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GHA Backs Scottish Executive Plans

To Strengthen Links with Texas

Proposals by the Scottish Executive to strengthen Scotland’s links with Texas have been welcomed by the Grampian-Houston Association

The Association Vice President Provost Raymond Bisset, of Aberdeenshire Council, has written to First Minister Jack McConnell offering support for the objectives set out in the Executive’s document, “Scotland’s Strategy for Stronger Engagement with the USA.”

Scottish Ministers have acknowledged the contribution that can be made through local twinning arrangements like the Grampian-Houston relationship. Provost Bisset told Mr McConnell the Grampian-Houston Association would be happy to be involved in any initiatives to strengthen links.

Objectives set by Scottish Ministers for the next five years are to:

The document states, “Delivery of these objectives will depend on a concerted national effort. The contribution of schools, colleges, universities, local authorities, civil society and business will be essential.”

It adds, “Local authorities have an important role to play in enabling Scotland as a whole to engage effectively with the USA, particularly through local twinning arrangements with US counterparts. Local authorities are encouraged to continue and expand their engagement with the USA, especially through engaging with US counterparts in best practice exchange.”

Activity is to be focused on seven states – Texas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. The Scottish Affairs Office in Washington DC will serve as a bridgehead for the Scottish Office’s operations in the USA.

In his letter to the First Minister, Provost Bisset stated, “It was their shared interest in oil and gas that brought Grampian and Houston together and the initial activities of the two associations were largely focused on developing oil-related business ties. Trading links are now well established and are promoted by public sector economic development agencies, leaving GHA to move into areas such as education, culture and heritage, exchange of best practice and social relationships.” He pointed out that the annual exchange of student nurses between the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and Houston Baptist University was a good example of best practice studies and the Grampian-Houston junior golfer scheme had led to 27 promising young golfers being offered sports scholarships at US colleges.

November 2006