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October 8, 2020 Board Meeting

Montgomery Sister Cities Board Meeting Minutes Thursday 8 October 2020

Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Lynn Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, Ashwani Jain, Matthew Lee, Michael Mills, Roman Santillan, Eunmee Shim, Clemmie Solomon, Joy C. West and Yasin Yiman

Absent: Nan Qiao Staff: Diane Vu, Director Office of Partnerships, Cynthia Morris, Contractor

Guest: Drew Powell, President, Rockville Sister Cities and International Sister Cities Maryland State Representative

The quarterly meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:35 pm by chairman Mumin Barre with a reminder that the quarterly meetings are required by MSC bylaws, though that may be revisited in the future. Mumin welcomed new board members (Hsu, Jain, Lee, Mills and West), who bring the board membership total to 15. He also welcomed Drew Powell.

The first order of business was approval of the meeting agenda (Arrindell/Hannon) unanimously. The board approved the minutes of the 27 August meeting unanimously as well. (Adams/Hsu)

County Update – Diane Vu

Diane informed the board that while funding for the Seniors Fellows program through the Department of Human Resources that previously covered the salary of Cynthia Morris is no longer available, she is optimistic of a new source for this part-time position. The Montgomery County of Economic Development Corporation (President, Benjamin Wu) has agreed to cover the required

$16,750 cost to fund a year term subject to completion of final details/logistics in about two weeks.

She reported that the U.S. Census will be completed 31 October and Montgomery County’s 77.6% online response rate ranks fourth nationwide and Maryland ranks tenth nationally. We were reminded to encourage our networks to respond as each non-response costs the county $18,200 in funding annually.

Guest speaker: Drew Powell, Sister Cities International Maryland State Representative and President of Rockville Sister City

Drew began his presentation by complementing Bruce and the board for the strategic plan which provides a road map that fills the mission of Sister Cities to build strong non-political relationships among citizens everywhere. A copy of his presentation was emailed to the board by Bruce and he held a brief Q & A afterwards. Highlights:


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  • Recommendation to increase our member dues from the current $20. Rockville Sister Cities, with 150 members also has low dues at $25 and $40 for individuals and tiered corporate memberships beginning at $100.

  • Rockville formalized a Sister City relationship with Yilan City, Taiwan in late

  • While Rockville Sister City enjoys a relationship with the S. State Department, they have not pursued one with the U.S. Department of Commerce. They do, however work with the Maryland State Department of Commerce. (Arrindell)

  • Broadening the organization audience takes time and effort through broad methods of outreach, including social media and tapping personal contacts/networks. Events of all types (virtual) and sizes increase exposure necessary for growth. Collaboration with government and academic institutions is a key component to success, and depending on the goals and programs, corporate sponsorship can also be a big (Jain, Dixon, Shim and Hannon)

Due to a family emergency, Mumin exited the session and Bruce assumed chairing.


Board members and staff introduced themselves and briefly shared their backgrounds and interests in Sister Cities.

Sister City Committee reports

While limited time did not permit individual committee reports, during his introduction, Yasin reported that the Gondar committee held a virtual meeting to begin planning for the tenth anniversary of the Sister City relationship with a trip to Gondar in 2022. Councilman Craig Rice has agreed to continue working with the committee to follow up on commitments for a local school and park maintenance made during the 2019 trip. The committee also has a long-term goal of helping to provide an ambulance for the city.

The meeting ended at 8:40


Respectfully submitted, Cynthia Morris

MSC Contractor

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Montgomery Sister Cities Board Meeting Minutes Tuesday 2 December 2020 Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Lynn Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, Ashwani

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 Solo

Minutes Board Conference Call Wednesday July 29, 2020 Present: Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Alicia Hannon, Nan Qiao, Roman Santillan, Clemmie Solomon and Yasin Yimam Absent: L

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