At a unique gathering of the Skal family, including the Skal International–USA Executive Committee, SI Washington, some of its Skal Scholar program participants, and some prospective Skalleagues, the Uzbekistan Embassy hosted this distinguished group of tourism leaders in its efforts to expand its position as an important travel destination in Central Asia.
The event was generated by early introductory discussions resulting from an initial contact by SI Washington Skalleagues Carolyn Howell and Andres Hayes with Uzbekistan Embassy Counselor for Trade and Economic Affairs Kamol Muhtarov.
Uzbekistan is seeking to improve its national economy by stimulating growth through tourism and determined that Skal was an organization which offered an opportunity to do so after several Uzbekistan Embassy staff and Uzbekistan American Chamber of Commerce officials attended a SI Washington dinner meeting.
The Uzbekistan Embassy hosts provided an extensive visual presentation on Uzbekistan culture, history, shopping, dining, and top destination cities, including its capital Tashkent, Samarkand, and Jizzak; a buffet dinner of Uzbekistan cuisine, and access to its ornate diplomatic home filled with cultural items, paintings, and historic photos. Muhtarov and Uzbekistan Charge de Affairs Sirojiddin Yahshilikov facilitated the program and all it entailed.
The entire Skal International–USA Executive Committee, except for one member who was travelling, were in attendance, as well as members of Skal International Washington, participants in its Skal Scholars program, and prospective Skal members, including Her Excellency Arikana Chihombori Quao, African Union Ambassador to the United States.
On behalf of the national executive committee, Skal International–USA President Holly Powers offered the Skal toast, “Happiness! Good Health! Friendship! Long Life! Skal!” and acknowledged the special relationships developed within the industry through Skal, including ones such as those exhibited by Skal International Washington and its outreach to the global diplomatic community in Washington. The club has ambassadors who are members.
Speaking at the event for the Washington club were President James Enright and Vice President Andres Hayes, who coordinated the arrangements with some of the same diplomacy skills offered by the Uzbekistan hosts.
SKAL International USA is currently the largest National Committee in Skal International with 2,000 members and 48 clubs nationwide.