September 29, 2008
Embassy Day participants meet with Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough.
(from left): Toomas Moor, Third Secretary, Economic Affairs, Embassy of Estonia
Col. Milton Davis (ret.), Executive Director, Maryland/Estonia Exchange Council (MEEC)
Vilve Ladon, Baltimore Estonian Newsletter "Bülletään"
Karl Altau, Managing Director, Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC)
John P. McDonough, Maryland Secretary of State
Toivo Tagamets, Chairman, Baltimore Estonian Society
Balts Participate in Maryland Embassy Day Event
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 1993
through 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 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.
---Office of the Maryland Secretary of State: http://www.sos.state.md.us/index.asp
---Biographical Information on Secretary John P. McDonough:
---20th Embassy Day information (World Trade Center Institute):
---Maryland LEAD newsletter (includes information on MD Dept. of Agriculture trip to Estonia in
August, 2008): http://www.americanfarm.com/LEAD.pdf
Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/
White House News
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.
I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc.
400 Hurley Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850-3121