Annual Meetings

Sister Cities Holds Annual Meeting The Annual Meeting of Montgomery Sister Cities was Thursday March 29th at the Silver Spring Civic Building.  Volunteers from the Morazan, El Salvador, Gondar, Ethiopia, Hyderabad, India, Xi'an, China and Daejeon, South Korea committees provided delicious foods and decor from their countries while sharing information about these unique places.

The honorable Tebekka Tebabal, Mayor of Gondar, Ethiopia was our special guest. His presence at our meeting was the culmination of a five-day fact finding trip made to Montgomery County where he met with local officials from surrounding cities to discuss best practices in local government, operations and systems.

After presentation of a proclamation by County Executive Ike Leggett, Mayor Tebabal thanked Montgomery officials and citizens for our hallmark hospitality and reminded the audience of the importance of people to people communication fostered by Sister Cities.

The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion on “The Importance of Global Citizenship” with and Dr. Nicholas Arrindell, retired Director of International Student Programs at Johns Hopkins University and member of MSC board; Dr. Mark De Souza, President of Sister Cities International; Dr. Ruth Kranidis of the Global Institute and Dr. Sanjay Rai of Montgomery College. County Executive Isiah Leggett served as moderator of the discussion that included audience questions and observations.

The panel spoke of the importance of academic institutions and experiences in forging a global perspective by encouraging students to “saturate yourselves in culture; don’t just observe, be participants!” said Dr. De Souza. Dr. Arrindell added that the “pockets of resistance” to global perspectives can be opened through the power of Sister Cities programs that not only share cultural experiences; they serve as educators as well. Dr. Rai reminded the audience of the proven success of collaboration and cooperation among diverse communities and countries and cautioned the audience not to take democracy for granted, especially in the current climate of global tension.

Dr. Kranidis summarized the spirit of the evening “Sister Cities are formed to focus on people. The more we engage, the more we understand each other and the world around us.”

Sister Cities Holds Annual Meeting

Montgomery Sister Cities held its Annual Meeting on Thursday March 30 at the beautiful Silver Spring Civic Building.  Over 100 guests enjoyed food, music and cultural celebrations offered by volunteer committees of sister cities Morazán, El Salvador; Gondar, Ethiopia and Xi’an, China.

Board Chair Bill Nance welcomed guests with a reminder of the mission of Montgomery Sister Cities to connect Montgomery County to the world by encouraging and fostering friendship, partnership, and cooperation through educational, cultural, social, economic, humanitarian, and charitable exchanges between the people of Montgomery County and people from various nations around the world.  County Executive Ike Leggett echoed those remarks along with County Councilman George Levanthal who led the previous year’s effort to raise funds for a new neonatal ward at the San Francisco De Goterra Hospital in Morazán.

Sister Cities was especially proud to recognize the generosity of the law firm Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy and Ecker for their collection of over 500 books for the creation of a law library at the University of Gondar and Kaiser Permanente for their donation in support of the work of the Gondar committee designated by Terrance Dupree.

Guests were invited to join the delegation headed by the County Executive to Daejeon, South Korea and Xi’an China and to reach out to the world through Sister Cities.

Sister Cities Holds Annual Meeting the Silver Spring Civic Building provided a beautiful setting for the second annual meeting of Montgomery Sister Cities. Led by the volunteer committees of sister cities Morazán, El Salvador; Gondar, Ethiopia; Hyderabad, India; and Xi’an, China, the gathering of over 100 guests enjoyed food from Sister City countries, learned about volunteer opportunities and shared in a joyful celebration of the accomplishments of these dynamic committees and their vision for the coming year. Among the special news shared was the successful delegation trip to Morazán where a contribution of $11,000 raised under the leadership of Councilman George Leventhal was presented to the San Francisco de Gotera Hospital. The Gondar committee announced their plans for a delegation to travel to the city on late 2016, followed by an announcement by the Xi’an, China committee to return to China in 2017. The Hyderabad committee shared their efforts to welcome the new mayor of that sister city and continue to nurture the special bond between the city and Montgomery County. Highlights of the evening included remarks by County Executive Ike Leggett who made a special presentation to The Honorable Mari Carmen Aponte, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador. Ms. Aponte made moving remarks about the importance of cultural awareness and diversity: “Nothing. Nothing. Nothing is more important than people to people democracy.” The evening ended with a lively presentation by Ethiopian dancers who got the audience on their feet and on the dance floor! Sister Cities is proud to bring the world to Montgomery County.

On January 13, 2015, supporters of Montgomery County’s four Sister Cities gathered at the Rockville Memorial Library for a celebration of the first six years of Montgomery Sister Cities, the nonprofit established in 2009 at the initiative of County Executive Ike Leggett to partner with the county government to develop a Sister City program. Montgomery Sister Cities Board Chair Theresa Cameron greeted the crowd and joined County Executive Leggett in presenting Founding Board Chair Bill Hudnut with a framed certificate of appreciation for his six years of service recruiting the board, incorporating the organization, and leading the organization during the selection of our first three Sister Cities.

County Executive Leggett expressed special appreciation to “all of those who have taken us to their native countries, made us feel at home, and taught us what it means to be a global citizen.” County Executive Leggett explained: “Our Sister Cities program provides us a greater knowledge of people from around the world and opportunities to make connections both from a cultural point of view, human contact point of view, but also from economic development point of view. We have a number of business that are clearly at the forefront of making contacts around the world. Our trips have enhanced those opportunities.”

Representatives of each of Montgomery County’s four Sister Cities — Morazán, El Salvador; Gondar, Ethiopia; Xi’an, China; and Hyderabad, India – briefed the crowd on their initiatives and hosted a display table at the event as did representatives from Rockville Sister City Corporation and Montgomery College’s Global Humanities Institute. Attendees enjoyed dumplings from Hollywood East Café and Mimi Hassanein’s marvelous Middle Eastern baklava while sipping Ethiopian coffee from Blessed Coffee. Each participant received copies of “Montgomery Sister Cities: Report to the Community 2009-2014.” Twenty new supporters received official “Montgomery Sister Cities” pins for making financial contributions at the meeting.