Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 21
U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Cekuta and Mrs. Cekuta, accompanied by Mr. Galbala Gurbanov, Social-Political and Humanitarian Section Chief of the Khazar District Executive Authority, as well as Commander Jay Mihal and Major Stephen Garvin from the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation, visited the Yeni Gala IDP School, built with Embassy support in 2007, on February 21. During the visit, Ambassador and Mrs. Cekuta donated an “American Shelf,” a comprehensive collection of books that included world classics and children’s books in both English and Azerbaijani to the school library. The students performed several poems and songs and presented the Ambassador with an engraved stone to thank the Embassy for its support to the community.
In its ten years of existence, the Embassy’s support for the Yeni Gala School has improved the learning environment for more than 5,000 children by providing larger classrooms, modern equipment and healthier conditions in which to learn. This educational foundation will help IDP children build strong futures for themselves, their communities, and Azerbaijan.
The Yeni Gala School was the thirteenth school that the United States Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Assistance Program has helped construct in Azerbaijan. As part of the same program, the Embassy plans to support construction this year of a seventeenth school to benefit IDP children in Barda Guloglular Village. Since 1991, the U.S. has provided $1.3 billion in support of Azerbaijan. Since 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense has allocated over $5.5 million to fund 22 humanitarian assistance projects, including school construction and water projects, focused on improving the lives and livelihoods of IDP communities in Azerbaijan. In total, the United States has provided over $125 million in assistance to IDPs since 1991 in Azerbaijan.