March 1, 2022 Board Meeting

Board Meeting Minutes  

Present: Bruce Adams, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Alicia Hannon, Michael Mills, Joy

West, Jeannette Noltenius, Sabrina Hs, Yasin Yimam, Roman Santillan

Excused: Matthew Lee, Clemmie Solomon, and Nan Qiao

Absentees: Ashwani Jain, Nick Arrindell, and Lorna Forde. 

County Staff: Arwa Khadr


The meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:06 p.m. by the Acting Chair., Mumin Barre.


Approval of the Agenda: On a motion to approve by Jeannette Noltenius seconded by Joy West, the agenda was approved.


Approval of January 18, Minutes: On a motion to approve by Bruce Adams, seconded by Michael Mills, the minutes of the January 18,2022 meeting were approved.


MSC Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer, Roman A. Santillan, did not yet join the meeting at this time. Mumin provided the following brief:  MSC received a total of $279 donation. Bank Account had to be changed. The previous bank account required a balance of $1,500. The new account is a basic checking account, no minimum balance required but ony one person an have an online access (The treasurer).

The report the Treasurer shared with the Board needs to be amended because the numbers do not add up. On a motion to approve by Joy West seconded by Jeannette Noltenius, the treasurer’s report was approved with the caveat to receive the amended report from the treasurer.


County Government (MSC Grant/Staffing)

Arwa Khadr provided an update and stated that the remaining grant for FY21/22 is $16,700. The County Executive FY23 budget will be made public on March 15, 2022. It should be approved by the County Council in April/May.


The temporary Sr. Fellow: One of the MSC’s interview panel members (Joy) reported that

the candidate did not have any information about the job description. The candidate did not

have the required qualification. Therefore, MSC has decided to stop the interview process

and focus on hiring a Senior Fellow in OCP.

Arwa is going to communicate this feedback to the OCP for their consideration.

Senior Fellow in OCP should be hired bfore the begining of the new fiscal year, July 2022. Arwa will continue to staff MSC until the senior fellow is onboard.


MSC-MCTV: Gondar Sister City project

Tracey-Alexis Dixon reported that the team is planning to hold a meeting on March 9, at 6:00 pm, to discuss next steps. Bruce will send the zoom link for the meeting. Jeannette will attend the meeting. The team identified individuals to be interviewed. Bruce does not recommend organizing a trip in September because elected officials will be busy and may not travel. The team is ready to work on the film production. Yasin did not get the chance to visit Gondar.


Sister City Committee Reports

Morazan University project: Jeannette Noltenius gave an update regarding the meeting held with the Dean and one of the teachers to discuss technical assistance that can be provided by MSC.


Students’ Kick-off Prevention Project Proposal: Morazan Committee will submit a project proposal to USAID proposing $200k/year to support students. The fund is small because the committee needs to focus on building relationships and ensuring transparent financing. The committee drafted the project concept note. The focus of the project will be students’ kick-off prevention measures. Currently, the committee is holding virtual meetings with different parties in Morazan to finalize the proposal.

The committee needs to sign MoUs with four different groups in Salvador.


March 16, 2022, Fundraising Brunch: The committee plans to organize a fundraising brunch to raise funds for scholarships and sign MoU with local parties/people. Jeannette will share the flyer with and invite the MSC board. The recipients of the scholarship recorded a video highlighting the benefits of the scholarship. The video will be displayed during the brunch.


October 14, 2022, Gala: The committee is planning to organize a gala to display the video and present the scholarships in Silver Spring.


Gondar: University of Gondar sent a letter with a list of medical equipment requests to

help support the University of Gondar Hospital. Dr. Mills no updates on the next steps.


Xi'an: Sabrina Hsu confirmed the entire city is fully open to normal daily operation. The city celebrated the lunar year on Feb. 1 or 2. The committee attended the celebration virtually via zoom, but they may attend in-person in June’s events.


Daejeon: no update


Hyderabad: no update


Old/new business/announcement.


Nominations and Election of Board Chair & Vice-Chair.

Chair: Tracey-Alexis Dixon accepted the nomination to serve as the chair. On a motion all attendees in favor for Tracey to be the chair.


Vice-Chair: Michael Mills accepted the nomination to serve as the vice-chair. On a motion all attendees in favor for Dr. Mills to be the vice-chair.


Co-Chair: Nicholas Arrindell does not have the bandwidth to serve as the co-chair.


Secretary: Tracey will put her team together.


Mumin will arrange a call with Tracey, Dr. Mills & Roman to discuss leadership transition.


* Appreciation/Celebration for Mumin. Roman will organize a party for Mumin. Alicia will help.

* All Board memmbers acknowledged/recoginized Mumin’s contribution to MSC.


The meeting ended at 6:48 p.m.


NEXT ZOOM: Discussed via email.

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Post-meeting written reports


March 2, 2022. OCP Dir., Diane Vu sent the below email to the MSC Board members.

“Dear MSC Board Members:

I have good news to share. The County Executive has recommended the Community Grant for Montgomery Sister Cities should be moved to the Office of Community Partnership's base budget starting FY23. This means moving forward, you will not have to apply for this grant and you are in our yearly operating budget. The contracting, invoicing and payment process remains the same. The recommended funding amount for MSC FY23 is $21,200 and includes the 6% nonprofit inflationary increase.  The CE's FY23 budget recommendations will not be made public until March 15 and will still need to be approved by the County Council. If the budget is approved by the Council, Arwa and/or Yvette Torres from our business management teams will be in touch regarding next steps (contract renewals, budget, etc.)”


March 3, 2022. Received the below report from Dr. Mills. 

“March 1, 2021. Re: MC’s Global Classrooms program and Gondar’s involvement: We have two English professors from U of Gondar working with MC faculty for this year's cohort. We had meetings with them last week. They continue to be very receptive to Global Classrooms. One of the professors, Dr. Getu oversees the Writing Centers for The U fo Gondar.”


Respectfully submitted,

Arwa Khadr ElBoraei, OCP

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Board Meeting Minutes Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Sabrina Hsu, Alicia Hannon, Michael Mills, Joy West, Matthew Lee, Jeannette Noltenius, Nan Qiao, Lorna