee for the county will develop a website about China and the county which will be multi-lingual.  Bill Hudnut would like to be included in a meeting with the county Chinese community with whom Lily meets on sister city questions.  Mier will provide Lily with a City of Rockville sister city representative to learn about their efforts to find a sister city in China.  Mier will also send Lily the criteria for selection of county sister city partners.

In the Africa update, Bill and Bruce reported that they met with the county African American Advisory Board.  That Board is very interested in the Sister Cities program.  They will recommend a partner for the county from Africa.  The countries under consideration are Ghana, Sierra Leone, the Cameroons and Ethiopia.

Theresa Cameron offered to lead a fund raising effort for our organization.  Barry Bogage and Tom Raffa will assist her.  She hopes to do most of the work by telephone conference call.

Bill Hudnut would like to attract more corporate members for our board of directors.  There was talk of the Discover Channel.  Leadership Montgomery should be a good resource for locating new business board members.

Evelyn Gonzalez