Class Notes

San Diego’s Link to Azerbaijan

June 15, 2012

During a recent meeting at the San Diego Diplomacy Council, I was introduced to a San Diegan who spent many years working and traveling overseas. Did you grow up in San Diego? I asked. No, he said. Where? On the East Coast. Where? Massachusetts. Which college? Harvard. Which high school? Deerfield. Michael Grisdale was in the Class of 1957. The Diplomacy Council works with the State Department to bring emerging leaders to San Diego and in the Fall of 2007 physical education teachers from Azerbaijan visited our city. That started a four-year effort to link two neighborhoods and last October 18, Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego City Council formally recognized a Neighborhood Partnership between our Switzer Highland neighborhood in San Diego and the Nasimi District in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Officials from Azerbaijan traveled to San Diego to participate in the ceremony. The Consul General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, Elin Suleymanov, whom we worked with on this project, is the current Azerbaijan Ambassador to the U.S. His successor, Nasimi Aghayev, attended an Azerbaijan Republic Day reception in San Diego on May 31. Charles Reilly, Class of 1961, was among the more than 100 guests who attended the event at Cafe 21, the only Azerbaijan restaurant in San Diego.

Martin Kruming Class of 1961

Caption: Martin Kruming and his daughter, Meghann, a Smith College graduate, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Farid Musayev.

 Barbara Kruming (Azerbaijan T-shirt), Martin Kruming (Yankees T-shirt), Michael Grisdale (dark shirt) and Charles Reilly (checkered shirt) in front of San Diego Diplomacy Council ( offices in North Park neighborhood of San Diego. Photo by Hannah Maitlen of 30th Street Cafe.