A June 2009 event organized by the Montgomery Sister Cities board identified El Salvador, the number one country of origin of our County’s immigrant population, as a top prospect. After researching possible Sister Cities, the board selected Morazán, a rural department (the equivalent of a state in the United States) in eastern El Salvador for an exploratory visit.
Representatives from the County Executive’s Office of Community Partnerships were part of a nearly 20-member delegation from the Montgomery County Sister Cities program that explored potential partnerships between Montgomery County and Morazán. OCP Director Bruce Adams, Latino Liaison Karla Silvestre, and Senior Fellow Mier Wolf participated in the exploratory trip to El Salvador August 7-14, 2010. Each participant paid his or her own way, and the County employees used furlough and personal leave time to participate.
The goal of Sister City programs is to foster understanding and partnership between communities. The August trip to El Salvador focused on economic development, culture, and youth exchange. One group of our delegation specialized on the history and culture of El Salvador. Another group met with students to learn about the educational system and identify potential exchange opportunities for youth. The third group met with government representatives to discuss economic development and visited nonprofit organizations and business cooperatives.