WASHINGTON - A Vermont National Guard delegation met with the president of Senegal and the African Union in Washington Dec. 12.
Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, adjutant general of Vermont, sat down with Senegal President Macky Sall, who was attending the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, to discuss the almost 15-year partnership between Vermont and Senegal. Sall also heads the African Union.
“The partnership with Senegal is as strong as ever. It was truly an honor to sit down and chat with President Sall about all the great things we have done together and all the great things on the horizon,” Knight said. “There is so much we can offer each other.”
Sall praised the partnership, citing efforts to develop a tactical training center in Thies and domestic emergency management response, including the physical security and stockpile management program.
The president said he was optimistic about increased multilateral opportunities with the Vermont Guard’s other partner countries, North Macedonia and Austria.
Knight and Sall also discussed a medical readiness exercise scheduled early next year, when Vermont Guardsmen and Senegalese medical professionals will provide care in military and civilian clinics and hospitals.
Vermont has sent personnel to Senegal several times since the signing of the State Partnership Agreement in 2008.
Knight expressed enthusiasm about expanding the relationship beyond military cooperation and fostering civilian-to-civilian relationships.
“The goal is a whole-of-society partnership. The connections and the opportunities to learn from each other are where we have seen incredible value on the military side,” Knight said. “Expanding this partnership to the civilian world would maximize the benefits of the State Partnership Program for both Vermont and Senegal.”
The State Partnership Program, administered by the National Guard Bureau, is an innovative, cost-effective security cooperation program that connects the National Guard with the militaries of partner nations. Vermont has paired with North Macedonia since 1993, Senegal since 2008, and Austria since 2021.