By Tsehaye Debalkew
Tigrai Onlne December 12, 2013
A signing ceremony of Sister City Agreement between Addis Ababa and Washington, DC took place to-day, when Mayor Diriba Kuma of Addis Ababa and Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington D.C. inked their signatures heralding of the coming into effect of an all-round cooperation and partnership between the two Metropolises.
Mayor Diriba Kuma in his key note speech he delivered during the signing ceremony reaffirmed his strong belief that the overwhelming power of Sister City relationships in citizen diplomacy and cultural and economic exchanges will have a profound impact across the purview of our sister cities and indeed within the horizons of our countries.
He hastened to add that these partnerships create opportunities for the sister cities to learn from each other in the areas of economic development, education, social, youth and cultural projects or exchanges and government administration.
And in light of the foregoing statement Mayor Diriba, expressed his firm belief that Addis Ababa as a young and bustling City shall make good of the auspicious opportunity thus created due to the concord by leveraging on best practices accrued from.
The relationship between the two countries is grounded in common values and a shared history of family and friends. Ethiopia being one of the pioneering countries to pursue diplomatic relations with the United States over a century ago, the Mayor of Addis Ababa accentuated.
"I am glad to express my government's felicitation at continuing to strengthen and deepen our hitherto existing relationship with the signing of today's agreement between Addis Ababa which is the seat of the African Union and the hub of our nation and Washington D.C. the seat of the US government" Mayor Diriba Kuma ascertained.
Mr. Diriba stated that the two capital cities, Addis Ababa and Washington, DC, are embarking on a long-term partnership to link the citizens, city governments, and business, cultural, and academic communities, he underscored.
Mr. Diriba Kuma exuded his confidence that the cooperative venture will be highly beneficial to the diverse and cosmopolitan citizens of both capitals who serve as beacons of culture and people to people diplomacy for their respective nations.
Mayor Gray on his part said that in sister cities agreement continues to expand its reach to new and emerging regions of the world to strengthen global citizenship which he said have been amply testified by the huge turnout of the Ethiopian Diaspora to witness the historic signing ceremony
The sister city relationship between Washington DC and Addis Ababa is a relationship between cities, but more important, a relationship between the people of those cities, especially so as Washington D.C. boasts of tens of thousands of Ethiopian émigrés domiciling here.
Mayor Gray expressed his belief that the agreement between the cities of Washington D.C. and Addis Ababa, which are the burgeoning venues and centers of the global diplomatic community will have an over arching influence on others to follow suit.
“This agreement is inspired by the large and vibrant Ethiopian Diaspora here in the District and by Ethiopia’s emergence as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa,” he underlined.
A young Ethiopian high school student expressed his happiness of the signing of the sister city agreement between Addis Ababa and Washington DC which event he said has triggered a special feeling in him.
The sister city agreement signing ceremony took place at the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. Officials say the initiative will pave the way for various joint projects between the two municipalities in areas of mutual interest.
Present during the ceremony were Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the US, Dignitaries from Addis Ababa City Council and officials from the D.C. Council, Officials from the State Department and the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. and invited members of the over four hundred large Ethiopian Diaspora society from the Metropolitan Area.
The accord makes the Ethiopian capital the fourteenth sister city of Washington, D.C.