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NEWS | March 28, 2024

Vermont City Builds on Guard's Partnership with Senegal

By Sgt. Denis Nunez, Joint Force Headquarters - Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Burlington City Council voted unanimously March 25 to forge a sister-city relationship with Thies-East, Senegal, bolstering the cultural, academic, environmental and commercial ties between Vermont and Senegal.

The collaboration is set to open up a myriad of exchange opportunities, enriching both communities through shared experiences and knowledge. The agreement leverages their unique strengths for mutual benefit, aiming to deepen the bonds between the two regions.

Maj. Patrick Enriquez, director of the Vermont National Guard State Partnership Program, played a pivotal role in advocating for this initiative. Since 2008, the Vermont National Guard and Senegal have been closely linked through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. 

Enriquez, alongside representatives from Green Across the World, a nonprofit that establishes international student exchanges, delivered compelling testimony before the council, highlighting the potential benefits of this sub-national diplomatic endeavor.

The partnership with Thies-East represents a new chapter in Vermont's commitment to fostering international friendships and cooperation. It builds on a foundation of longstanding ties with Senegal through the National Guard's engagement, promising a future rich in cultural and educational exchanges, environmental collaborations, and commercial ventures.

The National Guard has been building international relationships through the State Partnership Program for more than 30 years, and it now includes partnerships with 100 nations around the globe. Seventeen such pairings exist between African nations and state National Guard elements, with 16 in the USAFRICOM area of responsibility. 

Vermont is partnered with three nations, including North Macedonia, Senegal, and most recently, Austria.

“From my perspective, the SPP is one of the most significant initiatives that I’ve ever been a part of,” Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, the Vermont Guard’s adjutant general, said last year. “At its foundation, it’s about trust. The relationships we’ve built are enduring and mutually beneficial.”



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