Published : Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 2:29 PM
After a delegation from Pasadena visited our newest sister city, Dakar-Plateau in Senegal, Africa in 2018, Pasadena’s Sister City Committee is ramping up to fund a reciprocating visit of diplomats from the African city.
The funds raised will be applied to hosting the emissaries from Africa in the style and fashion that Dakar-Plateau hosted the Pasadena group in their hometown. A Pasadena delegation spent nine days in Dakar-Plateau, from March 23 to April 1, 2018, and was received in the fabled tradition of African hospitality,
Teranga, as they call it in Wolof.
“Now that Mayor Ndoye and a delegation are expected to visit Pasadena, we must receive them in a grand way that is befitting of Pasadena,” said Boualem Bousseloub, Pasadena Sister Cities Committee Ad Hoc Chair. “With limited resources, we would welcome the support of our community for funds and in-kind contributions.”
Five members of the Pasadena committee — Jennipha Nielsen, Talin Hindoyan, Raequel London and Mame Toucouleur Mbaye — led by Bousseloub and accompanied by City Councilmember and then Vice-Mayor John Kennedy, comprised the group that visited tourism centers, arts and culture sites, as well as businesses and factories. The trip was privately funded, sources said.
A group of volunteers is actively planning to welcome in June the Honorable Alioune Ndoye, Mayor of Dakar-Plateau. An official invitation letter was sent by Mayor Terry Tornek and was received on May 13 by Dakar-Plateau officials, said Boualem Bousseloub.
The visit will run from June 14 through June 23. The West African mayor will tour Pasadena and learn about the city’s economic and financial history and enjoy cultural exchange.
The money raised will be spent for housing accommodations, their food, their transportation and probably some souvenir gifts, Bousseloub said.
Kennedy said the visit from the African Mayor will encompass some additional iconic visits including the Pasadena Art Center, Rose Bowl and a host of other activities.
“Probably some real fun in there, but I’m primarily focused on education, arts, culture and maybe a little bit of economic learning, how we do things in terms of funding capital improvement projects and things of that nature,” Kennedy said.
Also on the Dakar-Plateau mayor’s itinerary is a trip to the CONCACAF 2019 Gold Cup soccer tournament at The Rose Bowl, Bousseloub said.
It has been a long road to get to this point, he explained, but once the committee decided to break the language barrier and not limit the Sister City search to just English-speaking countries, there was progress.
“We went through the 54 countries, African countries,” Bousseloub recalled. “We had a selection, in fact looking mostly at the English-speaking, but then there was some discussion and then the Mayor, said, Why? Why do you restrict yourself to English-speaking at all times?
“So then we went out and Dakar (and representatives of Dakar) responded very quickly,” he said. The City Council approved Dakar-Plateau as Pasadena’s newest sister city on Aug. 28, 2018.
Dakar-Plateau is relatively small, with a population of 36,900, but it is one of 16 districts of Senegal’s capital of Dakar, a coastal city of more than 1 million people. Senegal is located halfway between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer on the western coast of Africa.
Bousseloub described Senegal as a “hub for all businesses from abroad and Dakar-Plateau, the port of entry because of its geographical location, offers growing trade and investment opportunities for U.S. firms and an attractive location for companies that serve the West African regional market.”
Tourism is also a major economic activity in Dakar-Plateau, said Bousseloub, with the Island of Goree being a particular attraction and pilgrimage destination for the African Diaspora.
Bousseloub said the Sister City Committee is a nonprofit 501C3 organization. Any person donating, would receive a letter acknowledging and thanking them for the contribution and giving them the IRS numbers so they can deduct them accordingly.
Residents can send donations to host a Sister City delegation. Visit the Sister Cities Committee Website: http://passcc.org/ Donations will also be accepted at Pasadena Sister Cities Committee/Africa City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave. Ste S228 Pasadena CA 91101-1726.
The Sister City Committee’s upcoming meeting is on Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Fellowship Hall, 984 E. Locust Street in Pasadena.