The Visit of Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States of America, His Excellency, Muktar Djumaliev, to Utah Valley University.
Utah Valley University (UVU) has developed a special relationship with Kyrgyzstan since 1999 when the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the USA and his wife first visited UVU. Since then this relationship has continued to progress through other high level exchanges between Kyrgyzstan and UVU as well as the government of the State of Utah. Examples of such high level exchanges are the visit of the Governor of Utah, Olene Walker, to Bishkek and the visit of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to Utah, both visits occurring in 2004. In 2005 Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev former ambassador of the Kyrgyz republic to the United States became a member of the teaching staff at UVU which has helped to further facilitate the partnership between Utah and Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan and Utah have similar size, population and geographic features i.e. mountainous terrain. These similarities are the basis of Utah’s common interests with Kyrgyzstan and are also the basis for the partnership that has been created to promote the agenda of sustainable mountain development under the auspices of the United Nations.
Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States of America and Canada, His Excellency, Muktar Djumaliev, during the presentation at Utah Valley University
In 2013 Dr. Rusty Butler, UVU’s Associate Vice President of International Affairs, invited the Kyrgyz Republic’s current ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Muktar Djumaliev, to visit Utah and to give a lecture at UVU. The lecture was given on Monday June 3rd on the topic of the political reforms in Kyrgyzstan since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ambassador Djumaliev spoke about the challenges that the Kyrgyz republic has had in changing from an autocratic form of government which they had under the Soviet system to a constitutional democracy as an independent state. He reported that the road to becoming a constitutional democracy has not been an easy one for the Kyrgyz republic. Their first constitution was adopted in 1993 and provided a basis for building a democratic, legal and social state. However several changes were made to the constitution which dramatically reshaped it. Many of the constitutional changes benefited only the president. This led to a political crisis and in 2005 President Askar Akayev was ousted. From 2005 to 2010 a new constitutional regime was implemented but this regime was to prove similar to the first. The new president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, also used the constitution to consolidate his own power at the expense of the people of Kyrgyzstan. This regime too came to an end with President Bakiyev being ousted from power and a new regime established. This new regime and constitution has been set up to protect the people and has a number of checks and balances to ensure that governmental power is distributed. Ambassador Djumaliev stated in his presentation that “the 2010 Constitution gives opportunity to strengthen statehood, sovereignty of the country, to achieve serious success in economic and social development, to tackle the corruption and unlawfulness.” He also added that “All necessary conditions for better protecting the interests of the nation and state, human rights and freedoms were created.” During the question and answer section after the lecture it became clear that one of the main focuses of this new regime is to clear up government corruption and produce a stable economic system under the rule of law that will attract foreign investment. The VIP guest from the Kyrgyz Republic pointed out that his nation became a member of the WTO in 1998 and that even though they have big trade deficits they have learned in the process to trade with other countries by international standards.
After his lecture Ambassador Djumaliev went on a tour of UVU during which he made a courtesy call on UVU Academic Vice President Ian Wilson. During the lunch with members of the UVU Office of International Affairs and Diplomacy and selected other UVU faculty members and students, Ambassador Djumaliev recognized that universities are where new ideas and perspectives often came from and engaged the group in a discussion on what Kyrgyzstan might do to promote their interested in the United States and around the world.
Dignitary from the Kyrgyz Republic members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU
After leaving UVU the Kyrgyz VIP-guest made several other important visits in Utah to help strengthen Utah/Kyrgyzstan relations including meetings at Brigham Young University about educational exchanges and with Orem City Manager, Bruce Chestnut, to discuss the possibility of a sister city relationship between Orem and one of the cities in Kyrgyzstan. He had dinner with State Senator John Valentine and his wife in addition to making a presentation at the Utah Women in Business conference in Salt Lake City. He met with the Lt. Governor of the State of Utah Greg Bell, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and toured the LDS humanitarian center. During the lunch co-hosted by the World Trade Center Utah and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development Ambassador Djumaliev spoke about business opportunities in the Kyrgyz Republic and why it is important for his country to have strong connections to the mountain states of the United States, like Utah. At the end of his visit, Ambassador Djumaliev met with Dr. Fred Esplin, the University of Utah’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
Ambassador Djumaliev during lunch with Utah State Senator John Valentine
This UVU sponsored trip to Utah of the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic Muktar Djumaliev has been in the long standing tradition of the partnership between UVU and the Kyrgyz Republic. By coming to Utah, the VIP from the mountainous nation in Central Asia was able to promote this relationship not just with UVU but with many other institutions of the State of Utah as a whole.
Mark Petersen, President of the Sustainable Mountain Development club, UVU student