Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev speaks before Comparative Politics of Central Asia class
Kurmanbek Diykanbaev, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament of Kyrgyzstan), visited Utah from August 21 to 28, 2019 to represent his government at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Salt Lake City and speak at the workshop there hosted by the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU). Along with participating in the conference, Mr. Dyikanbaev also was able to hold meetings with students and members of UVU faculty. One of the classes he visited was the Comparative Politics of Central Asia Class, taught by Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, on August 23rd. This class, entirely focused on Central Asia, was a perfect forum for Mr. Dyikanbaev to talk about the Kyrgyz Republic and its history, politics, and role in the Central Asian region.
Mr. Diykanbaev presented for about 30 minutes, with Dr. Abdrisaev translating from Russian to English. During this time, Mr. Dyikanbaev talked about Kyrgyzstan’s role in the Soviet Union, how decisions were made during Soviet times. Personally, I found the discussion on decentralization and decision-making in the USSR to be rather interesting. Mr. Dyikanbaev, though a veterinarian by trade, is an expert on decentralization and how rights are redistributed in his country with empowering municipalities. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on decentralization, especially in Kyrgyzstan, which is my country of focus.
Mr. Dyikanbaev also touched on the governmental structure of Kyrgyzstan, which has changed quite drastically since the dissolution of the USSR. Mr. Dyikanbaev specifically talked about the role of the parliament in the new system, which was interesting to listen about. Mr. Dyikanbaev has worked both as a deputy of parliament and currently as the President’s representative to the parliament, so he was able to discuss the role of the legislature from a variety of perspectives. It was interesting to hear him talk specifically about the transition from a government specifically centered around the president to a government where the parliament holds the majority of the power. After Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 violent regime change, the government shifted to a parliamentary model with the adoption of a new constitution. This constitution also severely limited the power of the executive branch. It was interesting to hear Mr. Diykanbaev talk about the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of Kyrgyzstan, and I am sure many of my colleagues in the class felt similarly.
Group photo with Mr. Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev
Having Mr. Dyikanbaev in our class was an excellent way to start the semester. Not only was he an important figure from Kyrgyzstan visiting Utah, he had a plethora of regional knowledge and insight to share with our class, which is solely focused on Central Asia. Though I was able to work with Mr. Diykanbaev throughout his time in Utah and during the UNCSC in particular, listening to his lecture in the class was surely a highlight of my interaction with him.
Samuel Elzinga, President, Utah International Mountain Forum
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS