Strengthening Government Relations

The mission of the Houston Baku Sister City Association (HBSCA) is to promote mutual understanding, appreciation and cooperation between the citizens of Houston, Texas and Baku, Azerbaijan.  As a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that aspires to connect these two cities through creating and strengthening partnerships in business, culture and education, it goes without saying that having strong relationships with local and state elected officials in Houston and in Baku are essential to the success of our organization.  Maintaining these relationships as well as reaching out to establish new contacts with the officials is an important responsibility of the HBSCA leadership. It is with pleasure that we hereby highlight a few recent connections that were facilitated by our organization under the leadership of President Irada Akhoundova.

When Ambassador Elin Suleymanov and SOCAR VP Khalik Mammadov visited Houston earlier this March, HBSCA was honored to introduce the guests to Mayor Annise Parker who welcomed them at Houston’s City Hall.  A discussion was held regarding the ongoing special relationship between Houston and Baku and maintaining the economic, education and strategic relationship.  Additionally, Mayor Parker shared that she was planning on making a future trip to visit Baku in the future.  Following the meeting, Ambassador Suleymanov and Mr. Mammadov presented Mayor Parker with a one-of-a-kind painting of pomegranates, a regional delicacy, brought especially from Azerbaijan as a gift for the Mayor.

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Visit of Azerbaijan Government Officials Delegation

It was a great honor for HBSCA to welcome the delegation of Azerbaijan Government officials on March 8th at the Azerbaijan Cultural Center on the occasion of International Women’s Day.   The delegation guests included his Excellency the Honorable Elin Suleymanov, Amabassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, Members of the Azerbaijan Parliament the honourable Samad Seyyidov, the honourable Asim Mollazade, the honourable Sevinj Fataliyeva and the honourable Sabiha Qafarova, SOCAR VP Khalik Mammadov and SOCAR USA Director Rauf Mammadov.

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The visit offered a good opportunity for our community to meet with the officials and to demonstrate how the HBSCA community is committed to strengthening the friendship relations between Houston, Texas and Baku, Azerbaijan.

The delegation visited Houston as part of a US tour during which they also visited  Austin Texas to meet with Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Strauss, and with members of the Texas State House and Senate. The delegation spoke with a number of elected officials concerning the ongoing relationship between the United States and Azerbaijan along with the continued economic and social support. The guests were hosted on a wonderful tour of the Texas Capitol Building and were invited to join Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Comptroller Susan Combs and Governor Rick Perry for a number of events and meet and greets in the Capitol Complex. Following the day’s events, State Representative Jim Pitts hosted a reception at his private residence in Austin.  HBSCA welcomes the increased level of government relations between the two countries as it emphasizes the importance of our efforts in connecting the two cities, Houston and Baku through cultural, educational and trade exchange programs.  Instrumental in arranging for the delegation’s visit was Senator Rodney Ellis, who has been a leading voice of the Azerbaijani people in Texas.

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To view the pictures of the delegation’s visit to Austin, click on the below link for our photosharing library at Photobucket!

http://bit.ly/WHvvAq

HBSCA President Irada Akhoundova also met with Houston City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, District C, who represents the district in which the Azerbaijan Cultural Center is located.   Topics of the meeting included general information about the HBSCA organization and activities as well as a conversation about various issues that may affect the relationship between our two sister cities.

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Another important meeting was with Houston City Councilman Ed Gonzalez, District H, whose office is co-operating in the plans for the construction of the Azerbaijan Friendship Park which will be located within his district.  Councilman Gonzalez and his office will be instrumental in assisting with the planning and procedures required by the City.  Councilman Gonzalez’s office was also kind enough to present our organization with a proclamation from the city recognizing our recent events in remembrance of the Khojaly tragedy.

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We are very thankful for all of the elected officials who take time out of their busy schedules to hear about the mission and objectives of our organization and who support our efforts in building relationships between Houston and Baku.

To view other proclamations, resolutions and governmental recognition that HBSCA and the Azerbaijan Cultural Center have received, click here:  http://bit.ly/WYZG43

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