January 03, 2009
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on Friday welcomed an international delegation of diplomats who travelled to Alaska to celebrate Alaska Statehood Day on January 3, 2009. Representatives from several Asian and European countries accepted Governor Palin's invitation to participate in weekend celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Alaska being admitted to the Union.
"We welcome these representatives with our best Alaska hospitality. We are pleased with their recognition of the importance of our 50th anniversary," Governor Palin said. "It is a special honor to welcome Ambassador Kislyak and to showcase our state to this high-profile international group."
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor
"I am so pleased to be here this weekend," Ambassador Kislyak said. "As discussed in my meeting with Governor Palin, it is encouraging to note the similarities between Alaska and the Russian Far East. Our existing commercial connections and the mutually beneficial nature of our professional partnerships can only help provide a measure of stability as, together, we face the global economic challenges that lie ahead."
Ambassador Kislyak also met with representatives of the Aleut International Association, Institute of the North, Alaska Rule of Law Initiative, National Parks Service, ISER Alaska Chukotka Project, and Turnagain Elementary School Russian Immersion Program, all of whom have been involved in multi-year Russia-related projects.
In addition to Ambassador Kislyak, foreign dignitaries include Yuri Gerasin, Consul General of the Russian Federation; Julian Evans, British Consul General; John Mataira, Consul General of New Zealand; Balazs Bokor, Consul General of Hungary; Sten Arne Rosnes, Consul General of Norway; Haryong Lee, Consul General of Korea; Fred Santos, Consul of The Philippines; Mel Knight, Alberta's Minister of Energy; Marvin Schneider, Alberta's Executive Director of the U.S. and Americas; and Haijun Wang, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of China's Heilongjiang Province. Mr. Wang is leading a four-person delegation from Heilongjiang Province, a sister province to Alaska, and China's northernmost region.
Members of the Alaska consular corps will also be participating in the weekend events. Among them: Karen Matthias, of Canada; Hideo Fujita, of Japan; Hee-chul Kim, of South Korea; and Jose Luis Cuevas, of Mexico. They will be joined by honorary consuls of the Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Seychelles, and Norway.
"We are thrilled that
so many of our esteemed international friends are joining us
for the auspicious occasion of our statehood celebration,"
said Kris Perry, director of the Governor's Office of International
Trade. "These trade partners have been critical to the
economic development of this state in the last 50 years and have
helped grow the market for Alaska exports to a nearly $4 billion
enterprise. Their presence here this weekend demonstrates how
far Alaska has come in the arena of international commerce, and
also how much promise we have for the next 50 years and beyond."
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