WASHINGTON, DC (JBANC) — Over sixty embassies and more than 500 attendees participated in the 20th annual Maryland Embassy Day event in Bethesda Maryland on September 25. The event is described by the organizers as a global business and diplomatic trade show promoting international economic development.
All three Baltic countries participated, including representatives from the Estonian Embassy, along with members of the Estonian community in Maryland and friends of the Baltics.
Maryland and Estonia have enjoyed a long-standing close relationship developed initially in 1993through Partnership for Peace cooperation between the Maryland National Guard and the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit). The relationship now encompasses growing civilian-to-civilian links, including partner city and official Sister City relationships between ten cities, towns and counties. An official Sister State Relationship between Maryland and Estonia is also in development.
In addition, there have been numerous exchanges and contacts between educational, civic, and cultural institutions and organizations in Maryland and Estonia. The partners in Maryland, which include the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), have also been seeking closer ties between that state and Lithuania and Latvia as well.
New Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough and his staff were at the event to discuss aspects of the Maryland-Estonia relationship.
In August, a delegation of 25 Maryland Agriculture leadership fellows and farmers visited Estonia through the auspices of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The Secretary of State's office is beginning to plan for a high-level visit to the Baltics in late spring 2009 which would hopefully include Governor Martin O'Malley and Secretary McDonough.
Erik Puskar of the Estonian American National Council, Karl Altau and Monika Ramanauskaite of JBANC, Toivo Tagamets and Vilve Ladon of the Baltimore Estonian Society, Col. Milton Davis
(ret.) of the Maryland/Estonia Exchange Council (MEEC), and Trevor Dane of the U.S.-Baltic Foundation were among those participating at the Embassy Day event.
Main sponsors of the event included the Maryland World Trade Center Institute and the Maryland Department of Economic Development.
JBANC represents the Estonian American National Council, the American Latvian Association, and the Lithuanian American Council.
Estonians participate in Maryland Embassy Day event