Envoy From Uzbekistan to the UN Comes to Utah
Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the United Nations (UN), His Excellency Mr. Muzaffar A. Madrahimov paid a visit to the state of Utah and came to tour Utah Valley University (UVU) on February 16, 2017. UVU invited Ambassador Madrahimov as part of series of guest lectures by the officials and envoys to the UN to engage students and faculty in most urgent issues of that global intergovernmental body, including the implementations of the UN’s 2030 agenda on sustainable development among them.
Ambassador Muzaffar A. Madrahimov speaks before students at UVU
The Distinguished guest spoke to political science students about the historical achievements of his nation, achievements that affect the way we see the world to this day. Mr. Madrahimov served as Deputy Chief of Mission at Uzbekistan’s Embassy in Washington, D.C., prior to being assigned to the UN post. His passion for raising the status for his nation is very admirable. He is coming from a nation where half of the population is under 18. This means that the young nation must arrange its priorities around the youth and use that as strength in order to become competitive in the future.
Ambassador Muzaffar A. Madrahimov
(fourth from the left)
with students after the lunch
The ambassador was very proud of his nation and the accomplishments that his people have contributed to the world. The ambassador and his counselor were very interested in the culture of Utah as well as at the university itself. When speaking with him both after the presentation and during the lunch, we talked about the importance of education in the state and how we can empower students to be successful. In fact, as a student myself, I have been given a plethora of opportunity to excel in my future career and in building an impressive resume while continuing my studies. Madrahimov was impressed with the lengths that professors go through in order to help students get high level opportunities. He was interested to learn also how students are able to grow professionally through the model of engaged learning at Utah Valley University which was implemented at the university in 2008.
These are the strengths that Utah and the greater USA is very proud of. It is what makes us successful as a nation. I believe Ambassador Madrahimov has been inspired by these qualities and the spirit of Pioneers that has made Utah County a very attractive place to do business as well as raising a family. Still, Uzbekistan has much work to do and a lot of catching up to do.
Since the time of the Soviet Union, the nation was led by Islam Karimov, who was the leader of the communist party and in 1990, declared Uzbekistan as independent. Elections followed thought the opposition parties had many obstacles and many could not place their candidates. Soon, the opposition parties were altogether outlawed and many followers arrested. As economic pacts were made with neighboring nations, the ruling party changed name and even extended the term of Karimov. Soon thereafter, terror raids by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan IMU, started terror operations and demanded that Karimov be removed. By the mid-2000’s there is civil unrest and many protests against the government. Journalists are jailed and torture becomes a tool of the government. Karimov keeps winning elections and seeks to stay in power by extending term and rigging elections even after independent sources cry foul of the results. His family eventually becomes entangled in corruption charges as his daughter has built a massive business and media empire for herself and she is eventually arrested. In 2016, President Karimov dies and a new president gets elected.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev wins the election as new leader of the country. As Ambassador Madrahimov mentioned, this represents a new era for Uzbekistan and it is a chance to improve the quality of life for all Uzbeks. The administration has already begun by releasing long jailed journalists and returning their freedom and the elections were made more transparent. This is not to say that there is not work to be done. There is precedent to follow but Mirziyoyev would be smart to create his own legacy and a legacy for a new Uzbekistan.
Josman Cereceres, UVU Political Science Department Representative
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS