ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday hosted an international delegation from North Africa and the Middle East at the State House in support of Maryland’s participation in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Together with Maryland Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith and representatives from Maryland State Police and the Annapolis YWCA, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services (GOCPYVS) hosted a roundtable discussion about combating domestic violence and human trafficking, in addition to sharing victim support strategies.
“Comprehensive crime prevention and victim support are critical to reducing incidents of heinous crimes like domestic violence and human trafficking,” said Governor Hogan. “We are honored to share our progress and best practices with this delegation, in the hope that through these conversations, we can help those impacted by these crimes not only here in Maryland, but anywhere in the world.”
The International Visitor Leadership Program is a U.S. Department of State professional exchange. According to the Department of State, through short-term visits, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience the U.S. firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.
“Today’s roundtable discussion promotes diplomacy and leadership where there is a critical need for action,” said Secretary Wobensmith. “By participating in these exchanges, we all stand to enhance our capacity to serve and to support the health, well-being and safety of our citizens.”
Today’s delegation represented Bahrain, Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Members of the delegation, composed primarily of emerging human rights and public health leaders, were sponsored by the U.S. embassies in their home countries.
“Keeping Maryland safe requires a system that not only holds criminals accountable for their actions, but also helps victims during the process of healing,” said GOCPYVS Executive Director Kunle Adeyemo. “Today’s session reinforces that a comprehensive and substantive approach through funding, legislation and steadfast commitment to community partnerships helps maximize our ability to improve public safety for all.”
Deputy Director of Victim Services Policy and Programs Heather Amador and Chief Executive Officer of the Annapolis YWCA Molly Knipe briefed the delegation on Governor Hogan’s collaborative approach with community stakeholders to support crime victims in Maryland, including the tools and tactics used to help victims of domestic violence.
Corporal Chris Heid, with Maryland State Police’s Child Recovery Program, discussed the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN), including efforts to end human trafficking in Maryland. Governor Hogan’s MCIN program has disrupted or dismantled more than 1,600 criminal organizations and rescued more than 100 human trafficking victims since its inception in 2017.
Working through the U.S. Department of State and the World Trade Center Institute, GOCPYVS previously hosted two other international delegations and looks forward to welcoming future International Visitor Leadership Program participants.