Turkistanian American Association Newsletter

Dear Members:

Welcome to the second edition of the TAA Newsletter. As we approach 2017, we reflect on 2016. This past year has been a rollercoaster year, full of ups and downs. Our community has welcomed new members with recent births and weddings, and experienced deep sorrow as we attended many funerals. The recent deaths in our community, especially of our youth, have reminded us of the crucial role social support plays in our society. The TAA is here to serve this purpose. However, we need everyone’s involvement and participation to bring this to fruition.

The TAA is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization. The events and activities are organized and provided by volunteers and sponsors. We ask you to volunteer your time, if you don’t have time, help by donating funds, if you don’t have funds, support us by your presence at events and activities; share your ideas. Recently, the TAA organized a youth night to provide a place for youth to mingle and share their ideas and interests. Although not many attended, the ones who did attend had some amazing ideas and are excited about implementing them. The ideas ranged from organizing community charity events to social gatherings. These young, bright minds provided us with a sense of pride and motivation to keep working to fulfill our purpose.

The TAA has a lot of fun and exciting activities planned for the coming year and we look forward to your involvement and support. We wish everyone a healthy, happy and peaceful 2017. Yengi yılıngız mübarek bolsun!


Best wishes,
M. Yuksel

TAA Events:

The Central Asian Republics & U.S. (C5+1) Joint Project Conference

c51The C5+1 is a platform that brings together the five states of Central Asia and the United States to discuss and work on issues of common concern. At the first C5+1 meeting, held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in November 2015, the six ministers of foreign affairs agreed to develop regional projects to improve security, promote economic connectivity, and work on climate change. At the second C5+1 meeting, held in Washington in August 2016, the six ministers agreed to launch five corresponding projects, which the United States plans to support with up to $15 million (pending congressional approval).

The TAA Board members, Abdullah Kwaja, Wahid Sabri, Gafur Abdulla, and Burhan Okuyan, were invited to attend the C5+1 meeting in the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.

In addition to formal talks, the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Central Asian republics was celebrated with folkdances, music, art and food from each country.

TAA Women’s Auxiliary Group (WAG)



TAA Women’s Auxiliary Group hosted a Ladies Tea Party on December 3, 2016. Complete with delicious food, fun music, prizes and games, the party was a total success. It was attended by many community members and supported by generous donations from local businesses. The TAA would like to thank the WAG and everyone who volunteered their time, donations and positive energy to make this a successful event.




Youth Night

youth-nightThe TAA hosted a Youth Night November 19, 2016 to gather ideas from the youth about what activities they would like to have at the TAA. The youth who attended had very creative ideas ranging from fundraising, community service, academic advising and entertainment. Fundraising activities included: soccer, volleyball, football, basketball, dodge ball, air hockey tournaments; color run; bake sale; car wash; raffles and babysitting. Community service included: clothing and food drives and volunteering at soup kitchens. Entertainment included: trips to theme parks, museums and entertainment venues; bowling night; game nights; gatherings at local restaurants; girls spa party, and video game competitions. The youth also requested the TAA organize study groups and offer tutoring, as well as language classes in Uzbek and ESL.

Elyas Khawaja, founder of New Wave Aquatics, was our special guest for the evening. He gave the youth a motivational talk about following their dreams, working hard and staying active members of the community. He talked about his experience in the TAA, as well as his work ethic and success as an entrepreneur. He was very inspirational and offered to help the TAA, especially the youth in any way he could. We were honored to have him and plan on inviting other professionals to talk to the youth about their field of expertise.

Thanksgiving Dinner for the Needy


The TAA sponsored and hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner on November 23, 2016 for the residents of the township of Dover, where the TAA building resides. Approximately 800 people, including the needy, senior citizens and servicemen, were served free Thanksgiving dinner. Mayor James Dodd and his staff came to show support and join in on the festivities. The TAA would like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers for their time and hard work. We truly lived the spirit of Thanksgiving by sharing with our neighbors and friends.



In the Spotlight

in-the-spotlightTAA member Elyas Khawaja is the founder and co-owner of New Wave Aquatics, an elite swim school that offers a unique style of teaching for children and adults of all ages. Currently, they have over 400 students in their intensive swim programs. Elyas always wanted to open his own company and explains that it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to start a successful small business. “When I was growing up I always envisioned having my own company. I just did not know it would happen so soon,” Elyas Khawaja said.

“I am 22 years old and things could not be any better. It definitely did not come overnight! The hard work, countless events I missed with friends and family, and all the other sacrifices I’ve made to have a successful small business and employ local people was all worth it,” he continued.  When asked about the future of New Wave Aquatics, Elyas said, “I plan to have my own building with a gigantic pool and training area.”

His clients include the children of the reality TV show Cake Boss, Nuts.com and the Minnesota Vikings football team. Cake Boss taped an episode of their show at New Wave Aquatics, which will be airing on TV soon.

New Wave Aquatics is located at 901 Route 10, Whippany. For more information call (973) 487-7917. The TAA wishes Elyas and his team continued success in their future. We look forward to seeing them flourish and inspire other youth to do the same.

In Memoriam

islam-karimovIslam Karimov, former President of Uzbekistan, passed away on September 2, 2016 at the age of 78. He was the first president of Uzbekistan since its independence on September 1, 1991. He was born in the Silk Road city of Samarkand on January 30, 1938. Orphaned as a child, he was raised in a state orphanage. He served the country for 27 years and provided stability for Uzbekistan. The cause of death was reported to be a stroke.

Abdulla Aripov, poet, author and statesman of Uzbekistan, died November 5, 2016 after a long illness. He is the author of the national anthem of Uzbekistan.  He published more than a dozen collection of poems, translated the works of Dante, Shevchenko and many other authors into the Uzbek language and served in Parliament. In 1998, he was awarded the title of hero of Uzbekistan.

Dr. Edward Allworth, leading scholar of Central Asian history in the world, died October 20, 2016. He was the founder of the first Central Asian Studies program in the U.S. He’s written numerous books such as Uzbek Literary Politics The Modern Uzbeks, and Central Asia: A Century of Russian Rule. He was very supportive of the TAA community and mentored many students.

In addition, we have lost many community members this year:

  • -Abdullah Cagatay
  • -Merhuma Mubarek Ture Mansur
  • -Faruk Bilgin
  • -Yasemin Salim
  • -Kemal Tashkent (former president of the TAA)
  • -Safiya Abdul Haq

We send our sincere condolences and prayers to their family and friends.

New President of Uzbekistan:

Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected the new President of Uzbekistan on December 4, 2016. We congratulate President elect Mirziyoyev and wish the new administration success in the coming years.

Letter from Gov. Christie

On the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Uzbekistan, N.J. Governor Chris Christie sent the TAA this congratulatory letter:


New Year’s Eve Party

The TAA will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party on December 31st at 7 pm. It’s guaranteed to be a fun filled evening with traditional food, eclectic music, prizes and games for the kids. The TAA wishes everyone a prosperous, peaceful and happy 2017!!!

On-going events at the TAA:

– Friday prayers are held every Friday at 1 pm.
– Ethics classes held every Saturday morning at 10 am.
– A social or gashtak for men is held last Saturday of each month


TAA Newsletter Submissions

If you would like to include your wedding, engagement, birth, graduation or other news in the TAA newsletter, or if you have suggestions, please email them to: taasuggestionbox@gmail.com

TAA Building Fund

Please keep in mind that your generous donations are what keeps our association active and alive!  We are fortunate to be the only Central Asian association that owns a building in the U.S. However, there are many essential financial obligations in order to keep our building functioning. Therefore, every contribution counts and makes a difference. You can now make your tax deductible contributions online via the TAA website at: www.turkistanamerican.org/donate

We will email you a tax deductible receipt.

We would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous donations to the TAA Ladies Tea Party:

  • -Sultan Market
  • -Taskin Bakery
  • -Fasil Restuarant
  • -Kabab Paradise
  • -Bosphorus Restaurant
  • -Valentino’s Pizza
  • -Juniors Pizza in Oakland & Boonton
  • -Villa Pizza
  • -Tabor Pizza
  • -Bella Pizza
  • -Drem Salon
  • -F&S Fabric Store
  • -Landmark Consulting LLC
  • -Elegant Touch
  • -Speedy Transport
  • -House of Sparkle

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