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August 27, 2020 Board Meeting

Minutes Board Meeting via Zoom. Thursday 27 August, 2020

Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Hannon, Nan Qiao, Roman Santillan, Clemmie Solomon and Yasin Yimam

Staff: Cynthia Morris, Contractor; Diane Vu, Director, Office of Community Partnerships, Zoom meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm by Chairman Mumin Barre.

Meeting agenda was approved unanimously (Hannon/Santillan)

Minutes from 24 March and 29 July were approved unanimously. (Solomon/Adams)


Cynthia summarized the report submitted to Roman and Mumin. The outstanding County Grant invoices totaling $14,356.32 were paid and deposited, along with $130 in contributions from America’s Charities. After the $5,126 check for the Ethiopian PPE contribution, our checking balance is


Referring to the mid-year balance sheet, $1,047.60 of those funds are earmarked for the China committee and $6,680.77 for the Morazán committee, leaving an operating balance for MSC of

$3,686.91. Gondar and South Korea still show deficit balances of $6,734.58 and $3,100 respectively (Attached). She also confirmed that all paperwork for the FY2021 County Grant has been signed and funds are now available.


Diane reported that with a Census response rate of 76%, Montgomery County, Maryland ranks ninth in the U.S. (tied with Idaho!). The County also has the lowest online response rate? With just under four weeks to go, volunteers are working overtime to increase response rates. Departmental administrative support is still short staffed, so any invoices should be submitted in a timely fashion as processing may be delayed. Now that a new County Administrative Officer is in place, Diane is working to get approval of a Senior Fellow position for Sister Cities. As before, this position would be funded by Human Resources. We were reminded of the recent 6% reduction in county funding, though the County is submitting reimbursement requests for FEMA reimbursement.

Diane has made a request for a September or early October meeting with the County Executive. Bruce suggested that given the current financial situation and pandemic, MSC should focus on feasible requests such as convening partners such as Economic Development Corporation, Montgomery College, Montgomery Public Schools to explore collaborative opportunities – an example might be a Virtual World of Montgomery in 2021. Bruce also mentioned the positive response from Montgomery College Television regarding virtual trips to Sister Cities as another project that might work.


Gondar – Yasin Not much activity after the Gondar PPE contribution (a presentation to the mayor is pending). He hopes to have a virtual meeting of the Gondar committee on 22nd or 23rd September.

Roman shared that the vice president of Montgomery College mentioned they are offering a Skype-based ESL class with students in Gondar. Clemmie suggested that since he has retired from

Montgomery College, Mumin should consider reaching out to Mike Mills to identify a liaison to MSC. Bruce pointed out that we should ask the County Executive to appoint Diane Vu or another county representative to serve on the board.

Morazán – Roman – In the absence of a committee chair, Latino Liaison Jessie Mejia Terry is the point person. Committee members are currently focused on Census outreach.

X’ian – Nan – Nan submitted a written report to Mumin (attached).

After reports, Bruce suggested an invitation to Drew Powell, President of Rockville Sister City and incoming Maryland State Sister Cities representative to attend our next board meeting.


The committee (Mumin, Tracey and Clemmie) recommended revision of the Board Job Description, to Board Member Expectations. Approval of the document is pending any ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS to be submitted to Bruce by COB MONDAY 31 AUGUST.


The committee proposed a change in the current by-laws that will extend the current board term from up to five two-year terms to up to three years and allow the board to waive term limit by resolution of the board . It was approved unanimously (Nick,/Roman).

The committee presented a board profile spreadsheet for use in board recruitment. Members are asked to submit any S UGGESTIONS BY COB TUESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER to Bruce. Members were asked to COMPLETE THEIR PROFILE and submit it to Tracey.

Bruce reported that Aruna Miller expressed regrets about her inability to serve on MSC board, but provided a list of strong candidates for consideration, including several students. Several names were mentioned:

Matthew Lee (Chair for Daejeon committee) Joy West (Tracey/Yasin)

Sabrina Lei (Nan)

Shibeshi Alemajehn (Yasin) (Resume previously submitted to Mumin)

Any proposed candidates resumes/bios should be submitted to Bruce. The Nominating Committee will review resumes/bios and where appropriate interview candidates and report to board.


Mumin reminded the board that annual contributions are needed. Contributions should be submitted on PayPal, or checks may be sent to Cynthia at her home address because of the limited access to the library for mail. Contributions should be made before the next meeting.

NEXT MEETING ON ZOOM: Thursday 8 October at 6:30 pm. The meeting adjourned at 8:10. Respectfully submitted,

Cynthia Morris Contractor

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