2008 Delegation To Tashkent

The trip to Tashkent by the 16 members of the delegation was extremely successful! Many individuals arrived early in Uzbekistan, prior to the official visitation days, of August 29-September 2. Each person had a wonderful time sightseeing or visiting friends or family.

The official delegation days included a 1.5-hour meeting with the mayor of Tashkent and visits to many wonderful museums and sites. It also included wonderful dinners almost each evening with Uzbek officials. We were very privileged to see the new mosque and a copy of the Koran that was written in the early 700s. We also were very privileged to attend the Independence Day activities, which included sitting about 100 feet from President Karimov, as he made his speech to the nation on the 17th anniversary of their independence. The evening felt as if we were at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics; it was that special! The mayor of Tashkent also held a fantastic reception for us, with the country’s top entertainers.

Our delegation leaders, Ms. Jan Drago, City Councilwoman from the Seattle City Council, and former Mayor Wes Uhlman, were excellent leaders and ambassadors for our city and the delegation. We were very fortunate to have them go to Tashkent and help make this trip so special.

The American embassy held a gathering at the Peace Park to dedicate a new bench and to have former Mayor Uhlman meet the former mayor of Tashkent, Mayor Kazimov, who had signed the original sister city documents in 1972-1973. It was the 20th anniversary of the Peace Park. The embassy hosted an American barbecue at the park, and it was attended by hundreds of people.

We also held two meetings with the Ministry of Economics regarding our grant application for Seattle and Tashkent to begin to work together on global warming issues. We hope that this grant will be successfully submitted and approved.

While we had to deal with a few glitches, our goals for the delegation were fully met. We re-established our ties with Tashkent; we celebrated the 35th anniversary of the sister-city relationship; we supported by our attendance the 17th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s status as an independent, sovereign nation; and we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Peace Park. Plus, we all felt personal success in our time with family and friends.

We thank the membership of the STSCA for contributing to our organization so we had the resources to pay for the purchase and installment of a beautiful marble bench in the Peace Park so that all citizens could recognize the long friendship between our nations.