As the Chairman of the Azerbaijan America Alliance, I am distinctly proud to have the opportunity to share with you my thoughts about Azerbaijan, its people, and its importance to America and the world.
Azerbaijani culture is undoubtedly one of the most diverse in the world. Azerbaijan's population of nine million people represents aspects of European and Islamic heritages, as well as more recent Western influences. It is this diversity, as well as thousands of years of history, that contributes to the wide variety of endeavors in which Azerbaijan excels — its breathtaking architecture, its traditional and modern music and dance, its much-celebrated local cuisine, and its unforgettable hospitality.
I have experienced Azerbaijani hospitality while visiting the country. When I was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Europe and Eurasia subcommittee, and as a private American citizen, I have had the opportunity to visit Azerbaijan on several occasions and met with President Ilham Aliyev. The government of Azerbaijan has shown strong friendship to the U.S. and has been committed to democratic and positive developments.
Azerbaijan is located in a geopolitically crucial region, bordered by Iran to the south and Russia to the north, and stands as a stable, pro-Western nation in a turbulent region. Azerbaijan has consistently stood alongside the United States in the war on terror. Azerbaijan was among the first nations to provide military support to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and was one of the first countries to pledge support to the United States following the tragedy of 9/11. It is vital that the U.S. continues to strengthen its diplomatic bonds with Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijan America Alliance is dedicated to fostering mutual understanding and respect between the peoples of Azerbaijan and America. The Alliance is working to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Azerbaijan through academic discussion, cultural programming, and social and political discourse.
Azerbaijan is a true friend and ally of America. And America should be a true friend to the country and people of Azerbaijan.
Former U.S. Representative
Chairman, the Azerbaijan America Alliance