Monthly Meeting on May 24, 2018

May’s second monthly meeting focused around H.E. Pamela Spratlen, and her departure from her post as Ambassador of the United States of America in Uzbekistan. All members of the American Chamber of Commerce were invited to the event, as well as representatives from several embassies. These included the Ambassador of Hungary, Switzerland, the EU, as well as members of the Latvian and French embassies. In addition, several non-member companies, such as Microsoft, Mars and Artishok, also attended the Monthly Meeting.
The event began with a short introductory speech by Hugo Minderhould, President of AmCham, during which he commended Mrs. Spratlen for having greatly improved diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and the United States. The US Ambassador then gave an eloquent speech that focused mainly on the current political and economic situation in the country. She made it clear that both sides were ready and willing to make progress, and that many progressive regulations were being promised by the Uzbek government. However, wanting to stay realistic with her expectations, she stressed that in order for desired changes to take place, both sides must follow through on their promises.
Mrs. Spratlen also talked about President Mirziyoyev’s visit to Washington, D.C., which she found to be a resounding success. The Ambassador stressed how “lots of firsts were made that day,” and that, given the political landscape in Uzbekistan five years ago, such a meeting between Presidents would have previously been unthinkable. Thus, the meeting in Washington was a testimony to how far Uzbek-American relations had improved in recent years. Mrs. Spratlen also acknowledged Uzbekistan’s efforts to join the AUCC, the Athletic Council, and most importantly, the WTO (World Trade Organization). Finally, she shared a quote from President Mirziyoyev himself, who stated that “the changes currently taking place in the government will be irreversible,” giving the US government and foreign businesses a guarantee that current improvements, which they relied on, were here to stay.
After her speech, a short Q & A was organized, during which the Director of Tashkent International School asked how the Uzbek and American governments were planning on developing Uzbekistan’s untapped human capital, especially in areas outside of Tashkent. Mrs. Spratlen responded by saying that she was unsure if this would be possible in the future, but that this subject had already been brought up during discussions, meaning that a solution to this issue is currently in its infancy.
The US Ambassador was then followed by Donald Nicholson II, Honorary President of AmCham, who extended his congratulations and also proposed some gifts to the Ambassador. The first was a memorial plaque from AmCham embedded in a wooden frame, which included hand carved designs on the edges. Mr. Nicholson also gave the Ambassador a painting of a wooden door inside Tashkent’s Old District. Loaded with symbolism and imagery, this painting was greatly appreciated by Her Excellency.
Finally, the event ended with a short cocktail party, during which attendees were given the opportunity to chat and share their thoughts on Mrs. Spratlen’s speech.