Randy Smith talks Asia

Kyrgyzstan

Clarion call for trip of lifetime to Kyrgyzstan

Dear Friends of Kyrgyzstan, Residents of North Central Washington,
Family, (and just plain friends),
I’ve decided to provide an update to all of you on our North Central Washington/Issyk-kul, Kyrgyzstan sister region activities this past year, and for the upcoming year. I do this, because I am sensing there is a growing interest both here and in Kyrgyzstan in “growing” our relationship, and because 2018 promises to be a year of a couple significant events that some of you may wish to be aware, and possibly participate. If you are on this list, it is because either you have been, are, or I think may be interested in these activities in the future.
I am happy to report, that Kyrgyzstan, once again, this past October held free and open elections, to continue its march towards a more stable parliamentary democracy and peaceful transitions of power. This is not a small accomplishment in Central Asia, where all the other former Soviet Republics lag well behind Kyrgyzstan in this process. The Economist magazine has, more than once pointed to Kyrgyzstan as a model for how a long term transition should occur in some of the newest nations in this area.
Since our small fledgling group of enthusiasts returned from last year’s World Nomad Games in Issyk-Kul Kyrgyzstan last September, we have spent quite a bit of time on identifying just how we wish to be organized as a long term official “Sister Region” group. As we work through that process we will keep you informed. Additionally, this past year saw two marvelous opportunities for members of our group to put their enthusiasm for Kyrgyzstan into action. In early April this year our group, under the banner of Cashmere Rotary and the “Open World Program”, hosted a group of “young entrepreneurs and innovators” from Kyrgyzstan for a week. We hosted them in home stays and planned a week of activities for them to enhance those skills that they need to be successful, and built more relationships. This past month of October we decided to help another organization from Spokane, “Friendship Force” with a group of young men from Kyrgyzstan who are involved in agriculture. This group was also in Washington State with the Congressionally funded “Open World” program and spent two days looking at value added agriculture in our area, as a part of a bigger exposure which included our area, the Spokane area and stops at food processing in Grant County.
Next year promises to be an exciting year. I have recently been contacted by the Deputy Governor of Cholpon Ata, one of the regions in the Issyk-Kul Oblast (state), about the new Governor’s desire to bring a delegation to North Central Washington under the banner of our Sister Region relationship. The Governor is indicating that he wishes to make it a diverse delegation made up of private (tourism, agriculture, education,) and public (representatives of the major communities of his Oblast) which does mark a shift from past delegations being primarily government oriented. We are in the early stages of planning for this visit. Additionally, our group is in the early planning stages of a return trip to next year’s World Nomad Games, to be held September 3-8 in Cholpan-Ata, Issyk-Kul. We are very fortunate to have a sister region that has such an event potentially every two years. It creates a real focal point for potential regional exchanges. I urge any of you who have never heard of the World Nomad Games (held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan) to Google it. You will be amazed, and understand why several who went last year are indicating a desire to return. Once you are there, you will find that there is so much more than the games, and it all revolves around the marvelous people.
Finally, if you are interested in getting involved in our activities, let me know. If you are interested in a small group experience you will never forget, let me know, as the group that goes to Kyrgyzstan will be small (no more than 20) for logistical reasons.
I hope I’ve created some questions in your minds.
Sincerely,
Randy Smith, Chairman of the Board, North Central Washington/Issyk-Kul Sister Region Group

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