Thursday January 15, 2015
By Frederick Nnoma-Addison
Maryland and KwaZulu-Natal State, (South Africa) today signed an MOU to become Sister-States under the Maryland Sister-States Program. https://www.facebook.com/MDAfrican
Governor Martin O’Malley (Maryland) and Premier Edward Senzo Mchunu (KwaZulu-Natal) signed the agreement on behalf of their respective states at approximately 12:30am EST, at the Governor’s Reception Room of the State House, Annapolis. About 60 leaders from the diplomatic, business, academic, religious, development, and nonprofit communities witnessed the ceremony.
Before signing the MOU, Governor O’Malley and Premier Mchunu highlighted the importance of the common interests, aspirations and challenges of Marylanders and KwaZulu-Natal citizens, and pledged to collaborate on various initiatives in the coming years. After the ceremony, KwaZulu-Natal State became the 15th State under Maryland’s Sister-State Program, and the fourth in Africa. The governor and premier later exchanged official gifts.
According to the Office of the Secretary of State, the Maryland Sister-State program oversees an array of international exchanges promoting a balance of business, educational, and cultural interests. It is chaired by the Secretary of State, steered by a devoted and spirited Advisory Board of Directors, and staffed by an army of citizen-volunteers. It was established in 1980 to provide a forum for the promotion of international cooperation and understanding.
A full list of Maryland’s other sister states is available at the Office of the Secretary of State
Maryland prides herself in being one of the few U.S. states with a Governor’s Commission dedicated to African Affairs, aside other ethnic groups http://www.african.maryland.gov/
The African Affairs Commission is a part of the Governor’s Commission of Community Initiatives.
* John P. McDonough – Secretary of State, Maryland
* Anna Yankova – Director, International Affairs, Office of the Secretary of State
* Maryland Sister State Program Board of Directors
* Roger Lawrence, President, Maryland Sister State Program Board of Directors
Maryland/KwaZulu-Natal Sister State Committee Members
* Dr. Jean Bailey – Chair
* Senator Verma Jones-Rodwell – Vice Chair
* Mr. Frank Islam – Member
* Sheila Khati Esq. – Member
* Dr. Sonya Smith
* Henry Osborne
* Kendal Tyre