(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser concludes her trip in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, where she met with Mayor Ernesto Luis Muyshondt García-Prieto and signed a Sister City Agreement. The agreement establishes a cooperative relationship between Washington, DC and San Salvador, El Salvador to further the areas of economic development, youth development, public safety, sustainability, culture, education and government collaboration in both cities. In addition to signing the historic agreement, Mayor Bowser traveled across El Salvador and met with a variety of local leaders, entrepreneurs, and Salvadorans from different walks of life including Mayor of Intipucá José Elenilson Leonzo. Mayor Bowser partnered with the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to support her on this historic mission.
“Salvadorans have played an important role in building the diverse, inclusive, and thriving Washington, DC that we live in today,” said Mayor Bowser. “With thousands upon thousands of Salvadorans living in the DC region who continue to make tremendous contributions not only to our local economy, but to the culture of our city, 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.”
This historic sister city relationship is established during a time when Salvadorans play an integral role in Washington, DC’s business community and cultural future. Home to a large Salvadoran population, the DC region has a multitude of Salvadoran business owners, families, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and more.
The agreement confirms the two cities will, in short:
- Share information on trade/investment opportunities and connect small and large companies with potential partners and customers.
- Share programs aimed at directing youth toward positive growth.
- Share information on best practices for energy conservation and pollution reduction.
- Promote the development of programs and share experiences in the areas of culture, education, art and the creative economy.
- Share information and observe education practices in each country.
- Agree that information about electronic governance; the hiring, training and evaluation of government workers, and other government practices will be exchanged.
Part of Mayor Bowser’s travels included a trip to the small coastal town of Intipucá, El Salvador. In DC alone, an estimated 5,000 immigrants from Intipucá live and work in and around the District, forging a strong bond between the two cities. The first migrant from El Salvador to DC is believed to have been Sigfredo Chávez. Sigfredo came from a landowning family in Intipucá that struggled after El Salvador’s agrarian reform and migrated to Washington, DC to pursue a better life. As Chávez’s story of success made its way back to Intipucá a few months later, many locals started to follow, and within a few years, Washington, DC became the top destination for Intipucá natives. As a result, Mayor Bowser made it a priority to meet with Mayor of Intipucá José Elenilson Leonzo to gain a better understanding of the history behind the strong Intipucán community in Washington, DC.
During her trip, Mayor Bowser also met with Carlos Castenera, El Salvador’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Economic Relations, to discuss issues affecting Salvadorans abroad such as the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. The Mayor also attended a signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, whose DC location’s student population is over 30% Salvadoran, and ITCA-FEPADE, a privately managed state institution that provides technical education to strengthen the economic and social development of El Salvador. The MOU entered Carlos Rosario and ITCA-FEPADE into a formal relationship for educational and exchange opportunities in their culinary programs for faculty and staff at both institutions. The MOU is a direct result of the new Sister City relationship between San Salvador and Washington, DC. Additionally, Mayor Bowser, along with Mayor Ernesto Luis Muyshondt García-Prieto, announced the grand opening of a new library in San Salvador, also a result of the new Sister City relationship where MCN Build, a DC based company, donated funds for the library’s construction.