PHOTOS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leads Historic Sister-State Partnership Between Hawai‘i and Goa, India

September 28, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—When Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) visited India, she stopped in Goa and began the process to form a special partnership between Goa and Hawai‘i. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard today congratulated the formal signing ceremony for this historic sister-state agreement between Hawai‘i and Goa. The sister-state partnership will strengthen relations between our two cities and nations through the promotion of trade, tourism, and information technology, and the exchange of best practices in health and wellness, agriculture, and education. It will also include cultural programs and partnerships between public and private sector organizations and universities in both Hawai‘i and Goa. This will be Hawai‘i’s first sister-state relationship with any jurisdiction in India.

Governor David Ige was joined by Gurudas Pilarnekar, Director of Art and Culture, Goa State Government, and other local leaders at the Washington Place on O'ahu to sign this agreement into law. The delegation from Goa will be conducting multiple visits and engagements throughout our state in various sectors like education, security, culture, agriculture, and more. 

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said: “When visiting Goa, India, I was immediately struck by the many similarities between our two states—the warmth and openness of the people, the diversity of culture and traditions to include a strong Portuguese influence, the strong agriculture industries, a tourism-based economy, and much more. Today, after many years of hard work and dedication by the many stakeholders involved, I’m proud to see this historic sister-state partnership has finally come to fruition. This agreement will lay the groundwork to foster deeper ties between our people and our nations, inviting investment into our local economy, and creating boundless opportunities for mutual cultural, economic, political, and educational cooperation.”

“The U.S.-India partnership is an important one, and the Hawai‘i-Goa relationship will help strengthen this bond,” said Gov. David Ige. “We welcome people from Goa to invest in Hawai‘i’s economy, and share their traditional and cultural values with us.”

Dr. Raj Kumar, President of Indian-America Friendship Council (Hawaii chapter) and Gandhi International Institute for Peace, stated: “This historic agreement represents a mutual commitment to begin a fruitful relationship that will promote the economic, educational and cultural development of two great states. This affiliation will unite the people of Goa and Hawaii.”

“Our new sister-state relationship allows Hawaii to advance business, academic and cultural areas, and engage with the world to increase economic opportunities for Hawaii,” said Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Director, Luis P. Salaveria.

State Sen. Brian Taniguchi noted that: “India is not only the world’s largest democracy, but it also has one of the fastest growing economies. Educational and intellectual exchanges between our schools and institutions of higher learning can greatly benefit from this relationship.”

State Rep. Ken Ito added: “I look forward to Hawaii developing more business and cultural linkages with Goa, India, for the benefit of both. India’s rich heritage fits well in the fabric of Hawaii’s rich mix of cultures.”

“Hawaii’s sister-state relationship with Goa, India, serves to facilitate greater foreign investment between the two states and increased opportunities for mutual economic, educational, tourism and cultural exchanges,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii president & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “We look forward to exploring the possibilities of this new collaborative agreement.”

Background about Goa, India:

  • Goa’s per capita GDP is one of the highest in India, a country that currently boasts the third largest GDP in the world.
  • Goa has a growing market for US food and retail products, with imports of US agricultural food products doubling in 2015 to $20.6 million.
  • Goa is a top tourist population globally (7,785,693 visitors in 2017), known for its beaches, abundant seafood, tropical climate, and historic architecture, which has also attracted film opportunities.
  • Goa has many multinational companies with offices in the state covering various sectors like fisheries, pharmaceuticals, information technology, tourism, and hospitality.
  • Goa’s biodiversity is rich and is home to thousands of species ranging from plants, animals, and marine life.
  • Hawaiʻi’s agreement with Goa highlights the continued growth of US-India relationships, with the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue concluding earlier this month.

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