Gerb

04 november 2010, 20:49

San Diego News

Thursday, November 04, 2010

MICHAEL STETZ

 

It started with a visit three years ago by physical education teachers from this place called, Azerbaijan.

Several people living in a North Park neighborhood were intrigued by the guests they had met. They spoke English, were witty and charming and interesting.

The visit went so well, they wanted to create a stronger bond. Many of the San Diegans had never heard of Azerbaijan, which was a part of the former Soviet Union. It's bordered by Russia, Iran, Georgia, Armenia and the Caspian Sea.

“We had very little knowledge of it,” said Martin Kruming, who lives in Switzer Highland and came to know the strangers during that 2007 visit.

Later, they came up with this idea: Create a sister neighborhood with one in Azerbaijan. Rich in oil, the nation is becoming more modern and cosmopolitan all the time. The New York Timeswrote about it in Sunday’s Travel section.

Kruming noted how it even has a growing wine country.

They first wrote to the Azerbaijan ambassador to the United States about the concept and haven't looked back since.
On Thursday, the effort to create that bond between North Park and Azerbaijan takes another step forward. The Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, Elin Suleymanov, will visit North Park for a day of meetings and a reception.

It’s expected that the relationship between the two neighborhoods will be finalized in 2011, Kruming said. A neighborhood in the nation’s capital, Baku, has been chosen. It’s in the Nasimi District.

“It’s people in a neighborhood here getting to know a neighborhood a half a world away, said Kruming, an attorney.
While sister city relationships are popular, he believes this is the first one between neighborhoods.

In the future, there could be educational, cultural and business relationships forged, he said.

Kruming plans to visit the nation with others from San Diego in the spring. It’s his first visit. “It’ll be great,” he said.

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