On Friday, May 30, the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) departed Washington, D.C. with a Legislative Delegation to Baku, Azerbaijan. Working with Azpod, an Azeri company interested in expanding into the United States, the Humpty Dumpty Institute arranged for the members of the delegation to meet with Azeri business and government leaders.
The delegation, composed of Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Illinois State Representative La Shawn K. Ford, and Illinois State Representative Kenneth Dunkin, arrived in Baku on Saturday, May 31 and stayed at the recently opened JW Marriott Absheron Baku. On Sunday, June 1 the delegation was escorted by representatives of Azpod to sites of historic, business, and economic importance in Azerbaijan. This included briefings on current issues which impact doing business in Azerbaijan. The delegation was also given an in-depth tour of the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center which contains an impressive presentation of the history of Azerbaijan since it regained its independence in 1991.
On Monday, June 2, the delegation received a briefing at the U.S. Embassy. The participants heard about U.S. foreign policy priorities in Azerbaijan and the region and developments in the political and social sectors of the country. The delegation met next with the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan. The members of the delegation learned of Azerbaijan’s continued economic growth and learned of economic opportunities for Americans in Azerbaijan. The delegation next headed to the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. This institution, founded by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007, has become one of the premiere institutions of higher learning in the Caucuses and Central Asia. The delegation toured the Academy and had in-depth conversations with the rector and faculty members. Following the orientation at ADA, the group has a working lunch with Azerbaijani Parliamentarians and focused on the role of women in politics.
The final meeting of this whirlwind program was with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Elmar Mammadyarov. The delegation learned of Azerbaijan’s efforts to regain its occupied territory as well as the important role it is playing in its strategic position between Russia and Iran. The delegation left during the early morning of June 3 after two days of intense and productive meetings.