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Ikramov Alisher Secretary General, National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO (Uzbekistan) In his presentation “The State Policy of tRepublic Of Uzbekistan in the Field of Intercultural Dialogue”, Mr. Ikramov initially described historical Uzbekistan that had a location at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, which contributed to its unique cultural heritage toward world civilization. Uzbeks have had traditional ideas of tolerance and respect for other cultures and languages, which led to peace, civil harmony, religious tolerance, and equal participation of various communities in modern Uzbekistan.
The efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan since its independence have focused on issues of spirituality (ma’naviyat), expansion of opportunities for citizens’ creativity and talents, and overall development of personality. The Government supports a number of policies for the promotion of spirituality, art, culture and enlightenment, reform of the cultural sector, and growth of its social and educational role. Moreover, along with the official institutions of culture and arts, other social structures such as foundations, associations, and centers have flourished that complement the work of public bodies.
Based on its rich and diverse heritage, the Government transformed the role of museums in the society as a center of knowledge and spirituality. The opportunity for development was initiated by the presidential decree “On Fundamental Improvement and Enhancement of Museums.” Several other government regulations also aim to ensure fruitful and spiritual enrichment among people. To date, there are more than 70 museums, different in nature, scope and activities that operate on the territory of the country.
Uzbekistan is one of the oldest cradles of the human civilization, where thousands of cultural monuments exist, including 2, architectural monuments, more than 2,700 archaeological monument and 1,800 monumental sites. The process of their development poses new challenges in the field of heritage protection where the Government policy states that material legacy can be understood only through the existing intangible and spiritual cultural landscape.
This is reflected in the new law “On the Protection and Use of Historical and Cultural Monuments”, which regulates all matters of preservation, restoration, conservation and use of cultural artifacts, and various forms of oral and spiritual heritage.
According to Mr. Ikramov, the Government also pays attention to the intangible cultural heritage such as performing arts and dance.
The Government encourages young and talented performers of traditional and contemporary arts through national contests where winners are given all necessary conditions for their future creative work and improvement of their performing skills. Furthermore, Ministry of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan is organizing every biennium “Sharq Taronalari” International Music Festival in Samarkand, annual open folk festivals in all regions of country, such as “Boysun Bahori” in Boysun, “Uzbekiston Vatanim Manim” annual contest in contemporary music and “Nihol” contemporary music contest among young artists. Public Foundation “Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan” organizes “Kelajak Ovozi” annual contests and master classes in various forms of arts among youth; the Union of Composers of Uzbekistan bi-annually organizes the Tashkent Festival of Symphonic Music; “Uzbeknavo” Association organizes annual contest on classical music “Ona Yurt Navolari”; the State Academic Opera and Ballet Grand Theatre organizes the Festival “Tashkent Spring”; and the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan organizes monthly thematic musical festivals with master-class workshops for young artists.
The creation of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan on September 27, 2004 by the presidential decree confirmed government’s commitment to the development and improvement of the cultural sphere. The Ministry focuses on the management of the spiritual sphere, conservation and sustainable development of rich and diverse cultural heritage, development of cultural exchange policy, and promotion of traditional cultural ties among peoples of Uzbekistan.
Djuraev Qodir Head of the Research Project, Institute for the Study of Civil Society (Uzbekistan) Mr. Djuraev’s narrative on the “Role of Education in the Development and Strengthening of Intercultural Dialogue in the Republic of Uzbekistan” began with the description of the Law on Education passed in 1997, which states that every citizen is guaranteed the right for education regardless of sex, language, age, race, national origin, creed, religion, social origin, occupation, social status, place of residence, or length of residence on the territory of the republic. In Uzbekistan, instruction at secondary schools is conducted in seven languages: Uzbek, Russian, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Turkmen. Moreover, schools gradually introduce the concept of multi-lingual education, which would allow students to be fluent in at least three languages and deeply familiarize themselves with other cultures.
Intercultural Dialogue is introduced and implemented in the curriculum of educational institutions at all levels. Several texts and materials were produced during the 2004-2006 period including:
Educational manuals “Odobnoma” (Basis of spirituality) for grades 1-4; “Tuyg’usi Vatan” (Sense of motherland) for grades 5-6;
and “Milliy istiqlol g’oyasi va ma’naviyat asoslari” (National idea and the basis of morality) for grades 7-9;
Textbook “History of World Religions” for nine classes at secondary schools;
Special course “Man, his rights, freedoms, and interests greatest value” was introduced in the curriculum at all educational institutions. In conjunction with this course, teachers at high schools and universities received special educational training; and Special educational course on the topic of “Fundamentals of spirituality and enlightenment in the fight against religious extremism and terrorism” was introduced in the curriculum at all educational institutions.
Moreover, textbooks in Uzbek language for students and teachers of secondary schools, professional colleges, and academic lyceums were published with the support of UNESCO.
In cooperation with UNESCO, Uzbekistan implemented innovative teaching methods in relevant curriculums towards the development of Intercultural Dialogue. The following institutions have been founded:
A network of 31 educational institutions (secondary schools, professional colleges and academic lyceums), whose representatives participate in summer training camps Ten UNESCO Chairs at institutions of higher education including three in the field of intercultural dialogue • UNESCO Chair on Human Rights, Democracy, Tolerance and International Understanding at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy • UNESCO Chair on Comparative Studies of World Religions at the Tashkent Islamic University • UNESCO Chair on Values and Civic Education at the Tashkent State Pedagogical University The Inter-University Center for the Study of Peace and Intercultural Understanding and the Center on Adult Education at the Academy of State and Public Construction Ten UNESCO public educational centers in rural areas of the country, which conduct training programs for local communities Issak kyzy Klara Program Specialist, Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris) Ms. Issak kyzy presented the First Festival on Cultural Diversity and Dialogue in Central Asia, which took place on May 25 – June 1, 2005 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, as an example of good practice. The Festival featured cultures of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The Festival included a series of events designed to illustrate commitment to the notion of reinforcing links between cultural diversity and dialogue. The national exhibitions of crafts and arts enabled visitors to appreciate the wealth of tangible and intangible heritage handed down from generation to generation. In addition to crafts and ancient artefacts from the collections of local museum, works of contemporary artists were exhibited. The exhibition presented ethnic, tribal, family, vocational, national, religious, regional and interethnic aspects of traditional art seen through its historical development.
Two concerts introduced more than 1,900 spectators to the music, instruments, songs, and dances of each country. Folk music was played on two levels, professional and popular, showing mutual influences each other. Folk musical instruments have undergone some modernization over the last few decades and their sounds were presented by solo artists. Folk songs reflected various themes including everyday life, work, traditions, and religious rituals while folk dancers in their bright national outfits interpreted these themes with their graceful movements.
Six designers participated in the fashion show mingling tradition and innovation to produce novel clothing. Their collections reflected the influence of traditional costumes, as seen through the use of silk fabrics or traditional embroidery, and resulted in a subtle combination of modern features with ancient traditions.
Movie evenings presented a varied, multi-faceted, and timeless program. Today’s Central Asian cinema drew inspiration from both their national and world cultures while focusing on the so-called “pure cinema” with complex visual and intellectual associations.
Various films addressed the roots of the nomadic life and reflected on postmodernism as related to the realities of today’s national and urban life.
The round table entitled Central Asia – the Crossroad of Cultures and Civilizations brought together historians of Central Asia, cultural specialists, officials, and UNESCO staff to debate topics related to cultural policies in Central Asia including:
• Culture as a tool for the promotion of dialogue, peace and social economic development in Central Asia • National cultural policies in Central Asia and globalisation process • Role of UNESCO in Central Asia as catalyst for cultural projects The Festival coincided with the celebration of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21) and the third session of the intergovernmental meeting of experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions; therefore, giving the opportunity for exhibitors and participants to interact with a large number of visitors from different countries.
Doron Aviva Chairholder, UNESCO Chair on Intercultural Dialogue, University of Haifa; Professor, Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of Haifa (Israel) In her presentation “Educating towards Acceptance of the ‘Other’ and Intercultural Dialogue”, Professor Doron discussed the challenges of educating towards cultural openness, pluralism and acceptance of the Other. She claimed that educators must “shake” people, shatter their prejudices and conventional outlooks, in order to open their hearts and minds to new ideas, and to reexamine their attitudes.