Muriel Bowser

DC Mayor Makes San Salvador a Sister City

D.C. just got a new sister.

Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a sister city agreement between D.C. and San Salvador on Monday during a visit to El Salvador.

Bowser met with San Salvador Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt to sign the agreement, which established a cooperative relationship between the two capital cities to further economic and youth development, public safety and more.

“Salvadorans have played an important role in building the diverse, inclusive and thriving Washington, D.C., that we live in today,” Bowser said at the event at Plaza Barrios. “I am proud that San Salvador will be the first sister city agreement I am entering into as mayor and will work hard to ensure we can build safer, stronger communities together.”

D.C. is home to a large Salvadoran population, including many Salvadoran business owners, families, leaders and artists. In 2014, Salvadorans made up the largest group of D.C.'s Hispanic population, at more than 32 percent.

The agreement is aimed at furthering commercial and cultural ties between the two cities, according to a press release from D.C. It confirms that the cities will share information on energy conservation practices and trade and investment opportunities to connect small and large companies with partners and consumers.

It will also promote program development to share cultural experiences, direct youth toward positive growth and more. 

During her visit, Bowser attended a signing of a memorandum of understanding between Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Columbia Heights and ITCA-Fepade in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, to promote these ideals.

“When we heard that our mayor was coming here and bringing a delegation, it was a no-brainer,” Carlos Rosario Principal Allison Kokkoros said.

Carlos Rosaio's student population is more than 30 percent made up of Salvadoran students. The agreement entered the two schools into a formal relationship for educational and exchange opportunities in their culinary programs for faculty and staff.

Bowser also met with Carlos Casteneda, El Salvador's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss issues such as the Temporary Protected Status Program, which temporarily provides legal status to migrants living in the U.S. who can't return to their home country because of dangerous circumstances.

She and Muyshondt also announced the grand opening of a new library in San Salvador that a D.C.-based company donated funds to build.

San Salvador joined the list of 14 other sister cities with D.C., including Rome, Italy; Dakar, Senegal and Bangkok, Thailand.

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