August 17, 2017

KRG Representative meets Kurdistani community and city officials in San Diego

San Diego, CA, USA (us.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman visited San Diego this week to meet with the local Kurdistani community and local officials, as well as to speak at the University of California – San Diego.

The Kurdish Community Center in San Diego organized a meeting to voice their concerns and to hear updates, particularly around the upcoming referendum on independence. After meeting with the KCC Board, Representative Abdul Rahman spoke at an event for nearly 250 members of the Kurdish community. She said that, ‘An independent Kurdistan will be a guarantor of our future. We want our future to be better than our past.’ She also said that the diaspora will be able to vote electronically in the referendum.

Representative Abdul Rahman visited the city hall of San Diego to meet with Joel Day, Executive Director of the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission and International Affairs Board, Nancy Gudino, Deputy Director of Government Relations and International Affairs, and others. They discussed building ties between San Diego and the Kurdistan Region, focusing on a partnership agreement between San Diego and Erbil to foster economic, cultural, educational, and trade ties. They also discussed significant Kurdish events and anniversaries that the mayor’s office should take note of, including Newroz and the Halabja genocide.

The Mayor of El Cajon Bill Wells welcomed Representative Abdul Rahman to his city, which is where the majority of diaspora Kurds in the San Diego area live. The meeting focused on strengthening ties between the Kurdish community in El Cajon and the Mayor’s office to address the concerns of the community. They exchanged views on how to engage the Mayor’s office in Kurdish community events and cultural programs tailored to the Kurdish community. The mayor expressed interest in welcoming some representatives of the Kurdish community in that regard.

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Director of International Issues Kenia Zamarripa met with Representative Abdul Rahman to discuss greater trade ties between the San Diego and the Kurdistan Region, in particular how to leverage the local Kurdistani community to enhance relations.

The Representative spoke at the University of California – San Diego about the history of Kurdistan, the KRG’s role in the Middle East, and the future of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. She said that, ‘Kurdistan is a partner to the United States. I confidently can say that our ties with the US are stronger than ever before.’

Regarding the future of Kurdistan in Iraq, she spoke about the upcoming independence referendum and said, ‘We have not been able to live together with Iraq in harmony. I genuinely believe we can be very good neighbors as equal partners.’ She added, ‘We want to be independent to provide a better future for all people in Kurdistan.’

It was Representative Abdul Rahman’s second visit to San Diego as Representative to the United States.
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