HCEDA Hosts Mayor Cho Kwang-Han of Namyangju City, Republic of Korea, for Friendship Exchange City Event
November 15th, 2019 – Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) hosted Mayor Cho Kwang-Han and a delegation of City Council members, officers, and staff from Namyangju City, Republic of Korea. The event also included Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, executive office officials, the Howard County-Namyangju Sister City Committee, and the Columbia Association’s International Exchange Program. Established in September 2019, Howard County Namyangju Sister City Committee (HCNSS) is comprised of 20 Howard County residents who will act as the conduit for communication to facilitate a potential partnership between Namyangju City and Howard County.
The event follows interest cultivated from the August 2019 signing of an Memorandum of Understanding between HCEDA and Born2Global which established Born2Global as the first participants in the Innovation Center’s Soft-Landing Program. The mutual interest in cultivating a Friendship Exchange City relationship between Howard County and Namyangju City will support exchanges in fields such as youth education, administration systems, culture, language, and history.
Flags outside of the Innovation Center @ Howard County: Republic of Korea, USA, State of Maryland
The establishment of a future-oriented partnership between Howard County and Namyangju City would provide citizens in both jurisdictions with the opportunity to participate in homestay programs. Similar to Sister City Relationships managed by the Columbia Association, International Exchange programs offer youth and adults the opportunity to cultivate a global mindset by experiencing global history, culture, and language. The Columbia Association currently manages five Sister City Relationships which include Cergy-Pontoise, France; Tres Cantos, Spain; Tema, Ghana; Cap-Haitien, Haiti; and Liyang, China.
“The prospect of a future-oriented partnership between Howard County and Namyangju City creates an exciting opportunity for our youth to grow and prosper together,” said Lawrence Twele, CEO of HCEDA. “A Friendship City Exchange Relationship would provide greater opportunities for youth and adults to experience global cultures and histories through increased exchange between the business and administration groups in each other’s respective communities.”
During the visit, the Namyangju City Delegation were able to network and connect with their Howard County counterparts. Members of the Namangju City Delegation presented an overview of the city’s history, geography, economy, and opportunity. A welcome and overview of Howard County was given by County Executive Ball, followed by a presentation by HCEDA’s CEO, Lawrence Twele, that detailed all that Howard County has to offer. Vice President of JastinTech Inc. and current HCEDA Innovation Center resident, Soo Park, explained the programs available through the Center and its Soft-Landing program. The overview provided the Namyangju City Delegation with a detailed sense of future exchange opportunities available between the two jurisdictions. County Executive Calvin Ball and Mayor Cho Kwang-Han concluded the event with a gift exchange.
Mayor Cho Kwang-Han and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball exchange recognition and gifts.
“In the near future, I strongly believe that it is necessary to build a strong trust and friendship between Howard County and Namyangju City through mutual exchanges and cooperation,” said Mayor Cho Kwang-Han. “I am looking forward to accomplishing mutual development and prosperity by promoting exchanges and cooperation, not only in administration, but also in our economies, education, and the dispatch of mutual public officials. Again, I would like to give best wishes for Howard County’s tremendous prosperity and its citizens’ good health and happiness.”
Key attendees from Namyangju City included:
Cho Kwang-han, Mayor of Namyangju City, Gyeonggi-do Province, Republic of Korea
Jung-hee Kim, First Lady of Namyangju City
City Council Members, Officers, and Staff of Namyangju City (14)
Since the establishment of the Soft-Landing program, HCEDA has hosted various internationally-focused events including a roundtable for a Delegation from Austria (9/16/19), U.S. Department of Commerce Access Asia Maryland (11/4/19) and the Cybersecurity Council of Germany International Roundtable event (11/7/19).
About Namyangju City, Republic of Korea: Namyangju City is the 9th largest city in the Republic of Korea with a population of 690,000. Referred to as the “Rising City of Korea,” Namyangju City is one of the major economic centers in metropolitan Seoul and has proximal accessibility to the capital city of Korea. Namyangju is a historical city whose legacy includes the scientist and philosopher Jeong Yak-yong, who has been designated as a World Commemorative Figure by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are four royal tombs in Namyangju City designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
About HCEDA and the Innovation Center @ Howard County: HCEDA is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting new and existing businesses and attracting innovative, high-growth potential companies to Howard County. HCEDA launched the Innovation Center in response to County and Statewide initiatives to cultivate an active cyber and technology innovation community in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor. Phase one of construction, completed in late May 2019, brought a newly designed space with an abundance of meeting, co-working and gathering spaces as well as the relocation of the MCE, the County’s only business incubator. Phase two of construction has commenced and will yield updates to the lobby, conference and meeting spaces, and HCEDA’s administrative offices. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Innovation Center will be hosted in 2020.