Mayor Cr Rachel Powning will visit Suai in East Timor next month, following last year’s resolution to renew the City of Port Phillip’s Friendship with East Timor for a further ten years. The Mayor will meet with President Jose Ramos Horta and the Minister responsible for friendships with Australian local government Mr Arcangelo Leite to discuss how the City of Port Phillip can assist Suai/Covalima in its formation of its first municipal government, following the national elections planned for 2012. “The experience of the last ten years has shown us we have a clear, strong and robust relationship with Suai and the district,’ said the Mayor. “Through our Friendship, Council and our community in Port Phillip are in a good position to offer support to this fledgling nation in the area of local government, sharing knowledge about human resource management, town planning and support for the natural environment. There is so much we can do, and we are always looking for more residents in Port Phillip to get involved. “Our strong focus continues in the area of community development. Suai is the designated location for a wharf, new airport and supply base for oil and gas development in East Timor and the local people are keen to attain new skills for potential employment. “During my visit I will also meet with the two Friends of Suai volunteer language teachers, Lynn and Dermot Clancy who are in Suai for six months providing support to the 33 English teachers as part of a train the trainer program,” she said. The City of Port Phillip supports small targeted projects and the Covalima Community Centre through the Friends of Suai, community reference group established in 2000. Last week, Council changed the name to Friends of Suai/Covalima, reflecting the municipal reach of the program. The Covalima Community Centre provides opportunities for training youth and community members in computer technology and English. The centre also supports over 100 women in small livelihoods economic development. Friends of Suai/Covalima is seeking new local people to get involved in activities to promote the Friendship for future, If you are interested please contact Pat Jessen on 9209 6777.
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