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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Sister Cities and Councilmember Rice Host the Mayor’s Delegation from Gondar, Ethiopia in Historic Trip

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 20, 2019

From the Office of Councilmember Craig Rice

Rockville, Md., Sept. 20, 2019—On Sunday, Sept. 15, Montgomery Sister Cities, Inc. and Councilmember Craig Rice welcomed the Mayor of Gondar, Ethiopia Dr. Muluken Adane and his delegation including Department of Education head, Amare Mesfin Endalew, and the Sister Cities Coordinator, Ayanaw Gebremichael Mengesha, for their weeklong stay in Montgomery County, Md.

The delegation’s visit is a result of the growing partnership between Montgomery County and Ethiopia, where in 2012 Gondar was chosen as a new Sister City to enhance the relationship between the Ethiopian community in Maryland and Ethiopia. In January 2019, Councilmember Rice led a delegation of County officials and community leaders in a 12-day trip to experience Ethiopia’s rich culture and collaborate on how each jurisdiction could leverage their resources to the benefit of both communities.

This September, the Gondar delegation visited Montgomery County to connect with key government officials and leaders who could share the County’s best practices in several important issue areas including education, environment, agriculture, public health, economic development and tourism. The mayor and his delegation met with the County Executive and County Councilmembers, department heads, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, community leaders and Senator Chris Van Hollen on the federal level. The visit and meetings also served as a foundation for further collaborations in the future.

“This Sister Cities trip was an amazing opportunity to take our partnership to the next level by creating tangible action steps that will lead to real changes in key issue areas as identified in our previous trip,” said Councilmember Rice. “As a result of the Gondar delegation’s visit, we have strengthened our commitment to each other, and I look forward to our continued and deepened collaboration.”

While visiting the County, the delegation also had opportunities for immersion in the diverse communities of Montgomery County and Washington D.C. This is the first time any members of the delegation have visited the U.S. Highlights of their visit included a tour of the U.S. Capitol and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, FutureFest and the Pan African Festival. The delegation also received a proclamation from the County Executive, Council President Nancy Navarro and Councilmember Rice recognizing their historic visit.

The Office of Community Partnerships was established in 2006 by then-County Executive Isiah Leggett. Montgomery Sister Cities, Inc. resides within that department and was established a year later in 2007 to strengthen ties to the people who have come to our County from every corner of the globe. County Executive Leggett wanted to ensure that Montgomery County is an open and welcoming community to all residents.

The Washington metropolitan region is home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Africa. They are also the largest African immigrant group in the region; approximately 15,000 residents originally from Ethiopia live in the County. The city of Silver Spring has the largest concentration of Ethiopian businesses in Maryland.

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Release ID: 19-303
Media Contact: Nicole Rodriguez-Hernandez 240-777-7947