To celebrate Earth Day the U.S. Embassy in conjunction with Tashkent city officials organized a cleanup of the Seattle Peace Park in Tashkent on April 22. More than 50 volunteers, including Ambassador Pamela Spratlen, Embassy staff and their families, alumni of U.S. government programs, and officials from the Hokimiyat (municipality) of Tashkent gathered at the Seattle Peace Park for the cleanup. The Embassy provided equipment, including rakes, shovels, brooms, and a truck to remove debris. Participants were able to see the results of their hard work immediately — in less than three hours volunteers managed to clean fountains, gather trash and even paint benches, leaving the park looking pristine.
Uzbeks traditionally celebrate the beginning of spring as a time when nature is reborn, and it is an Uzbek tradition to get outside and clean up their communities each year. Officials from the Tashkent Hokimiyat highlighted the significance of this cleanup to help beautify Tashkent and strengthen the Seattle Tashkent Sister City relationship. In a nice turn of history, one of the embassy’s local guards (shown standing next to the ambassador) brought in a certificate of appreciation he received in 1989 for his activities at the Park long ago.
The Seattle Peace Park is located in the center of Tashkent and covers a territory of 1.5 acres. The Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association along with Peace Corps Volunteers created the park in 1988, decorating it with a fountain, a mosaic map of the world, a striking sculpture by a Seattle-based artist, and many decorative and unique tiles designed especially for the park by Seattle and Tashkent residents.