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Councilmember Craig Rice leads Montgomery County Sister Cities trip to Gondar, Ethiopia

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 11, 2019

Office of Councilmember Craig Rice

Councilmember Craig Rice will lead Montgomery County Sister Cities on a cultural tour to Gondar, Ethiopia from Jan. 16 to Jan. 26. The delegation will include County residents, staff from Montgomery College, Sister City members, and faith leaders. Montgomery County Sister Cities Ethiopia Program was established in 2012 by former County Executive Isiah Leggett to strengthen ties between the County’s Ethiopian community and Ethiopia. Gondar, Ethiopia is one of the County’s prominent Sister Cities and these cultural exchanges foster community engagement through education, events, fundraisers, and partner relations.

During the visit, the delegation will join the mayor of Gondar and other dignitaries to celebrate Ethiopia’s annual three-day Timket celebration in Gondar. This festival commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist at the Royal Enclosure and Fasilides Bath.

The delegation also will visit the University of Gondar and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday. In addition, the delegation will partner with the University of Gondar to show a historical presentation of Dr. King’s life. Bringing this historical celebration to the people of Gondar raises awareness about Dr. King’s fight for equality and shows how his dream for freedom has impacted America and the world. 

Montgomery College leaders also will discuss the possibilities for continuing collaboration with the University of Gondar, which include study abroad opportunities for American and Ethiopian students, faculty exchange arrangements, and other programs that will continue to strengthen ties between Gondar and the County.

Additionally, the delegation will take part in a Day of Community Service, which will include dedicating a park to the Gondar/Montgomery Sister Cities partnership, donating medical supplies to a local community clinic, and donating computers to local schools and law books to the University of Gondar. The delegation tour will include visits to the Ethiopian National Museum, Falasha Jewish community, historical churches, mosques, and meetings with religious and prominent community leaders.

According to the Embassy of Ethiopia, the Washington metropolitan area is home to the largest community of Ethiopian Americans outside of Africa.  In addition, Silver Spring has the largest concentration of Ethiopian businesses in Maryland.

For more information about the County’s Sister City program, please visit

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Release ID: 19-007
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931