Mayor Martin J. Walsh will lead a delegation Friday 3,333 miles across the ocean to Cape Verde, the African country that’s served as home to more than 15,000 Bostonians.
Walsh and a coalition of city and state officials, as well as business and nonprofit leaders, are aiming to solidify what the mayor called cultural and business ties with local residents, specifically in the capital city of Praia. Boston and Praia signed a sister city agreement in 2015, and Walsh said he is looking to build on their cities’ efforts to collaborate on education, health, arts and culture, and business and trade.
Officials said the trip is meant to strengthen cultural ties with a country whose citizens have increasingly called Boston home in recent years.
One of every five Cape Verdean residents in the United States lives in Boston, the mayor’s office said, citing US Census data, and there are 40,000 citizens of the country in the Boston region.
Cape Verdean Creole is one of the top five languages other than English spoken in Boston, according to the mayor’s office.
“This mission to Cabo Verde offers us an incredible opportunity to strengthen ties with the country where many Bostonians have their family roots, while showcasing the best of all Boston has to offer and unlocking new doors of opportunity,” the mayor said. “It’s important that as we continue to grow as a city, we look beyond our borders as part of our strategy for creating and sustaining equitable economic growth in the city of Boston.”
The trip is being funded by a grant from the Boston Planning and Development Agency, though several members of the private sector are financing their own travels, officials said.
Walsh is traveling with John Barros, the city’s chief of economic development; Danielson Tavares, chief of diversity; Joseph Finn, fire commissioner; and Alvaro Lima, director of research with the Boston Planning and Development Agency. State Senator Vinny deMacedo, a Republican from the Plymouth area, and state Representative Liz Miranda, a Democrat from Boston, also plan to attend, along with business leaders and community leaders.
The delegation, according to the mayor’s office, will make stops on the islands of Fogo, Brava, and Santiago, where they will visit local schools and the main hospital, and speak with various business owners.
Barros, calling himself the “proud son of Cape Verdean immigrants and Boston’s Cape Verdean community,” said that a strong relationship with the country and its capital city “is beneficial to both of our cities’ residents, culture, economy, and quality of life.”
“Through our Sister City program, we have exchanged best practices, fostered business relationships, and shared cultural experiences with cities around the world that help to strengthen Boston’s diversity and economy,” he said.
It’s Walsh’s second international trip since he was elected to a second term in 2017; he traveled to Ireland last year.
In his first term, Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, also went to Ireland, as well as to China.
Walsh returns from the trip Thursday.
The forecast for Cape Verde is 80 degrees and sunny.Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.