The Director-General pays his second official visit to Uzbekistan

From 7 to 10 September 2006, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, paid his second official visit to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

During his bilateral talks with Mr Islom Karimov, President of Uzbekistan, the Director-General outlined the progress that has been made in UNESCO’s cooperation with Uzbekistan in recent years, in particular since his first visit to the country in September 2000. President Karimov entirely concurred with Mr Matsuura’s assessment of the good developments. The Director-General mentioned in particular that two additional Uzbek sites had been included on the World Heritage List (bringing the total number of Uzbek sites to four) and that two nominations had been proclaimed as UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Director-General further underlined that many cultural projects aimed at the preservation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of cultural traditions were underway under the guidance of the UNESCO Tashkent Office.

Mr Matsuura then paid tribute to the priority attributed by the President to the field of education - Uzbekistan has made good progress at all levels of education, having achieved a literacy rate of almost 100%. The Director-General pledged UNESCO’s support for the government’s efforts to promote the use of ICTs in education and reassured the President of UNESCO’s continued involvement in the interdisciplinary project on the mitigation of the Aral Sea ecological disaster.

The Aide mémoire, which the Director-General signed with Mr Rustam Kasimov, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Uzbek National Commission for UNESCO, outlined possible areas for further strengthening UNESCO/Uzbek cooperation, such as: expanding the national network of Community Learning Centres (CLCs); capacity-building in the planning and management of the education sector; development of renewable energies; and digitization of manuscripts.

On 8 September, the Director-General signed an agreement on the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in Knowledge Economy at the Westminster International University of Tashkent. Addressing the University professors and students on the occasion of International Literacy Day, Mr Matsuura highlighted the importance of this Day as “an occasion to champion the human right to literacy, and also to draw attention to literacy’s powerful role in sustaining development”.

In recognition of his contribution to strengthening peace and international security and to developing relations between the nations of the world, Mr Matsuura was awarded the distinction of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, headed by Mr Karamtov, former Deputy Prime Minister and previously Ambassador of Uzbekistan to UNESCO.

During his stay in Tashkent, Mr Matsuura visited an exhibition of Buddhist monuments at the National Gallery, the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan and a UNESCO-supported Ceramics’ School. Mr Matsuura then also visited the cities of Urgench, Khiva and Samarkand. In Urgench, he saw the UNESCO/ZEF/Bonn project “Ecological Restructuring of Land and Water Resources in Khorezm District” at the Faculty of Urgench State University. In Khiva, he participated in the opening ceremony of the Ancient Khorezmian Culture Festival at Ichan Kala, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990, and opened the Museum of Khorezm Mamun Academy. And in Samarkand, Mr Matsuura visited various cultural sites which were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2001, as well as the UNESCO/JICA paper-making workshop.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash info n°136-2003
  • 11-09-2006
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific