North Carolina National Guard Welcomes Malawi as Their New State Partners

North Carolina National Guard leaders and leaders from Malawi participated in a State Partnership Signing Ceremony in Lilongwe, Malawi, April 27, 2024. The leaders joined fellow U.S. Military and Malawi officials at a signing ceremony as part of the North Carolina National Guard’s expansion bringing the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Malawi into their State Partnership Program, a National Guard Bureau initiative joining individual state National Guards and host nations as part of U.S. security cooperation and international civil-military affairs.



By Maj. Ellis Parks North Carolina National Guard Lilongwe, Malawi May 13, 2024
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Leaders from various organizations across North Carolina, including the governor’s office, the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, N.C. State University, and the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) joined members from the U.S. Army Africa Command, the Republics of Botswana, Malawi, and Zambia to witness the signing of a National Guard State Partnership Program Letter of Intent between the NCNG and the Republic of Malawi, in Lilongwe, Malawi, April 27, 2024. This historic day was marked by speeches given by the Chief of Staff for North Carolina’s Governor’s Office Kristi Jones, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, The Adjutant General of North Carolina, Malawi Defence Force Commander General Paul Valentino Phiri, Malawi Minister of Defence Honourable Harry Mkandawire, and the final address by the President of the Republic of Malawi His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera. “The North Carolina National Guard put on full display the strength of the State Partnership Program in Southern Africa this week at the signing ceremony for Zambia and Malawi,” said National Guard Bureau Director of Strategy, Plans and International Affairs, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Darrin Slaten. Jones and Hunt, joined Mkandawire and Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo as representatives to sign the SPP Letter of Intent. The SPP is a vital mechanism for fostering cooperation and building enduring relationships between states, both domestically and internationally. These programs typically involve the pairing of a U.S. state's National Guard with the military forces of a partner nation. Through joint training exercises, exchanges of personnel, and collaborative initiatives, state partnership programs facilitate the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and resources. “It was great to see this relationship start strong, the North Carolina National Guard flew a C-17 to the ceremony loaded with North Carolina State Senior leaders from Governor Roy Cooper's cabinet,” said Slaten. “This multilateral relationship is well on its way to supporting security in the region.” The Republic of Malawi will be North Carolina’s third state partner in the local region, with the Republic of Zambia signing their letter of intent one day prior. The N.C. team chosen to attend the ceremony in Malawi did so with the intent of ensuring the right people were there to assess the possibilities of the new partnership, properly discuss the two groups’ needs and capabilities, and begin to look at solutions and resolutions for the future. One of the individuals attending the ceremony was the Associate Dean for NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dr. Richard Bonanno. “Our objective is to work with our partner states to help develop an inclusive, extension and academic network into a system that incentivizes and facilitates the process of creating solutions and innovations through research that is based on local need,” said Bonanno. “Moving the research findings...to serve all aspects of the agricultural sector and value chain.” The Republic of Malawi is a country teaming with both people and resources. As you ride through the city of Lilongwe, it is almost impossible to miss the dark rich soil, waiting to be cultivated. “You can see how amazing the resources here are by just looking at how rich the soil is,” said U.S. Army Col. Mike Marciniack, the NCNG’s J5 strategic plans officer. “If worked correctly, the possibility for agricultural growth here is limitless.” Marciniack, born and raised in Pembroke, North Carolina has firsthand knowledge of the power of self-sustaining farming. Pembroke, known as a farming town, grows everything from livestock to produce. Marciniack hopes that North Carolina’s new state partner, Malawi, taps into North Carolina’s long farming history. The significance of the signing was captured by Chakwera, along with his staff, welcoming the team from North Carolina, allowing them to see parts of their astounding country and experience the vibrance of their culture. “I express my deepest gratitude to the government of the United States of America in general for sustaining this relationship,” said Chakwera, “and the governor of North Carolina, Governor Cooper, in particular for extending to us this partnership.”
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