Soviet Armenia, 1988.  A Seattle lawyer with a passion for international relations leads an earthquake relief team behind the Iron Curtain. Many of his colleagues think Gary Furlong is nuts, even before he takes his 55 volunteers across the Soviet border without visas. 

News of the team’s search & rescue and emergency medical relief work crosses the Caspian Sea. 1500 miles east, diplomats in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, get word of this unusual American leader. 

Consul General Furlong with Former Soviet Union Spokesman Vladimir Pozner

Two months later, Gary returns behind the Iron Curtain, this time to meet officials in the Uzbek Capitol, helping to expand the most successful US-Soviet Sister-City alliance, between Tashkent and Seattle, begun in 1973. 

Elected President of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association in 1993, Furlong for ten years leads delegation after delegation to Uzbekistan, creating dialog on the rule of law, medicine, democracy, education, performing arts, banking, airline production, investment, tourism and mass media. 

Other Central Asian countries have followed suit, pushing the Seattle attorney to stretch his diplomatic ability as far as Russia. This year he led a Seattle team to three central Asian countries on a US State Department-funded global warming study, and still had time to become a founding member of the Consular Chamber of Commerce. 

Gary Furlong was confirmed as Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan to the Western United States in 2002. His story is American. His life, stranger than fiction. He’s about to make his first official consular visit to Las Vegas, and we are thrilled to have him attending Cocktails with the Consuls on December 8th.

Read the story of Consul General Furlong’s wild ride in and out of Soviet Armenia in the authorized book exerpt (.pfd).