In June 2021 iF Magazine was seen on scene covering a delegation of four led by The Honorable Consul of Liberia in Atlanta, Cynthia L.Blandford, and a three-member Houston team of Houston International Trade Development Council (HITDC), President Val Thompson; Judge Bill Littlejohn; and Denise Adjei who traveled to the Republic of Liberia on a quest to establish a Sister City relationship between the great City of Houston, Texas USA and the capital City of Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. They were honored with high level meetings by the Mayor of Monrovia, The Honorable Jefferson T.Koijee, Monrovia’s Mayor, who was presented with a letter of support and invitation to visit Houston from the Mayor of Houston, The Honorable Sylvester Turner. The Mayor of Monrovia rolled out the red carpet on their entire eight days journey with a security detail, ground transportation and an all-day celebration which included the keys to the City of Monrovia. In their meeting with the Honorable Mayor of Monrovia there were discussions of mutual benefits that are inherent in the development of both cities. They discussed an active MOU between the Port of Houston and the Free Port of Monrovia. The conversations were about how to expand business by increasing the trade traffic between the two great cities. Also why Americans and particularly African Americans should get involved on the continent of Africa through medical, high technology and trade.
They were honored with an invitation by Minister Ledgerhood Renoir to visit Liberia’s Ministry of Information and Tourism. Discussions were held regarding the development of Liberia’s Tourist Industry and how it could enrich the nation as well as American visitors, again, particularly African Americans. They met with Minister Molly Cooper, Liberia’s Ministry of Agriculture. Also, engaging discussions were held on the important role Houstonians could play in the increased supply of fresh, affordable food grown in Liberia and the sustainable agriculture initiative that could reduce poverty not only in Liberia, but across the continent of Africa. They were honored and pleased with an invitation to visit His Excellency, The Minister of Foreign Affairs, DEE-Maxwell Saah Kemayah,Sr. This was a very special visit, the Minister was well versed in his nation’s development and positive direction. Mr. Minister of Foriegn Affairs was a delight to visit with and the Republic of Liberia is fortunate to have him as their top foriegn representative!
After a week-long journey of discussions with many layers of government and Liberia’s private sectors they finally were granted a visit to the residence of the US Ambassador to Liberia, H.E.Michael A.McCarthy. This was a highly anticipated meeting that involved intent and purpose for establishing a Sister City relationship between the two great cities of Houston and Monrovia. The Ambassador showed a positive attitude for their quest and wholeheartedly endorsed their initiative by way of a letter of support. In conclusion, iF Magazine’s coverage of the HITDC’s involvement in the quest was its first international trip that resulted in an experience to be on the scene of diplomatic engagement at the highest level. International Focus (iF) Magazine is proud to have participated and is looking forward to more on the scene international opportunities.