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Uzbekistan – the Crossroad of Cultures

 

Over the centuries, ancient and prosperous land of Uzbekistan hosted representatives of different ethnic groups, cultures and regions. Hospitality, kindness, generosity and a true tolerance have always been distinct traits of Uzbek nation and its mentality.

Nowadays, representatives of more than 130 nations and ethnic groups coexist as a one family in Uzbekistan. They work with great dedication in all areas.

Serik Usenov, Chairman of Republican Kazakh Cultural Center

“Tolerance for Uzbekistan is the value inherited from ancestors. It is our common duty to protect and preserve this priceless legacy. Uzbeks are ancient nation that always shares bread it and says: “Welcome!”. All of us, living in a diversified country, have the same rights and duties. All of us, regardless of our nationality, live in Uzbekistan in peace and harmony.”

Notably, over 100 activists of national cultural centers received different medals and awards of the Republic of Uzbekistan. More than 10 representatives of various nationalities were awarded the title “Hero of Uzbekistan”.

The constitution of Uzbekistan and its law state that all citizens, regardless of their nationality, language and religion have equal rights and freedoms. They are granted necessary opportunities for preserving and enriching their ethnic culture, traditions and customs. State universities and institutions run their educational curriculum in 7 languages; National TV Radio Company broadcasts in 12 languages. Local newspapers and magazines are printed in more than 10 languages.

16 religious confessions carry out their activities in the country. “Enlightenment and religious tolerance” resolution put forward by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in September 2017, in New York is a bright example of Uzbekistan’ commitment to human rights, principles of tolerance and friendship. This initiative was supported by international community that acknowledged its essence and in December 2018 unanimously adopted the resolution during the UN General Assembly session. The document strives to reaffirm religious tolerance and mutual respect, ensure religious freedom, protect the rights of religious devotee, protect their faith and prevent discrimination.

Viktor Pak, Chairman of Association of Korean Cultural Centers of Uzbekistan

“Koreans arrived to Uzbekistan more than 80 years. Around 200 thousand Koreans live in this country. They consider it a homeland. Some of my closest friends are Uzbeks. They wouldn’t start an evening meal without Korean salad “kim-chi”. In our family, cooking palov once a week has become a tradition. And this is for no reason. We love Uzbek bread and milk. We, Koreans, live in peace and understanding with all compatriots.:

141 national cultural centers play a significant role in embracing ethnic diversity and further harmonization of interethnic relations. Through developing cultural identity, language, folk crafts, they make a contribution to enriching cultural presence and strengthening one, multicultural family spirit.

Committee on Interethnic Relations and Friendship Cooperation with Foreign Countries under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan coordinates the work of cultural centers, provides practical assistance.

Bright events carried out across all regions of the country add a deeper meaning to cultural and social life of the Republic. It strengths tolerance and good-neighborliness spirit between all representatives of nations and ethnic groups living in Uzbekistan.

This all speaks of a unique and effective system of non-government organizations in the area of multinational relations. A range of activities held by the centers contribute to peaceful and prosperous living in the Republic, addressing significant cultural and education tasks and developing cooperation with foreign countries.

As per initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a unique building located on Babur street handed over to the Committee on Interethnic Relations and Friendship Cooperation with Foreign Countries. The building has become a Palace of Friendship and Culture. A park next to this building that hosts a number of cultural events renamed to “Friendship Park”.

National cultural centers are also committed to developing members’ cultural and humanitarian relations with their ancestry.

Vladimir Boyko, Chairperson of the Republican Ukrainian Cultural Center “Slavutich”

“In close collaboration with the Writers Union of Uzbekistan, the Embassy of Ukraine in Uzbekistan and Committee on Interethnic Relations and Friendship Cooperation with Foreign Countries we translated the works of eminent Ukrainian poets and writers into Uzbek language to introduce them to local readers. At the same time, we encourage Ukrainian diaspora to immerse themselves in cultural legacy of our homeland, Uzbekistan.”

Annually, representatives of all nations and ethnic groups celebrate a national holiday “Nowruz”, Russian “Maslenitsa”, Bulgarian “Martenitsa”, Armenian “Vardavar”, Polish “Dožínky”, Korean “Chuseok”, Tatar and Bashkir “Sabantuy”, Greek “Ohi Day”, Chinese New Year and other national holidays.

Uzbekistan implements the program on promoting cultural identity, folk crafts, traditions and customs of ethnic groups living in the country among the general public. The best concert venues, stages of theaters, exhibition halls of the country are provided for these occasions.

Social life of Uzbekistan is a proof that justice ensured in interethnic relations.

For example, the village of Manas in the Dustlik district of the Jizzakh region was the first settlement that was completely reconstructed in Uzbekistan under the program “Prosperous Villages”. The village inhabited with ethnic Kyrgyz group was transformed into a modern town with all amenities within 45 days.

New residential houses are being built in Jizzakh region. Particularly, gypsy community living in this area also feel positive changes and move to new houses.

More than 35 hectares of land and 780 new houses for 3,200 people were allocated in the makhallas of Altynkul and Almazar in the Pakhtakor region. Currently, renovation works of new villages are at its final stage. They comprise two sewing workshops to ensure women employment, including for representatives of gypsy community.

Maftuna Tohtamisheva, seamstress

“We used to live in old barracks. But we have been provided with good living conditions. My family, for instance, moved in a house comprising three rooms. I work in this sewing factory throughout the week and take care of house and my son during the weekend.”

Infrastructure development is yet another area. Thus, this village is supplied with more than 10 kilometers of roads, 8 kilometers of electricity and 3 kilometers of water supply networks. It also has a school and preschool educational institutions. The state allocated 150 billion soums for these purposes.

Radabboy Ravshanov, veteran

“We, gypsies, didn’t have any amenities for living. Today, we have paved road, flowers and spruces; a lot of changes are happening around. Makhalla committee has a new building; a kindergarten is on the way. I was provided with six houses for six of my children. Constructions works are soon to end.”

Literacy courses were organized for some of the gypsy children who did not attend the school for various reasons. Thus, the gypsies who began to settle in the Jizzakh desert in the 1960s became equal citizens of the multinational country.

A person who loves its nation and people, respects representatives of other ethnic groups. A right course taken by the leader of the Republic displayed in the peace and tolerance for the world preached by the people of Uzbekistan.

“Dunyo” Information Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, 2020

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