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Mon, 02/01/2010

Tajikistani visitors meet with professionals from the Oregon argi-business community

News | Education

During a volunteer activity at the Oregon Food Bank, while sporting a white hairnet, gloves and a plastic apron, Bakhovadin Kuzibaev, a farmer from Tajikistan, cheered on his team: “we’ll pack twice as much pasta as everyone else!” Bakhovadin, one of 10 visitors from Tajikistan, was here last month as part of a Community Connections program on small and medium enterprise development with a focus on agri-business. The participants included professionals and special representatives in agriculture and agribusiness. For three weeks the participants exemplified Bakhovadin’s pasta-packing can-do attitude while meeting with over 30 professionals from non-profit, government, educational, and private sectors in Oregon.

The group started off their program at Portland State University with Professor Tom Gillpatrick then moved on to Beaverton where they enjoyed meeting Mayor Denny Doyle and Community Development Director Don Mazziotti. during the following weeks the group traveled throughout the area meeting with over 20 organizations from the U.S. Export Center to the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University Food Innovation Center, from the BizCenter to the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and Mercy Corps. discussing everything from marketing to loans and food processing, the organizational representatives provided the visitors with a variety of opportunities for learning and sharing. Site visits to local farmers and food producers like Bob’s Red Mill and Stumptown Coffee Roasters also provided the group with a unique Oregon perspective.

This program, funded by USAID and administered by World Learning, could not have been as wildly successful as it was without the generosity of the homestay hosts who opened their homes to the Tajikistani participants. “You will shine like stars in my memory” said Tolibjon Sharipov, of his host family, echoing the sentiments of the group. The host families were integral to introducing the Tajikistanis to American culture and everyday life. The Council would like to recognize how important host families were to the Tajikistanis’ positive experience in Oregon. A big thank you to: Gordy Allen and Janice Stewart, Kris Alman and Mike Siegel (and Leah and Nathan), Lisa and Skip Comer, Cynthia Edwards, Kathy Faust, Esther and Norman Freeman, Mark Greenfield and Jane Hartline, Gretchen Marble (and York), Sarah Newhall and david Pyle, Ann and Arny Pickar, Jaylen and Michael Schmitt (and Griffin and Gavin), Anna Sommo, Matthew Crampton and Jessa Harger, and Mardy and Hank Stevens.

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