STSCA Board Meets with New Uzbek Ambassador Gulyamov

On March 3, members of the STSCA Board met with the new Uzbek Ambassador to the US, His Excellency Baktiyar Gulyamov, who was in Seattle to promote economic development between Uzbekistan and the US. The Ambassador mentioned a number of directions the Uzbek government would like to pursue in business together (agricultural products and processing and Boeing jets) and also lent his support to the STSCA activities we described. In addition to the STSCA Board, he met with Seattle City Council Member Jean Godden and also had a very productive meeting with her. He sent us this letter of appreciation for the visit.

helen_with_ambassadorUzbek Ambassador 1

2014 Navruz Celebration

Come join the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association for our annual Navruz celebration! This is our largest event during the year, and we love getting everyone together to value the importance of Navruz, renew friendships, enjoy great food, and have a lot of fun! We will have entertainment including a fashion show, dancing, and a children’s corner!

Please mark your calendar for Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 for this great event in the North Seattle Community College Cafeteria. The doors open at 4:45 pm. The meal will be served in courses, so arrive on time to enjoy all of it!

If you are interested in volunteering for the event or in helping to make somsas, please email

Please bring fruit and/or dessert to share.

$15/student (ages 13-18, or college student)
$10/child (age 8-12)
Children age 7 and under are free

Family: $30 for the first 2 adults, plus $10 for each additional family member age 8 and over

Purchase tickets at the door or ahead of time on Brown Paper Tickets (service charge applies). Scan this QR code to access our ticket site, or go to to purchase tickets:


Heading North on I-5
Take exit #173 (Northgate exit).
Turn right (South) onto 1st Avenue NE.
Turn right again at N 92nd Street.
Turn right onto College Way N.
The college is on the right.

Heading South on I-5
Take exit #173 Westbound (Northgate exit).
Turn right onto N Northgate Way.
Turn left onto Meridian Avenue N (becomes College Way N).
The college is on the left.

Easy access with free parking: park only in the visitors’ parking spots in front or in the north/south parking lots, but not the underground lot, which is permit parking only.

Annual Meeting

Please join us for the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association Annual Meeting!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 7–9 pm
North Seattle Community College, North Star Room

Come hear our 40th anniversary delegation report on our amazing recent trip to Tashkent–what’s new, whom we met, and what’s in the future for STSCA!

Light refreshments will be served.


Heading North on I-5:
1. Take exit #173 (Northgate exit)
2. Turn right (South) onto 1st Avenue NE
3. Turn right again at N 92nd Street
4. Turn right onto College Way N
5. The college is on the right.

Heading South on I-5:
1. Take exit #173 Westbound (Northgate exit)
2.Turn right onto N Northgate Way
3. Turn left onto Meridian Ave N (becomes College Way N
4. The college is on the left.

Parking: Park for free in the visitors’ parking spots in front or in the north or south parking lots, but not the underground lot, which is permit parking only.

35th Anniversary Celebration at Roosevelt High School


City of Seattle Establishes Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Day


WHEREAS, Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia and the capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan, with a multi-ethnic population of 2.3 million and is a regional leader in business, education, and the arts; and

WHEREAS, Seattle is the hub of a metropolitan area of 3.5 million people in the Northwest of the United States of America and is a recognized progressive leader in business, culture, and education; and

WHEREAS, the sister city relationship with Tashkent is the third oldest of all of Seattle’s twenty-one sister city relationships; and

WHEREAS, the relationship between Seattle and Tashkent was formalized in 1973, through discussions between the mayors of our two great cities–Mayor Uhlman of Seattle, and both Mayors Asamov and Kazimov of Tashkent–whose courage, leadership, and foresight we celebrate; and

WHEREAS, the relationship between Seattle and Tashkent has resulted in almost one hundred delegations, tours and meetings to establish cultural, educational, professional, and business exchanges and opportunities between our two cities; and

WHEREAS, both cities have developed parks in their respective cities to commemorate in earth, trees, and stone our lasting friendship; and

WHEREAS, over the 40 years of our affiliation, the friendship has never been interrupted by world events, and our visionary leaders continue to be open and willing to share information and resources for a thriving relationship; and

WHEREAS, we look forward to many future exchanges that will enrich the lives of citizens of our cities, and many decades of friendship between our communities;



Successful 40th-Anniversary Delegation Visits Seattle from Tashkent

At our Navruz celebration in March, we mentioned that a delegation might come from Tashkent in June. Just a few weeks ago it was confirmed, and as a result we had a very successful visit June 23rd-27th with 11 delegates from Tashkent and one representative from the Uzbek embassy in Washington, D.C.

This was an outstanding way of celebrating our 40th anniversary with both our partners in Tashkent and the Uzbek embassy. The delegation participated in many meetings and enjoyed a dinner celebration with STSCA members and city of Seattle officials.

Tashkent Deputy Mayor I.D. Berdibekov led the delegation of city officials, including department heads from the Parks department, landscaping, commercial and non-commercial properties, external relations, and mahallah officials. It was a very diverse group! Further, the assistant to the Uzbek ambassador to the U.S. also joined us for the visit.

The delegation arrived on Sunday, June 23rd, and got right to work the next day. They met with the Seattle City Council, led by President Sally Clark, who greeted the delegation and presented them with a signed proclamation from the city proclaiming June 24th Seattle-Tashkent Day. The delegates were very pleased with this declaration! They also observed democracy in action through public testimony to the city council on many different issues. Mayor Mike McGinn also met with the delegation for an extended period of time and discussed common issues between our two cities. Then it was off to dinner at the home of two STSCA Board members to introduce the delegates to an American-style potluck gathering.

The next day continued with meetings with the Trade Development Alliance to discuss the economy of Seattle, how to attract businesses, public/private partnerships, and economic development. It was a time for sharing and questions, since both of our cities face the same struggles as large, metropolitan areas.

The afternoon was filled with meetings with the Seattle Parks Department and the Transportation/Streets/Landscaping department. Both cities discussed their efforts to improve and maintain parks as well as landscaping throughout our cities.

The evening culminated in a dinner with recognition by both cities of our 40th anniversary. Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith of Seattle and Deputy Mayor I.D. Berdibekov of Tashkent congratulated each city on its successes for the past 40 years. The two Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association Co-Presidents, Diana Pearce and Dan Peterson, also discussed the STSCA’s accomplishments and recognized the achievements of STSCA members in the audience who have contributed to STSCA’s success over the past 40 years.

During the remainder of the delegation’s visit other activities were conducted–flowers were planted in Tashkent Park (on Capitol Hill), and tourist activities were organized at popular Seattle sites (Pike Place Market, the Aquarium, Space Needle, etc.) so that the delegates were made aware of the beauty and diversity of Seattle.

The Voice of America, located in Washington, D.C. has been a supporter of the STSCA for a long time. Our good friend, Navbahor Imamova, International Broadcaster of the Uzbek Service, watched the Seattle Channel broadcast of the speech by Deputy Mayor Berdibekov to the City Council, and summarized the exchange. You may read about this exchange here (in Uzbek only):

Deputy Mayor Berdibekov aptly summed up the group’s impressions: “The city of Seattle looks beautiful, all the meetings were productive, and I want to begin to plan for more much frequent meetings between our cities.”

We have the same hope and dreams.

All the best,

Dan Peterson
Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association

Seattle Sounders FC International Family Festival

STSCA invites you and your family to the Seattle Sounders FC International Family Festival, which allows families and friends to share their passion for the Sounders with our diverse community. SSFC International Family Festival provides fans Unique and Memorable Sounders FC Brand Experiences that delivers Meaningful Connections between the diverse group of attendees, players, and coaches

Participants will spend time with players, take tours of the locker room, and experience international cultural booths in the West Plaza. Including soccer instructional activities, family interactive competitions, face painting and tons of inflatables.

Where: CenturyLink Field
When: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Two sessions: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person; children 4 and under are free.

For more details and to register, go to:

2013 Seattle Sister Cities Reception

Please join co-chairs Mayor Mike McGinn and City Council President Sally Clark and members of the Seattle City Council at the:
17th Annual Seattle Sister Cities Reception

Thursday, May 9, 2013
6:00 – 8:30 pm
Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall
600 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98124

Chongqing, China ● Limbe, Cameroon ● Perugia, Italy ● Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets either online or by phone.
24/7 Ticket Hotline: 1-800-838-3006

Come enjoy international cuisine and entertainment featuring this year’s focus cities–Chongqing, Limbe, Perugia, and Tashkent! The annual Seattle Sister Cities Reception is a place where grass-roots exchange participants, volunteers, international businesspeople, and government officials all come together to celebrate Seattle’s dynamic international connections!

The reception is held to thank Seattle’s 21 sister-city associations and their many enthusiastic volunteers for their dedication and hard work and to honor the associations for their outstanding achievements. The reception is also the primary fundraising activity for the sister-city program, with funds being used to provide matching grants for exchange programs and other projects initiated and organized by the individual associations.

Former STSCA President Virginia Westberg Memorial Service

A memorial “Celebration of Life” service will be held for our beloved former STSCA co-president Virginia Westberg on:

Saturday, May 18th at 2 pm
Northminster Presbyterian Church
7706 25th Avenue NW, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood

Please RSVP your attendance to Virginia’s daughter-in-law, BJ Stokey at


There is limited off-street parking around the church; carpooling is strongly encouraged.

In order to prepare for a reception following the memorial, we are asking for your help to identify all friends who may want to attend. Virginia had many different groups of friends and we would like to reach out to as many as possible.

Thank you for your help and we look forward to seeing you on May 18th to celebrate Virginia’s long life with her cherished friends and family. We have uncovered many photographs and memorabilia that illustrate her amazing life and we are pleased we can share them with you.

Remembering Virginia Westberg, STSCA pioneer



Virginia Braley Westberg

June 25, 1919 – March 19, 2013

STSCA has lost a devoted friend and leader, Virginia Westberg, who served ten years as a co-chair of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association and was active with STSCA for 20 years. Her long-time friend and co-chair of STSCA, Rosanne Royer, has written this history of the feisty born-and-bred-in-Seattle peace activist, who modeled the power of people-to-people relations.

Virginia Westberg_headshot

STSCA pioneer and co-president Virginia Westberg. She lived 93 wonderful years.

 The spark that sets off firecrackers!

 That’s Virginia Westberg!

And if you just met her, you’re already one of her best friends. She walks into a room, and all of a sudden, everybody is introduced to everybody else and told they should all get acquainted and work together on something.

“Virginia was community glue,” says long-time friend and associate Fred Noland.

“There are people at the top with power and others who don’t care. In the middle are the ones like Virginia, who pick up the slack, organize the volunteers, raise the money and push those at the top to serve the ones who are voiceless. That was Virginia–behind the scenes, cheerleading like mad. She was an extraordinary connector of people across generations.”


Virginia has been “getting things going,since her childhood as the eldest of three children of Edward R. Braley and Gladys Norton Braley. Born in Seattle, Virginia grew up a dedicated Camp Fire Girl a few blocks from Green Lake and, as she puts it, “Just over the hill were all the Scandinavians, and I married two of them!” She made close friendships with the Japanese families whose truck gardens extended out from near her family home and up Aurora Avenue.

Virginia’s father owned four outlets of Braley’s Drug Stores: one in Seattle, in the Olympic Hotel; the others in Tacoma, Vancouver and Portland. Prior to opening up his drug stores, he sold cigars on the trains running through Montana, Washington and Oregon.

“He was a Republican populist,” says Virginia. “One day when I was a kid, he introduced me to Joshua Green, the famous banker, and then to Dick, the cop on a horse, directing traffic. He said I had just met two great men and neither one is better than the other one.”

“During the war there were business people who tried to force him to fire a Japanese-American he had hired as a pharmacist. But he refused to do it.”


Virginia’s historian cousin Scott McArthur of Oregon has traced their genealogy on Virginia’s mother’s side from Washington State to Iowa, to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and then New England. Two ancestors were in the U.S. forces in the American Revolution, and their direct ancestor is William Bradford of the Mayflower, and prior to that to King Edward I of England. Scott has even traced one line back to Italy in AD 60. On her father’s side they were French Huguenots. According to Virginia, “In the 1600’s they were kicked out of France by Queen Katherine, and they went to South Carolina, then Missouri, then Washington State.”

 Work History

When her first marriage ended, Virginia began work as a single mother and a life-long advocate of equal rights for women and minorities. In the College of Education Placement Office at the University of Washington, she matched college grads with jobs in the schools. She was the Seattle Project Director for Women in Community Service, Inc, a program funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity to recruit young women for the Women’s Job Corps. In 1980 she worked alongside former County Councilwoman Bernice Stern, as the two widows utilized King County and Federal HUD funds to establish the King County Senior Housing Counseling Service. They enlisted 16 volunteers to run the program.

 Impassioned Advocate for the Voiceless

As a volunteer, Virginia launched “Call for Action at KING Television. For five years she supervised volunteers for the popular consumer protection show, conducting preliminary research on community complaints before turning the leads over to investigative reporter Don McGaffin. In the meantime, she developed a close and enduring friendship with station owner Dorothy Bullitt and her extended family.

“She was all over the newsroom, every day, all day,” remembers Charles Royer, former Seattle mayor and former KING-TV commentator.

Virginia’s interest in the news began at Lincoln High School where she wrote a column for the school paper.

Virginia also served as chair of the Mount Baker unit of the League of Women Voters of Seattle. The Virginia Westberg Papers 1955-1966 are housed in Special Collections at the University of Washington and document her work with League of Women Voters and the Women’s Job Corps.

Internationalist/Peace Activist

The multi-ethnic neighborhood Virginia grew up in stayed in her blood through her university studies, her community activities and extensive travels. She majored in history and international affairs at the University of Washington. When she was a sophomore her father wouldn’t let her go to Europe with the American Friends Service—because there was going to be a war, he said. So she quit school secretly and took a job at Rhodes Ten Cent Store to save money for a trip.

Herlove for the Balkans expanded into a fascination with Russia. After the death of her second husband, Al Westberg, revered Seattle civil rights attorney, Virginia left for Moscow to spend six months with the family of Lynn Jones, ABC news correspondent and formerly with KING Television. Almost immediately she found ways to make herself useful to the press corps in their daily challenges of living among the Soviets. Mingling with the diplomatic corps came naturally.

“The first night I was in Moscow,” Virginia recalls, “the journalists had a big party and I’m sitting there with Newsweek and Time and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, this is wonderful, I’m going to get everything first hand—the scoop!’”

Virginia Westberg, Rosanne Royer (2010)

Former STSCA co-presidents Virginia Westberg and Rosanne Royer celebrate Virginia’s 90th birthday in 2010.

After Moscow, Virginia went full throttle for 20 years on things Soviet and became probably the oldest soccer mom” in history. She served as co-chair with Rosanne Royer of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association, the first US/USSR Sister City Affiliation, established under former Mayor Wes Uhlman. The affiliation survived the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets and the U.S. ban on the Moscow Olympics.

Then, as soon as the USSR began to thaw under Gorbachev in the mid-80s, the Seattle-Tashkent Committee was invited by the Soviet government to serve as the flagship affiliation and launch numerous professional and cultural exchanges. Among them was the Amputee Soccer Exchange in which U.S. amputees, including war veterans, linked with amputee veterans of the Soviet-Afghanistan war. Virginia was their liaison, accompanied them on trips, and in general made things happen for them.

“Rosanne and I were at this exchange business 24 hours a day,” Virginia says. “It was one of the most extraordinary international opportunities we had ever seen laid before Americans.”

Politics, News, and other Passions

“VW,” as Virginia was known to family and friends was passionate about many things, but it was the news and politics that got her going every morning.

“FDR was our greatest president,” she often said. “It was Roosevelt who acted when the chips were down . . . when people needed jobs–and what is more important than that?”

She said it was Roosevelt who made her a Democrat, though her own father was a Republican. Her first political activity was during college, registering fellow dime store workers for membership in the union.

She was a great cook and gardener. She loved growing strawberries and flowers in her gardens at two different homes overlooking Lake Washington and one in the San Juan Islands. She was known for organizing great parties at her home on Randolph Street to celebrate Seafair, the arrival of the Christmas ships, and many more events associated with her volunteer work.

 VW also thrived on new experiences and adventure. She traveled widely overseas with her sister Gloria who preceded her in death, and took numerous trips to the Soviet Union in connection with exchange programs she helped manage. Her family will especially remember her love of the song, “Hotel California” by the Eagles, and “Stan Freberg Presents the History of the United States,” which was listened to after Thanksgiving dinner.

Most of all she loved the long walks in the “deep, dark woods with her only grandchild, Mark. Next came her 1964 Buick Skylark, named “Big Red.”

And the animals. There was Trudy Westberg the longhaired Dachshund and Koshka, the communist calico cat,” that was adopted in Moscow and later shipped to Seattle, all preceding her in death. Ella and Otis, her two black cats, remained faithfully by her side day and night during her illness.

In retirement Virginia made a full circle back to her “old neighborhood,” residing at Ida Culver House the last five years of her life.

The Good Life

Friends frequently heard VW describe her life in glowing terms of gratitude.

“The older I get the more I know I had just a really great life.” And then she always ended her proclamations with:  “Have you got the picture?”

Long-time friend and associate Rosanne Royer said there were three things you could count on completely in Virginia. She was on time, every time–never late to anything. The second is that she never lost track of you, no matter where you lived. She’d pick up the phone and call often: “Where are you, I’ve missed you. I have so much to tell you.” And every Christmas she’d send you a Pike Place Market calendar.


Virginia has two sons: Russell, who lives with his wife Joanna Jie Cui in San Mateo. Her son Roger lives in Seattle with wife B.J. Stokey and also spends part of the year in Santa Fe where their son, Virginia’s grandson and pride and joy, Mark, is attending Santa Fe University of Art and Design,

Virginia’s brother Russell (Bud) Braley, a journalist, was an officer in WWII and remained in Europe to live and work after the war. Her sister Gloria Heinz spent most of her life in San Luis Obispo and has a daughter, Connie Moxness, a beloved niece of Virginia.

A memorial gathering to honor Virginia will be announced in the near future. Donations in Virginia’s memory can be made to Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association, P.O.Box 25364, Seattle, WA. 98165-2264.

 –Rosanne Royer