The California Azerbaijan Friendship Association (CAFA) – the first ever organization uniting the vibrant Azerbaijani community of the U.S. State of California as well as friends of Azerbaijan – was established with a large official launch event in Los Angeles.
The participants in the event included members of the Azerbaijani community as well as California’s elected officials, foreign diplomats, faith leaders, mass media representatives, scientists (including Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry Arieh Warshel), leaders of Jewish, Turkish, Pakistani, Iranian, Korean, Vietnamese, Hispanic and other communities.
After national anthems of both countries were performed, CAFA’s Executive Director Kimiya Mammadova presented the new organization. Pointing to the two successful regional Azerbaijani community organizations, the Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California and the Azerbaijani Cultural Society of America, which have been operating in the northern regions of California, Mammadova expressed her hope that CAFA would benefit from the experience of these organizations in the years ahead. Higghlighting the goals of CAFA, the Executive Director noted that the Association will be working towards establishing stronger cultural, educational, humanitarian, trade and other significant relations between California and Azerbaijan. “Our organization intends to become the voice of the Azerbaijani community, reaching out to elected officials, government, business, faith and community leaders and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships,” Mammadova said. Noting that “CAFA will be operating based on individual and corporate donations and will be fully accountable and transparent before its members,” she presented the association’s Executive Board and expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the inaugural event – Azerbaijani community activists Pari Howard, Pirouz Khanlou, Amir Allahverdi, as well as the companies, including LT Scientific and Cal State HVAC.
The event heard speeeches from the California State Senators Ben Allen and Josh Newman, Mayor of Walnut Mary Su, City Councilmember of Torrance Heidi Ashcraft, Los Angeles City Human Relations Commissioner Dr. Amna Qazi, Consul General of Azerbaijan and Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps Nasimi Aghayev, and Chairman of the Los Angeles Interfaith Council Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez. They welcomed the establishment of this new organization of Azerbaijani community in a state as diverse and multicultural as California and appreciated CAFA’s objective of building stronger bridges between the two peoples and nations. Relevant certificates congratulating CAFA were presented.
A certificate of recognition signed by the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was presented to Kimiya Mammadova by Dr Amna Qazi.
The certificates of recognition addressed to CAFA were also sent by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Ed Royce; California State Senator Steven Bradford; Californa State Assembly members Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Phillip Chen; and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitchell Englander.
The event also featured the performance of Azerbaijani music and reception.
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