I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you on behalf a grass-roots initiative that dovetails with CA’s existing Sister Cities program. I’m Valerie Montague, chair of the Advisory Committee for CA’s Int’l and Multicultural Programs. I’m also a member of a group, the Sister Cities Planning Committee, drawn from the community, that is very interested in having a sister cities program that is more reflective of the world. The impetus came from Doris Ligon, founder of the African Art Museum of Maryland, who contacted your Multicultural Programs Manager, Laura Smit. I’d like the planning committee members who are present tonight to stand so you can see some of the support for the ideas we are presenting.
Partnership made official with signed agreement between two cities. Citizens of both towns engage in programs that allow for one-on-one citizen diplomacy.
These programs can help people understand other cultures and, in our case, increase international awareness of, and respect for, Columbia.
We currently have two sister cities. Hundreds of students and adults from here and from Europehave deepened their knowledge of each other countries, have gotten an idea of how the U.S. is viewed abroad, and have learned, and helped others learn, how very similar we are in many ways. CA’s Int’l Day was planned to coincide with the period each year when Columbia families are hosting visiting French and Spanish sister cities students.
w/Columbia’s increasing diversity, there is growing interest in developing relationships with additional countries on additional continents. A number of Columbia residents, starting with Doris Ligon of the African Art Museum of Maryland, began exploring the potential for a sister city relationship in Africa. Doris contacted Laura Smit and we want to thank Laura for her openness to this idea, as well as her diligence and commitment to giving Columbia residents realistic opportunities to gain the int’l experience that is increasingly important in a globally interconnected world.
The Sister Cities exploratory committee came up with criteria to guide our search for a suitable partner for Columbia. A community as diverse as this one could benefit from having sister cities all over the world – now only Europe. So, we think it’s reasonable to focus on other continents, including Africa. To discuss the idea in more detail, I want to present Dr. Willie Lamouse-Smith, a resident of Harper’s Choice who is a Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies at UMBC, and who was born in Ghana.
River Hill resident Harriet Lancaster was the Director of the Peace Corps in Ghana for 5 years, from 1994 - 1999
Dr. Lamouse-Smith travels frequently to Ghana and offered to deliver a letter of interest last December to gauge interest on the part of Tema’s government. After receiving a positive response, Laura has continued the dialogue.
These are some of the areas the committee feels might be good to explore for possible in-person or virtual exchanges with Tema.
There are 16 members of the exploratory committee. 3/4ths of us live in Columbia. Half have spent time in Ghana or were born there. Biographical sketches are in your packet
Sister City relationships take time to build – months, perhaps years. It may involve several in-person visits before an agreement can be signed. Doris Ligon is planning to go to Ghana next summer w/a group from her museum, as are David Barrett and Ken Jennings, w/ another group of Alpha Achievers. To help develop a sister cities relationship with Columbia, Doris, David and Ken have offered to meet with relevant officials while they are in Ghana next summer.We anticipate that the next year should focus on fine tuning areas of interest and learning to work together. Near-term cost to CA would be minimal. The following year, before actual exchanges begin, we foresee the CA int’l program manager, or another rep, doing an in-person visit to discuss ways to vet host families, decide on places to visit, etc.
We request your permission for CA’s int’l program manager to continue her contact with Tema officials, and to develop the content and process of a Sister City relationship. We as a committee are ready to help and to continue donating time and energy to something we believe is important and is a direction that will benefit Columbia.
Your packet has biographical sketches of each committee member
Tema ghana sister city presentation.2011
October 27, 2011
What is a “Sister City?” Broad-based, officially approved, long-term partnership between two communities. Becomes official with the signing of an agreement by officials of the two cities, after approval by city councils of each community. Allows citizen volunteers of both communities to get involved in international relations, citizen diplomacy & projects of mutual interest. 2
Why Have a Sister City? To increase understanding between cultures, through direct, friendly, personal contact As long term partners, to open dialogues with people of another culture who can share insights and perspectives 3
Columbia’s Current Sister Cities1. Cergy-Pontoise, France (since 1977)2. Tres Cantos, Spain (since 1990) Hundreds of high school students have gained global perspective, improved language skills through CA youth exchanges. CA has also sponsored adult exchanges, based on business, art and cuisine. Columbia International Day was created to celebrate the annual July Sister Cities High School Exchange, beginning in 1995. 4
New Sister City for Columbia Interest in developing relationships with non-European nations is growing. Community members began meeting in June 2011 to explore the possibility of a relationship with a planned city in Africa. Tema in Ghana was identified by community members as a planned city, with potential for a sister city relationship with Columbia 5
Selection Criteria Planned community, like Columbia Safe and welcoming for visitors Politically stable country Non-stop flight accessibility Near the nation’s capital Opportunities for cultural, educational & economic exchanges Reflective of a large segment of Columbia’s diverse population 6
Why Africa? 24.8% of Columbia’s population is African-American. Many have profound interest in Africa. Many Ghanaians and Nigerians live in Columbia 21044 is #77 on list of zip codes w/largest percentage of Ghanaian first ancestries 21046 is #83 on list with the largest percentage of Nigerian first ancestries (source: city-data.com) Columbia’s diversity should be reflected in CA’s international programs Our Sister Cities currently only involve European cities. 7
In June 2011, Ghana was selected as oneof four nations to continue to accessgrants under the MillenniumChallenge, given to nations workingtoward:• ruling justly• investing in people• encouraging economic freedom. 17
Why Ghana? Education Public education is free and mandatory English is official language; taught in all the schools 5 public and 12 private universities, and 10 public polytechnics offering British Higher National Diploma 18
Why Ghana? Visitor-friendly 2010 Global Sister Cities Foundation International Conference held in Accra. First country to welcome the Peace Corps program; Former CA President Pat Kennedy accompanied very first Peace Corps group in 1961. Popular destination for Columbians: African Art Museum of Maryland and Columbia Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity have organized several trips there. Students and faculty from Howard Community College’s Nursing Dept. have visited health clinics in Kumasi. 20
Why Ghana? Business-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Accra includes…• Cargill • IBM• ADM • 3M• DHL • Motorola• FedEx • Star-Kist• UPS • PriceWaterhouseCoopers• KPM • United Airlines• Coca Cola • Delta Air Lines• S.C. Johnson • National Cash Register• Ralston Purina• Pfizer 24
“Over the last 20 years, politicalstability and economic growth hasbeen the long-term trend. Ghana is ontrack to meet the MillenniumDevelopment goal of halving extremepoverty by 2015.” – State Dept. background note 25
Reasons for Selecting Tema• Tema, like Columbia, began in the 1960s as a planned community• Tema has many different ethnic and language groups -- primary language is English• Only 16 miles from the nation’s capital, Accra, on the coast.• Population of Tema Township: 120,000 26
Tema’s Current Sister Cities• San Diego, CA (since 1976):• Norfolk , VA (since 2010):• Greenwich, England (since 1990)Sister Cities International requires that Columbia signCooperative Agreements with Tema’s existing U.S. sistercities in order to develop a new sister city relationship. 31
Exploration with Tema To Date• Dr. Willie B. Lamousé –Smith hand- delivered letter from CA to Tema’s government to gauge interest – Dec. 2010• Tema Mayor, Hon. Robert Kempes Ofosuware, responded with letter of interest – Jan 2011• CA Program Manager Laura Smit has been in email contact with Frank Asante, officer in charge of Sister Cities relations for Tema 32
Potential focus for Columbia – Tema relationship• Cultural/historical• Visual and performing arts• Sports• Health• Education• Media• Technology• Environment, water management & sanitation• City planning• Business partnershipsYouth & Adult In-person Exchanges AND via videoconferencingand other electronic media 33
Committee Members with Links to Ghana Doris Ligon , African Art Museum of Maryland sponsors trips to Ghana and visits Tema Ken Jennings & David Barrett, Alpha Phi Alpha members regularly take Howard County teens to Ghana and visit Tema Kwaku Ofori-Ansa, Ghanaian, Howard University professor of Visual Arts Willie B. Lamousé-Smith, originally from Cape Coast, Ghana, with contacts in Tema Pat Kennedy – took first Peace Corps group to Ghana Harriet Lancaster – Peace Corps Director in Ghana – 5 yrs Jim Lancaster – President & Founder of African Literacy, Art & Development Association, Honorary Chief of Torgorme, Volta Region Gerry Maxwell-Jones, Ghanaian Arts & Crafts Gloria Paul born in Ghana. Bill Paul, Bill is grandson of a Paramount Chief 34
Estimated Cost Tema, Ghana Sister City Program• Hosting of Ghanaian exchange visitors by community members in their homes – no cost to CA• Travel by Columbians at their own expense – no cost to CA• Miscellaneous expenses for Ghanaian exchange visitors, such as welcome dinner with CA staff/board, refreshments for participants in events• Administrative expenses, such as meeting refreshments, copies/printing, office supplies, postage• Airfare for one trip by Program Manager in FY13 - $1,200; some meals & hotel if not staying with local hostFY12: Under $500FY13: Under $2,000 36
Next steps• Gain approval from the Columbia Association Board of Directors to proceed with the Sister City partnership process with Tema, Ghana• Collaborate with Tema to develop a partnership agreement and organize signing ceremony• Research initial exchanges, activities, travel, etc. 37
Planning Committee Members (page 1) DAVID BARRETT, leads Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Ghana study tours ELIZABETH (Liz) BOBO, State Delegate BRITTANY DUNBAR, CA Camp Staff, former student at George Washington University, business project with Ghanaian street vendors KEN JENNINGS, leads Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Ghana study tours PADRAIC KENNEDY, former CA president; organized first Peace Corp mission to Ghana STACY KORBELAK, Assistant Professor at Howard Community College; Coordinator of its Global Distinction program WILLIE B. LAMOUSE-SMITH, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies at UMBC HARRIET LANCASTER, former Director for the Peace Corps in Ghana JIM LANCASTER JR., served in senior positions with ACTION/Peace Corps 38
Committee members (cont.) DORIS LIGON, Founder and Director of African Art Museum of Maryland JOSEPH MASON , HCC professor GERRY MAXWELL-JONES, African art & crafts, former HCPSS educator VALERIE MONTAGUE, chair of CA’s International and Multicultural Advisory Committee; former cultural exchange program manager KWAKU OFORI-ANSA , Associate Professor African Visual Culture at Howard University; created its Ghana study tour program BILL & GLORIA PAUL, Columbia residents with strong family ties to Ghana JEAN TOOMER, Chair of board of trustees of the African Art Museum of Maryland Staff: Laura Smit, Program Manager, International & Multicultural Programs Katelyn Ely, HCPSS GT Intern 39