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April 2023 Board Meeting

MSC Board Meeting Minutes  

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Guests: Secretary of State Susan Lee, Mary Nitsch, and Michael Lore.

MSC: Bruce Adams, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Alicia Hannon, Michael Mills, Jeannette Noltenius, Matthew Lee, Clemmie Solomon, Joy West, Sabrina Hsu, Roman Santillan, Mirin Phool and Nan Qiao.

Excused: Yasin Yimam

Absentees: N/A

Staff: Diane Vu and Arwa Khadr

The quarterly meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:04 p.m. by the Chair Tracy-Alexis Dixon.

 

Approval of the Agenda

A motion passed approving the April 18, 2023 agenda.

Approval of March 2023 Minutes

On a motion to approve by Board member Solomon and seconded by Board member Hannon the minutes of the March 14, 2023, meeting was approved.

 

Guest Speaker Remarks: Secretary of State (SOS) Susan Lee

  • SOS Lee discussed Maryland Sister States with the Board of Directors. She emphasized the importance of Maryland becoming a Global leader of international trade, technology, and education. She and her team have met with all of Maryland Sister States to evaluate which sister cities to prioritize. Her team has met with 9 representatives of Asian countries and have welcomed three dozen delegations.

  • Mr. Lore emphasized that Maryland has 20 Sister States and plans to meet with Sister City International to maximize citizen diplomats revitalize the board. Governor Moore wants to push these efforts!

  • Board member Adams shared that MSC has a partnership with Montgomery College (MC). Sanjay Rai, a former MC staff, was recently appointed by the Governor as the Secretary of Higher Education. HE expressed that we hope to work with him in the near future.

  • SOS Lee stated she is the International Subcabinet which has a number of secretaries in that Cabinet. One of them is the Secretary of Higher Education. Mr. Rai is excited to join the administration to bring education around the world.

  • Board Chair Dixon introduced the Board of Directors and our five Sister Cities provided updates: 

  • Morazán, El Salvador- Board member Noltenius

  • A Group of 20 teachers of MC went to El Salvador.

  • In Morazán we created a two-year technical college.

  • We are pushing to build camps there. 

  • Gondar, Ethiopia – Board chair Dixon

  • Gondar celebrated 10-year anniversary this year

  • We want to make more work there.

  • Board member Mills stated MC has a standing MOU with Gondar University. The relationship is based on the mutual sharing of information, and ideas for mutual benefit.

  • Board member Solomon added that we work collaboratively, for example, we organized a study abroad trip to Ethiopia for 14 students from MC. We contributed medical book during this visit.

  • Xi’an, China – Board member Hsu

  • Northwestern Chinese American Association Greater Washington (NWCAAGW) is our Sister City.

  • We had summer 10 days of high school summer camp.  It was turned it into Zoom during the pandemic.

  • High school exchanging and performing art is a new project.

  • SOS Lee stated that a lot of Chinese American students have made a significant contribution to Montgomery County, MD. They are part of our organizations. 

  • Daejon, South Korea – Board member Lee

  • SOS Lee expressed to board member Lee that he has been instrumental in economic development. She asked if we could help with Sister States and South Korea’s projects.

  • Board member Lee stated the President Yun will arrive May 22 (Baltimore sister city). There are at least four sister cities within Maryland.   

  • Hyderabad, India – Board member Phool

  • Board member Phool expressed that the community is looking forward to a second visit to Hyderabad.

  • SOS Lee stated we don't have a Sister State there yet, but we want to do that. 

  • Board Chair Dixon stated that MSC’s goal for this year is to increase community outreach and to work closely with the international sister cities.

  • Director of Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) Vu stated the County Executive just came back from Taiwan. He wants to travel to India, with additional support to MSC from MC. She added that the county wants to make sure we understand what your desire is. How can OCP play a role in the connections? She is interested in hearing how the office and CE can help to move this work forward.

  • SOS Lee stated we would like to work with you on the trip to India. MC is the exemplifier of sister cities and international sister cities exchange. What we like to do is later meet with Diane Vu, Bruce Adams, Sr. Council Joseph Gibheart and Mindy via Zoom. We can do that at a later date early next week.

  • OCP Vu added that she would not be in her position, and no Sister Cities if it weren’t for Board member Adams.

  • The board thanked SOS Lee and her staff for joining the call.

  • Diane (in the chat): “Montgomery County is the gold standard when it comes to Sister Cities." Going to use that quote tomorrow for the council budget session!”

Regular Agenda meetings:

Treasures report:

·       Board member Santillan shared that the board and committee did a lot of activities this fiscal year. Board member Hannon confirmed that she received the reimbursement check for the South Africa trip. 

  • Board member Santillan confirmed we have not received the check from Board member Yimam.

  • On a motion to approve by Board member Noltenius and seconded by Board member Mills, the treasurer’s report was accepted.

Senior Fellow Position

·      Board chair Dixon stated that we completed the first and second rounds of interviews. Office of Human Resource (OHR) extended an offer. We don't expect to have the new hire start soon. The hiring process may take a month.

Budget

  • MSC submitted a proposal to the County for an additional $50k increase to the Grant or as an add-on budget.

o   OCP Vu requests that the Board specifically identifies what the $50K. She will be presenting in front of the Operations Committee tomorrow morning at 9am. This amount would be a one-time award payment.

§  50K used to hire a 3rd party consultant to assist with trip planning and fundraising

§  RY23 recommendation [50K] + 21K

·      Hire Outside Consultant – with focus on fundraising, operations, trip expenses.

·      Board Vice Chair Mills suggested 50% for fundraising efforts; 50% divided within the sister cities

·      Board member Adams suggested 50% hiring a consultant; 25% outreach events; 25% India Trip

o   OCP Vu summarized she will emphasize the importance of increasing the capacity of Montgomery sister cities. Strengthen engagement outreach with sister cities and committees – operating expenses and staff to increase local activities and support trip logistics. She encourages the board to contact Council members.

o   Board member Santillan added that the Morazan committee and some Board members have spoken to County Council Chair Evan Glass and Laurie-Anne Sayles. 

 

Sister City Committee Reports

·      Morazan

o   Met with County Council President Evan Glass and CE Elrich.

o   Expressed concerns that the Government of El Salvador wants to get in the middle of the relationship with Morazan. County and Board to not get involved with Government concerns.

o   Annual Gala Fundraiser scheduled for October 2023.

·      Gondar

o   Board member Solomon suggested sharing the produced video with the County Council.

o   Board Vice Chair Mills suggested sharing with Operations committee

o   Board member Hannon shared the County Council felt they weren’t aware of the South Africa trip.

·      Xi’an

o   NCAAGW board member, Feng Hao, traveling to China.

o   Board chair Dixon to introduce Mr. Feng to Xi’an Officials via email. (Completed)

·      Daejon

o   President Yun visiting next Monday.

o   70 year anniversary of the US – Korea Alliance.

o   Daejon has a MIT in Korea called KIST. Primary focus is research and development, science, and technology. Lots of small companies want to come to the US because of their interest in Government contracting.

·      India

o   Contacted Hyderabad Mayors office to begin planning discussions.

o   The India delegation will development sub groups (Economic dev council, Mont college etc other interest groups).

o   Board chair Dixon to contact OCP office to meet with County Executive. (Completed)


 

2023 Event Calendar

·      Annual Meeting – Humanitarian Walk September 17, 2023 1-6PM

o   Silver Spring Civic Center Great Hall/Atrium.

o   Will apply for CAP funding July 1, 2023 to offset costs.

o   Each Sister City will provide at least 2 entertainment performers.

o   Special invitation to Elected Officials, Community Leaders, MC Leaders

o   The chair of the student Ethiopian committee at Montgomery College called and is interested to help with planning. Goal is to have Montgomery College be co-host.

 

Other Business:

·      SCI Africa Summit Meetup April 17, 2023

o   Meeting was a success. Girma Hagos, Montgomery College TV Producer is working on finalizing the video.

o   Laurie Anne Sayles and President Leroy attended.

o   Leroy will be stepping down as the SCI president next month

o   Board Meetings – Board Chair Dixon changed the cadence to every 2 months/6x year (February, April, June, August, October, December)

 

Committee

Individuals Assigned

El Salvador

Roman, Jeannette

Gondar

Yasin, Clemmie, Michael

Xi’an

Sabrina, Nan

South Korea

Mathew

Hyderabad

Mirin, Michael

Nominating Committee (Recruiting/volunteers)

Bruce, Tracey, Mumin, Clemmie

Community Events committee (Upcoming events, planning)

Alicia, Tracey, Joy, Jeannette

Communications committee (newsletter, website)

Sr. Fellow, Tracey

Fundraising committee (grants)

Sr. Fellow, Staff, Tracey, Clemmie

 

The MSC Board of Directors meeting was adjourned 8:50PM

 

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