Every year for the past 96 years, Azerbaijanis around the globe observe May 28th as the national Republic Day in celebration of democracy in Azerbaijan.
A formal reception was held on May 28th at the Houston City Hall Rotunda venue, where Houston-Baku Sister City Association and Azerbaijan Center President Ms. Irada Akhoundova welcomed over 100 guests and outlined the recent activities of organizations. The event was attended by delegates of Houston-based consulates and city officials including co-host and Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzalez,
the State Representative Gene Wu,
Members of the Houston Consular Corps including Consul General of Turkey Bahri Batu, Consul General of Greece Georgios Papanikolaou, Consul General of Hungary Phillip Aronoff, Consul General of Pakistan Afzaal Mahmood, Consul General of Russia Alexander Zakharov, Consul General of Colombia Miguel Lopez, Consul General of Italy Fabrizio Nava, Consul General of the Republic of Korea Suk-Bum Park, Vice Consul of the Consulate of Brazil Marcelo Amoroso, Representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Natig Bakhishov,
Members of the Houston Office of Protocol and International Affairs, Mr. Harry Gee, President of Sister Cities of Houston.
In addition to our guests we also had esteemed representatives from the congressional offices of Congressmen Ted Poe and Steve Stockman, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Texas Senator Rodney Ellis.
Also present were representatives of Houston’s business, cultural, educational, non-profit communities and many Azerbaijanis living in Houston.
Executive Director of Houston Parks Board, Ms. Roksan Okan-Vick introduced the guests to the new U.S.-Azerbaijan Friendship Park & Bridge project in cooperation with Houston and Baku, Azerbaijan.
Speeches were delivered by several officials of the City of Houston and the State of Texas, emphasizing Azerbaijan’s rapid economic advancement and the importance of fostering and maintaining strong relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan. Also, numerous proclamations recognizing the Republic Day of Azerbaijan were presented by the officials to Ms. Akhoundova, including a Proclamation by Mayor Annise Parker declaring the 28th of May as Azerbaijan Republic Day in Houston presented by Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzalez.
The speeches were followed by a delightful performance by Jade and Jonathan Nakamura, two young students of the Odlar Yurdu education center, reciting a poem called “My Azerbaijan”, written by the Azerbaijani poet Samed Vurgun.
The celebration was concluded with a taste of traditional Azerbaijani hospitality providing an opportunity for the guests to connect and share their appreciation for Azerbaijan.