Posts Tagged ‘American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan’

imgp2718The invitation read, Good morning, Mr. President.  It was sent by US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Anne Derse, inviting a group of American citizens, living in Baku, to eat breakfast and watch the election returns at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  I arrived shortly before 7am, and it was well worth the early rise, even with Wolf Blitzer barking at us from the big screen.  Just before 8am, 11pm Tuesday in the east, I alerted the local Baku TV camera crews to get to the front of the room expecting Wolf would call the election at the top of the hour.  imgp2722I was surprised at the emotions I felt this morning, as I’m sure many of you were.  But my experience had to be different.  As I walked to work, Obama’s words, “all things are possible,” stuck with me.  As I’ve come to realize during my time in Baku, all things are not possible in Azerbaijan.  Not yet, anyway.  When I arrived at work, one colleague after another congratulated me!  I understood they were congratulating America.  And as I talked with one young woman about the election this afternoon, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, “I would love to be in America.”

I put together a short video of the sights and sounds from this morning.  I’m sure it was a scene repeated all around the world, and provides a bit of insight into why the election of Barack Obama transcends American politics.  You’ll hear from Chuck Rice, the country director for the International Center for Journalists.  After spending a year in Baku, he leaves Thursday for a stint in East Timor.  I also talked with Maksud Mirzoyev, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan, and general manager of the five McDonald’s in Azerbaijan.  (In fact, Obama once intervened on McDonald’s behalf during a trip to Baku.) And finally, Munir Jawed, a recent Georgetown graduate, now a Fulbright Scholar here in Azerbaijan.  Look and listen.


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