News: Deployed Airmen participate in Kyrgyz Philharmonic
By Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- In honor of the centennial anniversary of International Women's Day, the Congress of Women of the Kyrgyz Republic hosted 25 U.S. Air Force service members, Feb. 25, at a concert at the Philharmonic in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The Transit Center at Manas Airmen contributed to the three-hour event by singing "America the Beautiful" with an accompanying guitar, and Col. Blaine Holt, director of the Transit Center at Manas, greeted attending locals with words of appreciation in their local language.
"We cordially congratulate all the women with the International Women's Day - the 8th of March!" Holt began, in Kyrgyz. "We, the Transit Center, are very happy to cooperate successfully with you."
Today, Kyrgyzstan has the highest percentage of women in Parliament in all of Central Asia. It was also the first Commonwealth of Independent States* country to adopt a law on gender equality.
In the last decade, the Congress of Women of Kyrgyz Republic has "concretely accented on the development of women entrepreneurship," according to the official CWKR web site, www.idisc.net. Previously, women in this country battled poverty and unemployment, and owning a business was almost impossible for a female.
The Transit Center and U.S. government entities in Kyrgyzstan, including the U.S. embassy, support the Congress of Women heavily. Most recently, the CWKR opened a handcrafts store on the installation here so that local women can market their wares to military members stationed and transiting through here.
"Congress of Women of Kyrgyzstan's contribution in the progress of Kyrgyzstan is great," Holt said. "We wish you good health, long life, happiness and great success in your work and achievements."
The evening was a tribute to the beauty, character, strength, resourcefulness, and indomitable spirit of women. The Kyrgyz Congress of Women, which helped organize the event, ended the evening with gifts, presentations, and awards. The entire concert hall joined hands to demonstrate unity and peace, and participants repeated the word "peace" in every language represented in the room: Spanish, French, Russian, English, Kyrgyz, Dutch, German, Chinese, and many more.
"We wish happiness, prosperity and welfare to your families," Holt said. "We wish peace to both of our nations!"