Culture, Education, Science and Sport
Uzbek-British cultural relations are the most dynamic and growing area of bilateral cooperation, which confirms the existence of deep historic ties and increasing mutual interest between the two nations. Such institutions as the Fund «Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan», British Council, the British-Uzbek Society, the British Kurash Association and others actively promote the development of relations in this area.
Special role belongs to the ties in education. In 2002, with the assistance of the United Kingdom, there was established Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT), which has become one of the most prestigious universities in the country. It became the first and still the only university opened abroad with the assistance of the University of Westminster in London.
On 17 July 2003 the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Education and Skills of the United Kingdom was signed.
In 2004 the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Tashkent Islamic University and the Cambridge Forum for Central Asia, established at Cambridge University. This Forum in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan organized an international physics conference in Khorezm Academy of Mamun in September 2007 with participation of more than 100 leading scientists from all around the world. The Forum also implements a number of research projects in collaboration with the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan in anthropology, biology and solar energy fields.
The «Amantaytau Goldfields/Oxus» Scholarship Foundation was established last year. Its inauguration ceremony was held on 26 June 2008 at the Embassy of Uzbekistan with the participation of the official patron of the Foundation, HRH Prince Michael of Kent. The Foundation intends to allocate grants to young students of Navoi region of Uzbekistan for their education at WIUT, as well as to open the English Language Center for students and training of local teachers in Zarafshan city.
26 - 29 October 2006, Chairman and Executive Director of the British Council Mr. Martin Davidson made an official visit to Uzbekistan. During the visit there were organized his meetings with Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Dr. Rustam Kasymov, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Vladimir Norov, Minister of Higher and Secondary Special Education Mr. A.Parpiev, Minister of Public Education Mr. G.Shoumarov and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fund «Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan» Dr. Gulnara Karimova. During these meetings number of issues related to the state and prospects of bilateral cooperation in education, science and culture were discussed.
During the visit, the Memorandum of Understanding between the British Council and the Fund «Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan» was signed. The memorandum envisages further deepening of bilateral cooperation in education, culture and art towards year 2011. Among previous joint events of these two organizations are the following:
- international project «New Silk Road and the Fashion Fringe», realized in 2007 and intended to promote cooperation of young designers and promote the cultures of countries of the Silk Road and United Kingdom;
- range of events in framework of large-scale exhibition «Colours of the Silk Road: Suzani Embroideries from Uzbekistan», held by Burrell Collection in Glasgow (Scotland) from 19 June 2008 to 4 January 2009;
- participation of Uzbek ensemble of national musical instruments «Ofarin» in the Festival of Asian Culture «Mela» in Glasgow on 20-22 June 2008.;
- photo exhibition «Uzbekistan - in the eyes of children» at the Royal College of Art in London on 3-7 October 2008.
An important role in the development of cultural ties is played by the British-Uzbek Society, which is chaired by Dr. Hartley Booth. The Society is actively involved in events of the Embassy, providing consultative and sponsorship assistance. Among our recent joint activities can be emphasized Photo Exhibition «Uzbekistan: Past and Present, Places and Faces». Meetings of the Society are held regularly with participation of members of its Executive Board.
Islam Karimov International Kurash (traditional Uzbek marshal art) tournaments are organized in Britain by the British Kurash Association and became traditional with the participation of more than 150 athletes from Europe and Asia. 7th International Kurash Tournament was held in Dartford in February 2007.
National Team of Uzbekistan in cycling participated in the International World Championship of cycling on the track in Manchester on 26-30 March 2008, where 460 athletes from 68 countries around the world competed. 25 British athletes have participated in the 3rd World Championship of veterans and the 8th World Youth Championship on Taekwon-do on 17-21 September 2008 in Tashkent.
13-14 March 2008 the Embassy of Uzbekistan organized a national stand at the 49th International Spring Fair in London held by the International Social Service of the United Kingdom (ISS UK) in Kensington Town Hall.
In March and November 2008 the Embassy assisted Mrs. Nakako Watanabe to hold two concerts of young musicians from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries named «Equipes de Sogdiana» at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Uzbekistan was represented by three pianists - brothers Nuron and Naufal Mukumy, and Ms. Nafis Umarkulova. They are graduates of the Uspenskiy Special Music School in Tashkent. Now they study at the Royal Academy of Music and in Purcell School of Music. They successfully performed in several cities in Europe, USA and Russia.