Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
The Republic of Uzbekistan’s cultural diplomacy stands for dialogue between people, countries, and civilizations. It is complete education: the more you learn about the culture of other people, the more you understand them. It promotes mutual understanding which allows solving any problems that may occur. It is such an important asset for communication between people.
Basics of Cultural Diplomacy
Uzbekistan’s cultural diplomacy is now an increasingly important component of its diplomatic efforts nowadays. Isar (2009), values the importance of cultural diplomacy which is one of the important and central aspect of new public diplomacy is cultural diplomacy, i.e. the use of a country’s culture to reach out to foreign audiences and to project a positive image in the international arena.
Main Component of Foreign Policy
The Republic of Uzbekistan has been projecting its rich cultures, heritages, traditions and values on different national, regional and international forums. It has been one of the main components of its progressive foreign policy. It has already enhanced its global reach and pace of bilateral relations within and outside the region. Moreover, Finn (2003) rates cultural diplomacy as one of the main components of foreign policy.
In tumultuous times, Uzbekistan cultural diplomacy also stands for hope, courage, cooperation, sharing and light. Ivey (2008) speaks about the role of cultural diplomacy and Uzbekistan’s cultural diplomacy is a way to think about problems differently; it is a way to find solutions to complex problems in a way in which enlarge the number of people that are made happy by those solutions. Its cultural diplomacy enlarges the things that make its people more human and gives it a better understanding of others. And we can create wealth without destroying wealth.
Strategic Importance of Cultural Diplomacy
We are living in the web of uncertainties because of rapidly emerging socio-economic barriers, geo-political bargains and the last but not the least geo-strategic bisects. In the era of confusions, conflicts and conspiracies diplomatic means play a crucial role in a country’s efforts to achieve political goals, further strengthening of bilateral relations, greater socio-economic integration, and sustainable commercial diplomacy and to promote its image in the international arena. No democratic country and emerging market rely solely on military and economic means in its interactions with other countries. Rather, all maintain Ministries of Foreign Affairs whose goal it is to interact with other countries via diplomatic channels.
According to Cull (2008), over the past decade governments around the globe have increasingly paid attention to the practice of cultural diplomacy. Furthermore combining cultural diplomacy with the concept of soft power after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in the USA, have vitalized the field. Dawn of technological revolution in communication and information has led to the globalization of electronic communication and journalism, and has contributed to a significant growth in the number of media consumers worldwide. Now, a country’s status in the international community is determined not only by military and economic power, but by a nation or leader’s image, values and control of information flow as well.
Era of New Thinking
Commonwealth Foundation (2008) shares that Uzbekistan cultural diplomacy has already successfully promoted a new thinking, based on knowledge of each other, to gather people from different cultures and generations, professional backgrounds and civilizations, to meet, not only in the virtual world of the “Net”, but as real people with their individual thoughts and values. Its cultural diplomacy has diversity which creates new tools for a new way of political action, promoting contacts between generations, nations and continents.
Fostering of Mutual Understanding
Cummings, (2003) upholds that cultural diplomacy is the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples to foster mutual understanding”. It includes exchanges between people in different countries, through which individuals are able to visit foreign countries and learn about the culture and society of the foreign country. It encourages study of another country’s language, traditions, and lifestyle.
Hearts to Hearts
Uzbekistan has been using the tool of cultural diplomacy to win the hearts and souls of the unlimited tourists, visitors and officials at large. Keeping in view complexity associated with the multidimensional aspects of culture, cultural diplomacy may also include literature, the arts in general, customs, habits and traditions, humans’ behavior, history, music, folklore, gestures, and social relationships.
Soft Power & Image
Cultural diplomacy plays a crucial role in building relations among states in contemporary international relations, as it might serve as an effective instrument in supporting national foreign policy objectives or a constructive channel at times of political difficulty. Cultural diplomacy further mobilizes the soft power image of a country.
Nye (2004) says that soft power “rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others”. He stipulates that “the soft power of a country rests primarily on three sources: its culture, its political values and its foreign policies. By enabling a country to expose people of other nationalities to its culture, society, and people and by increasing personal connections between people of different countries, cultural diplomacy enables a country to make its political ideals and policies more attractive in the eyes of foreign audiences.
Showcasing of Splendid Past through Cultural Diplomacy
Right from the beginning, Uzbekistan’s government under the immaculate leadership of his President H.E. Islam Karimov has been showcasing its splendid past in order to make bridges of better understandings, dialogues and conflict resolutions in the world.
Feigenbaum (2001), is of the opinion that when a country’s culture includes universal values and interests other share, it increases the probability of obtaining its desired outcomes because of the relationship of attraction and duty that it creates.
Cultural diplomacy is essentially a two-way communications process that involves efforts to promote a nation’s image and values amongst other foreign audiences as well as to try to understand the culture, values, and images of other countries and their people. Cultural diplomacy is a means through which governments can increase respect and understanding of themselves amongst other countries in the world.
Cultural Diplomacy: Need of the Hour
It has multiplier effects on civility, politics and above all economics. It creates forums for interaction between people of different countries, thus laying the groundwork for the forging of friendships and strong connections between people of different nationalities. It helps create a foundation of trust with other peoples. Decision makers can build on this trust to create political, economic, and military agreements. Uzbekistan is now an ideal destination for the world tourists which it achieved through rigorous cultural diplomacy.
Further, it can succeed in reaching influential members of foreign societies who cannot be reached through traditional embassy functions. For instance, cultural diplomacy programs expose businessmen and investors to the economy, society, and people of another country, which may result in these individuals making significant economic investments.
Different Case Studies
(a) France & Germany: Enmity turned into Friendship
According to Council of Europe (2001), cultural diplomacy played a key role in creating peaceful relations between two enemy countries i.e. France and Germany. Though today France and Germany enjoy good relations, their pasts have been rife with conflict, bloodshed, and war for so many years. France and Germany were remained fierce enemies, engaged in wars and violent conflicts in the past. The close relationship between the two countries can be attributed mainly to the signing of the Élysée Treaty on January 22, 1963. It provided the two governments to recognize the vital importance that knowledge of each other’s language in each of the two countries holds for Franco-German cooperation. Further, the treaty emphasized the importance of cultural exchanges between the two countries. It promoted people-to-people contacts which ultimately cemented mutual cooperation. Collective exchanges were increased. The treaty provided the opportunity to establish a joint Franco-German fund to be used for exchanges of school children, students, young artisans and workers between the two countries. Ever since the signing of the treaty, cultural diplomacy in Germany has been considered a top priority. The Department of Cultural Affairs is a branch of the Foreign Ministry and receives the largest share of its budget. France too, treats its cultural diplomacy programs as a top priority.
(b) Great Britain & China: From Isolation to Greater Integration
Zhang (2010) says that cultural diplomacy keeps doors open in difficult times, as there are numbers of cases where cultural diplomacy provides a safe and constructive forum for relationship-building or easing relations when they are strained. For instance, in 2005 London’s Royal Academy of Arts collaborated with the Palace Museum in Beijing to open an exhibition on China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795, which not only attracted many attention of the British public on Chinese culture but also provided an appropriate setting for the visit of the Chinese president Hu Jintao to open the exhibition alongside the Queen.
(c) UK & Iran: From Conflict to Dialogue
DeVries (2009), on the other hand, at times of tension, when formal diplomatic negotiations are incapable, culture can ‘keep doors open’ until the relations improve. For example, when the UK-Iran bilateral relations were strained due to the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, British cultural institutions were able to continue operating in Iran, the British Council appeared to be more trustful on the part of Iran rather than the BBC, and thereby keeping open doors between the two countries. As one former British diplomat in Iran put it “our cultural institutions certainly have more access to the wheels of power than the UK’s ambassador does at the moment.
(d) Nowruz: Dancing between Cultures
Uzbekistan’s Nowruz is a Harbinger of cultural diplomacy which showcases its rich diversified culture, tradition, heritage and people. It abridged confusions and solved confrontations among people and promotes better mutual understanding.
(e) European Union & Spain: Global Reach to Latin America
According to European Union (2006), today European Union (EU) has over 2,000 cultural institutions abroad. Of the new players, Spain is the strongest, over the past 20 years, 77 Institutions Cervantes have been opened in 44 countries. In the fierce competition for a second foreign language, and thanks in part to support from pop culture, Spanish has triumphed and has thereby risen to a new level. In addition, in its foreign cultural policy Spain takes the role of a bridge to Latin America, making the country a strong competitor for Germany. Uzbekistan is also very active in cultural diplomacy.
Cultural Diplomacy and Uzbekistan: Land of Human Wisdom, Research and Humanity
From centuries the Republic of Uzbekistan has been spreading light of knowledge, wisdom, research, logic and above all humanity in the every corner of the world. It is the sacred land of so many dignified personalities who changed the course of human history and civilization.
Use of Cultural Diplomacy to Showcase Ancestors Precious Services
Uzbekistan ancestors are the pioneers of universal intellect and human wisdom which was successfully and splendidly showcased in the recently held international conference titled “Historical Legacy of Scientists and Thinkers of the Mediaeval East, Its Role and Significance for the Modern Civilization” in Samarkand on 15-16 May 2014. It was held in accordance with the resolution of President Islam Karimov signed April 2014.
Prominent scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, South Korea, Germany, Japan, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and, heads of eminent international organizations, professors of higher education institutions, specialists of research centers and institutes, experts attend the said international conference.
Uzbekistan’s National Pride Campaign through Cultural Diplomacy
While arranging this international conference Uzbekistan took pride in its remarkable thinkers and scholars who delighted the whole world such as Muhammad Musa al-Khorezmi who was the first in the world to introduce decimal notation into science and the notions of algorithm and algebra, the encyclopedic scientists Ahmad al-Ferghani and Abu Rayhan Beruni, founder of the medical science Abu Ali ibn Sino, Mahmud Zamakhshari who created the perfect grammar of the Arabic language, the author of the astronomical table with the indication of movement of more than a thousand stars Mirzo Ulughbek and so forth. Participants were inspired by Uzbekistan’s infinite pride for its forefathers and live with a sense of high dignity and to be on the equal with others in terms of knowledge and abilities to be worthy descendants of these truly great people.
Main Areas of Discussion
The participants thoroughly discussed and exchanged views and expertise on issues concerning the scientific, historical and philosophical heritage of the academics and thinkers of the medieval East, their immense contribution to the formation and development of astronomy, mathematics, geography, geodesy, medicine, pharmacology, chemistry, mineralogy and other sciences.
Demonstration of Virtual Reality
Many informative documentaries were televised during the said conference, narrating the life and creativity of scholars and thinkers of the medieval Orient, their historical legacy and the activities of academic schools. The event participants were briefed about the historical, academic and cultural monuments of Samarkand, the creative and beautification works carried out during the independence years, as well as the activities of education institutions. Different interactive sessions of classic ancient music were staged. Exhibitions of historical paintings and calligraphies and visits of different museums and religious shrines were also arranged during the said conference.
Global Integration and Land of Great Ancestors
While using the mobile, remember, there is an Uzbekistan’s ancestor in the Mobile, said by a BBC documentary televised during the conference amazed by every participant.
The great contribution of Uzbek ancestors to the development of world civilization is known to the whole world today. They are great scientists, philosophers, thinkers, religious leaders, commanders and rulers too. They influenced the world by their genuinely inbuilt qualities of knowledge, wisdom, observation, administration and message.
Uzbekistan great scientists, philosophers, thinkers, religious leaders, commanders and rulers are the pioneers of so many disciplines of the today modern world which are not confined to natural science, pure science, medical science, biology, chemistry, physics, space science, travelogue, infrastructure engineering, governance and the last but not the least diplomacy.
The modern civilization is based on knowledge economy, corporate governance, dialogue, conflict resolution, respect for the international law, humanity and tolerance and Uzbekistan’s ancestors have been purified the minds and souls of so many unlimited generations and civilizations and infinite voyage goes on and on.
Vision of H.E. President Islam Karimov
Right from the beginning the government of the Uzbekistan under the supervision of its President Islam Karimov paid great attention to showcase its colossal spiritual heritage. International scientific and cultural cooperation has been launched in Uzbekistan. From time to time major academic conferences have been held to further these goals. Jubilees of outstanding scholars and thinkers as well as ancient cities have been celebrated at the international scale. Religious shrines have been glorified, restored and beautified. Special emphasis has been placed on the reinvigoration and perpetuation of the national spiritual legacy and the promotion of science and education.
Uzbekistan: Land of Ancient Hospitality and Modern Cultural Diplomacy
Uzbekistan is strategically located at the crossroads of diverse civilizations on the Great Silk Road that links the East and West, it has been renowned from time immemorial for its great scientists and thinkers. They have made invaluable input into the evolution of the world civilization.
Uzbekistan the Land of Genuine Thoughts
Uzbekistan the land of genuine thoughts and boundless genius of marvelous ancestors, the many thousands of works, the unique manuscripts in history, literature, arts, ethics, philosophy, medicine, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, architecture and other areas constitute a priceless spiritual wealth of its people and the world at large.
Cultural Diplomacy through Scientific Legacy
Notably, reports presented at said international conference included those on the influence of the scientific legacy of Al-Khorezmi on the architecture and epigraphy art of the Temurid epoch, on Abu Raihon Beruni and the origins of the idea of geodynamics in geology, the discoveries of Ahmad Al-Ferghani in hydrology, the academic legacy of Ibn Sino and his role in the development of medicine and pharmaceutics, the merit of Mahmud Zamakhshari in the field of linguistics, the contribution of Mirzo Ulugbek and the academic school instituted by him to promote mathematics and astronomy, the significance of the works by Alisher Navoi and Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur in the evolution of world literature and culture.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the international conference “The Historical Legacy of Scientists and Thinkers of the Medieval East, Its Role and Significance for the Modern Civilization”. First of he welcomed all the esteemed guests, heads and representatives of prominent international organizations and institutions, scientific and research centers, universities and other higher education institutions, renowned scholars and specialists.
Samarkand: A place of Crossroad of Civilizations and Cultures of Peoples
He highlighted importance of the said conference and Samarkand too. It has been famous for its rich history and heritage for three thousand and remained a crossroad of civilizations and cultures of peoples, he added.
He projected the everlasting beauty of Samarkand widely known in various corners of the planet as a majestic city with an inimitable Eastern flavor, the richest history and the surviving extraordinary and amazing monuments of the past. Like Rome, Samarkand an “eternal city”, has been one of the main destinations for the tourists, the president added.
Discussion about Scientific Legacy
Islam Karimov said
“The goal sought by our conference is to discuss and thoroughly perceive of the scientific legacy of the outstanding scholars and thinkers of the medieval East, evaluate their role and place in the history of the modern civilization”.
He further elaborated that it was also important to afford a new potent impetus to the further intensive research works and the popularization of their genuinely invaluable scientific heritage, to reveal the urgency and demand in the discoveries made by them for the contemporary science and progress.
Lessons of Medieval East History
Islam Kairmov rightly highlighted the lessons of medieval east history by saying that
“The history of the medieval East suggests that the boom in culture and education, medicine, literature, arts and architecture, the emergence of schools of thought, the inflow and generation of talents used to be contingent by and large on such factors as the speedy economic and agricultural and urban development, the high level of craftsmanship and commerce, construction of roads and laying out new caravan routes and, what is crucial, the preservation of relative stability”.
Value of Stability and Sustainability
He upheld the importance of stability and sustainability in the country which ultimately promotes the culture and traditions of logic, wisdom, learning, education and research. It requires calmness and stability to rein, he further added.
Advanced Culture of the Central Asian peoples
The president spoke highly about the advanced culture of the Central Asian peoples which is indicated by the ancient monuments and records of the Bactrian, Soghdian, Orkhonian, Khorezmian script, wall painting and sculpture, architecture and many other arts.
“Established from the 11th through to the 13th century, the Khorezmian state used to encompass a considerable part of Asia by uniting the lands of neighboring peoples from India to the Persian Gulf”, he explained.
Importance of Silk Road
He rated the great Silk Road as an international transport artery of antiquity that used to link such countries and regions as China, India and Central Asia, the Middle and Near East and the Mediterranean. It has been used to promote trade, commerce, information sharing and dialogue among continents and countries.
Diversified Aspects of Utility and Diversity
He explained different interesting aspects of utility and diversity associated with Silk Road for centuries. It used to serve as a champion of swift spread of new technologies and innovations (production of silk, china, powder, paper and many other things), agricultural crops and agricultural technologies, along with cultural values, by creating thus conditions for an inter-civilization and technological exchange, he pinpointed.
The Silk Road has been instrumental to spread lights of knowledge, hope and humanity which also effectively promoted spirits and traditions of scientific knowledge and achievements. He projected that it has been ideal meeting-point of information sharing on the activities of scholars and thinkers of the East and West used to travel along the routes of the Great Silk Road, while practical access to the works, ideas and discoveries of such great academics of the antiquity as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and others.
Supportive Role of Dynasties
He mentioned the role of dynasties in the protection and promotion of research, respect of the scholars, education, and wisdom and above all interfaith harmony in which the Mamun Academy in Khiva and the House of Wisdom (Bait al-Hikma) in Baghdad, and also at the school of Ulugbek in Samarkand in the 15th century played a remarkable role.
Era of the Eastern Renaissance
The president rightly shed light on the valuable contribution of the Central Asian, scientists and thinkers who were responsible of two powerful scientific cultural booms in the 9-12th centuries and in the 14-15th centuries, which have by right been acknowledged by the world academic community as the era of the Eastern Renaissance that made a beneficial impact on the processes of renaissance in other regions of the world.
Europe Renaissance & Eastern Renaissance
Islam Karimov compared Renaissance in Europe with the Eastern Renaissance.
“The Renaissance in Europe resulted in the creation of great works of literature, arts and masterpieces of architecture, discoveries in medicine and human cognition, whereas the Eastern Renaissance was distinct, first and foremost, with the advancement of natural and exact sciences, namely, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geodesy, pharmacology, medicine, as well as history, philosophy and literature” he particularized.
Great Scientific Discoveries of the Medieval East
The President mentioned the great scientific discoveries of the early period in the medieval East, and cited the name of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khorezmi who made an invaluable input into the contemporary mathematics, trigonometry and geography. He was first to make a case for and introduce the tenfold positioning system of calculation, the zero sign and polar coordinates, which proved to be turning points in the evolution of mathematics and astronomy.
Guru of Astronomy, Geography and Theory of Climate
He shed light on the achievements of Al-Khorezmi who instituted algebra as a science, elaborated clear-cut rules in the narration of scientific information and treatises, authored many works on astronomy, geography and the theory of climate. The services made by al-Khorezmi in the progress of world science are universally acknowledged; his name and his works exclusively among the academics of the medieval East are perpetuated in contemporary scientific terms like “algorithm” and “algebra”.
Book on Elements of Astronomy
He also shared the services of Ahmad al-Ferghani towards science, logic, wisdom and research. He mentioned the fundamental work by Ahmad al-Ferghani “Book on Elements of Astronomy” contained initial knowledge on the constitution of the world, sizes of the Earth, proofs of its sphericity, and up to the 17th century was used at European universities as the principal text in astronomy, served as a scientific foundation for Columbus, Magellan and other travelers of the era of Great Geographical Discoveries. The President outlined his splendid achievements and one of al-Ferghani’s considerable practical achievements was the elaboration of the theory of astrolabe the principal astronomical instrument in the Middle Ages, as well as the creation of a facility on the Nile River known as the Nile Measurer that functioned as the major instrument in defining the level of water in the river during many centuries.
Founding Father of Spherical Trigonometry
The President rated Abu Nasr ibn Irak as a marvelous scholar who is considered the founding father of the spherical trigonometry, is renowned with his innovations in mathematics and astronomy. He is dubbed by right as the second Ptolemy.
Pioneer of Encyclopedic Knowledge
Islam Karimov shed light on the life of the esteemed scholar of encyclopedic knowledge Abu Raihon Beruni. From more than 150 scholarly works by Beruni, only 31 masterpieces have survived now, but even those excerpted data and knowledge we dispose of today demonstrate the multifaceted heritage he left.
He briefed about Beruni who was first to offer an original theory of seas and the structure of the globe, calculated the Earth’s radius, explained the presence of vacuum, predicted (500 years prior to Columbus) the existence of a continent beyond the Pacific and the Atlantic, was first to work out a classification of minerals and the theory of their origins, laid the foundations of the science of geodesy. It is not accidental that the natural science historians of the entire world refer to the 11th century as the “Age of Beruni”.
Canon of Medicines
The President admired the personality of Abu Ali ibn Sino, called Avicenna in the West, who earned the well-deserved title of the “Islamic world’s most celebrated philosopher and scholar of encyclopedic knowledge and one of the greatest thinkers of the humankind.” He mentioned that he started scientific research at the age of 16, and wrote more than 450 works, primarily in the sphere of medicine and philosophy, along with logics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, mathematics, music, literature and linguistics. His works were admired by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Francis Bacon and many other generations of academics.
Islam Karimov also recognized his priceless fundamental work “the Canon of Medicine”, the most celebrated text in the history of medical science. Ibn Sino defined major directions for the development of medical disciplines for many centuries to come and factually laid down the foundation for the principal methods of practical medicine and pharmacology, still actual and suitable to these days. It was no mere chance that the text was one of the first books published in Europe in the 15th century, and it continued to be a textbook in medicine at leading European universities for 500 years he further added.
He quoted a classical example of the highest level of scientific dialogue, the profound rethinking and development of philosophical views of antiquity by our great thinkers is the correspondence between ibn Sino and Beruni with regard to Aristotle’s “Book about the Sky”.
Word on Substance
The President talked highly about the tremendous role played by Khorezm Academy of Mamun in the 10-11th centuries which established an intellectual school of thought the Khorezm Academy of Mamun that left a deep track in the intellectual history of the human race.
The scholar with encyclopedic knowledge of the 10th century Abu Nasr Farobi used to be referred to as the Aristotle of the East by his contemporaries. He enriched many sciences, evolved philosophical views of scholars of various countries, and wrote more than 160 works.
Among the most renowned among them are “Word on Substance”, “Book on the Origins of Sciences”, “On the Meaning of Reason” and other texts. A considerable part of the academic works by Farobi has been translated into many European and Eastern languages and is still a subject matter for thoroughgoing research.
Galaxy of Magnificent Scientists
The President outlined a galaxy of magnificent scientists and intellectuals of the medieval East which was not confined to Temur and his descendants Temurids, whereby a bright star is still associated with the name of Mirzo Ulugbek, along with his numerous companions and disciples like Kazizoda Rumi, Ali Kushchi and others.
It is well known that a grandson of Amir Temur’s and ruler of Samarkand for more than 40 years, Mirzo Ulugbek earned fame as a great astronomy scientist, whose name is cited along the names of such geniuses as Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo and others he further added.
“Created by Ulugbek in the 15th century, a set of astronomical tables contained the definition and location of 1,018 stars by becoming a new catalogue of astronomical measures for 16 centuries”.
The President also said about his companion al-Kashi who was first to introduce decimal fractions, to elaborate the methods of consistent approximations and discovery of roots of arbitrary degrees.
The President mesmerized the audience by mentioning the galaxy of so many greatest philosophers, poets and enlighteners as Abu Abdullah Rudaki, Firdousi, Nizami Ganjavi, Saadi, Hafiz Shirazi, Jami, Alisher Navoi, Babur, and of many others that is truly a treasury of world significance.
First Dictionary of Turkic Languages
The author of the history’s first Dictionary of Turkic Languages was Mahmud Kashgari, who accompanied his work with a splendid collection of Turkic proverbs and poems that constitute the goldfield of vocabulary in the full sense of the word. Kashgari is considered as the first researcher of language, culture, ethnography, folklore of Turkic peoples, the President elaborated.
Linguist & Literary Achievements
He also mentioned Mahmud Zamakhshari, the linguist, literary critic, geographer and philosopher, who is recognized as the founding father of Arab grammar. He also was the author of the history’s first multilingual Arab-Persian-Turkic dictionary. He enlisted the galaxy of great historians of the medieval East, whose works constituted invaluable evidence to the events of those times first and foremost Ahmad ibn Arabshah, Nizamiddin Shami, Sharafiddin Ali Yazdi, Hafiz-i Abru, Khondamir, Abdurazzak Samarkandi and others.
The President Islam Karimov addressed that after nearly a thousand years, we continued to admire the genius, the multiplicity of interests and encyclopedic knowledge of scientists and thinkers of the medieval East.
Unfortunately, due to various cataclysms experienced by mankind, wars, natural disasters, we can say that only a thousandth of their great heritage has survived to us. Now it is difficult to imagine that in certain periods of history, when ignorance and obscurantism prevailed, scientists were persecuted and prosecuted, the lives of many of them ended tragically.
Cultural Diplomacy and Source of Knowledge
He was of the opinion that different confrontations, clashes and conflicts among people badly damaged sources of knowledge and priceless manuscripts and texts. He shared that the antiquity’s largest library of Alexandria and a unique library of Ulugbek were lost so irrevocably. He was hopeful that despite all the difficulties and ordeals, scientists and thinkers remained devoted to their research duties, the ideals of humanism and enlightenment.
The President asserted that we have every reason to preserve their achievements that were sacrificed to serve science, as well as their achievements that currently delight all the enlightened humanity, were indisputably a real spiritual heroic deed, to which we all bow our heads.
He emphasized that a huge reservoir of scientific heritage, of the great discoveries by geniuses of the medieval East is not fully studied and is waiting to be explored.
Treasures of Uzbekistan
Islam Karimov said in Uzbekistan alone, today the stacks include over 100,000 handwritten papers, most of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Manuscripts of scholars and thinkers of the medieval East constitute the “golden stock” of libraries in many countries in Europe and Asia: the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, France, Egypt, India, Iran and others he added.
He praised and confirmed that the brilliant works and scientific heritage of outstanding scientists and intellectuals of the medieval East are an asset of not only one nation or people, but of all mankind. It is a priceless endowment, a source of wisdom and knowledge for new generations of people and, if you like, an excellent material for new discoveries. It is reasonable and effective to use this extant richest material for the benefit of the entire human race; this is our task, it is our duty, the President further added.
The President shared an Uzbek proverb that to be into science is like digging a well with a needle. It shows the levels of accuracy, determination, research and logic to learn about new things, facts and make discoveries.
Respect for Ancestors History
Islam Karimov stressed the need to have a deep respect for ancestors history, the garnered experience, intellectual potential being created and considered the greatest treasure in the world, constitutes the basis for both the material and spiritual progress of any nation.
He quoted the words uttered by the great Spanish writer Cervantes that history is a treasure of our deeds, witness of the past, example and lesson for the present, and warning for the future. He was of the opinion that who does not know history makes mistakes at every turn, and people who are not proud of their history, cannot see their future.
The President of Uzbekistan advised the audience that without a thorough knowledge and development achieved by remarkable discoveries of the past, including those the medieval East, it is impossible to reach new, higher boundaries neither in science nor in other areas. We will continue to follow this principle in our activities.
Outlining of Global Challenges
He mentioned different global emerging socio-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic problems faced by the human race today. He also included climate change, protection and preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, depletion of natural resources and others the biggest challenges to mankind and without having the reasonable optimal solution to which becomes the strongest challenge of our time.
He suggested that solving these problems may require intellectual breakthroughs, rethinking and formulation of new laws developed in the course of many centuries, the organization of large-scale scientific research and experiments in a wide range of areas of study of the world around us.
Availability of Funds and Investments
He stressed the need to have huge funds and investments, rational use of brilliant scientific achievements made in the past for solving the different issues of the today. We all know that modern science cannot develop without huge investments, which in turn serve as the basis for the emergence of great ideas and discoveries, he further added. He labeled the 21st century the century of knowledge and intelligence of the human mind.
Denial of Historical, Cultural and Intellectual Heritage
The President right pinpointed that those states and societies who do not pay enough attention to careful preservation, enrichment and enhancement of the historical, cultural and intellectual heritage, as well as to the education of the younger generation on the basis of universal and national values, who do not set as their goal as formation of a harmoniously developed and independently thinking individuals having their views, their choices, their civic stance, such states and societies are doomed to be on the sidelines of history.
He mentioned his government priorities for the preservation, protection and promotion of education, wisdom, research because it is impossible to build a new society without fundamental reform of the current educational system that was formed in the past, complete rejection of stereotypes and dogmas of the past communist ideology, without strengthening the democratic values in the minds of our young people. He also valued the institutionalization of reforms in every sector especially in the field of education, job generation and socio-economic development.
Constitution of Uzbekistan
The President also mentioned constitutional support to promote education facilities in the country. Uzbekistan has a national program, a twelve-year universal compulsory free education under the scheme 9 +3 which was introduced in the country in the past. He advised all the audiences to at least one college, whether in Samarkand or Tashkent. Have a look, in the remotes town or district the best buildings that we have erected are colleges. We have built 1,500 new colleges and lyceums on the state-of-the-art architectural designs, he added.
Today young people in Uzbekistan’s colleges receive 2-3 professions; they also necessarily speak one foreign language, mostly English he elaborated. Following a 12-year education, the youths can continue with studies in higher education institutions in undergraduate and graduate courses and fields they opt for, he further added.
Outcome of Reforms
“As a result of successful implementation of the reforms in education meeting modern requirements, we have established an integrated system of continuous education, including all stages of the educational process – starting from pre-school and school education up to secondary specialized vocational and higher education, as well as single-stage post-graduate education, providing, in accordance with international standards, direct defense of the dissertation for the award of doctoral degree”, the President explained.
Qualitative Standards of Research and Production
He talked highly about the high and qualitative standard of his country colleges and universities due to which the number of higher education institutions in the country increased twofold, and today more than 230,000 students are enrolled at 60 universities and institutes. In Uzbekistan successfully operate several branches of leading universities in Europe and Asia, such as the University of Westminster, Management Development Institute of Singapore, Turin Polytechnic University, Russia Oil and Gas University, Moscow State University, Russia University of Economics, he said.
“Currently, a training and experimental center of high technologies is being created by the National University of Uzbekistan and the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan jointly with Britain’s leading institution Cambridge University”.
High Value of Human Capital
He proudly mentioned that a survey conducted in 2012 by the World Intellectual Property Organization and one of the leading international business schools, INSEAD, research on the level of human capital in Uzbekistan took the 53rd place among 141 countries in the world, and in the level of development of the education system, including the share of funds for educational purposes, research organizers ranked our country 5th in the world.
Cultural Diplomacy and Showcasing of Huge Legacy of the Medieval East
The President of Uzbekistan rated the said conference as one of the rarest in the world. It is dedicated to a huge legacy of the medieval East not only to inform the general public, but also that it gives impetus to our youth for intellectual development, he further added.
In the end he expressed once again his sincere gratitude to the audience in this hall, wished all the participants a fruitful work and a pleasant stay in Uzbekistan, a sound health, every success and the best of luck in your noble endeavors.
The conference participants were united on the view that the address by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the opening ceremony of the forum afforded a special atmosphere to its work and inspired the scholars and specialists.
The Republic of Uzbekistan has been using the tool of cultural diplomacy to showcase its rich ancient culture, services of its ancestors, contribution of its versatile thinkers, scientists and philosophers for so many years. It has been its rigorous national drive (cultural diplomacy) under the supervision of its President Islam Karimov which successfully transformed its national identity in the ranks of the nations of the world.
It is the era of globalization 3 which stands of modern civilization. Knowledge economy, good governance, interfaith dialogue, result oriented strategies, dancing between cultures, respect for humanity, international law, and above all tolerance has been associated with Uzbekistan’s ancestors who purified the polluted and rusted minds and souls of so many unlimited generations and civilizations. Now, rigorous cultural diplomacy of Uzbekistan stands of cherished memories and echo of the hearts.
Uzbekistan’s culture is vibrant and versatile and its gigantic cultural diplomacy wins the hearts and souls of the millions of tourists, researchers, academicians, diplomats and officials alike. Cultural diplomacy is the custodian of Uzbekistan’s galaxies of so many dignified personalities and their works in the fields of natural, pure, social, physical, medical, biological and astrological sciences. Cultural diplomacy has already proved effective in case of dialogue between civilizations. It is first giant step towards global integration.
Culture is now rated as strategic asset. It showcases ancient rich culture, heritage, and traditions (Uzbekistan).Cultural diplomacy brings socio-economic integration (France-Germany). It increases inflows of tourists (Greece, UAE & Egypt). It encourages mutual understanding (India). It encourages greater inflows of foreign direct investments (China & Brazil).
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