Mansur Omonov, PhD researcher at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Uzbekistan Scholar Master of Global Public Administration program at the SKKU, S. Korea
In our world live some 7.7 billion people (2019 survey) who consist of 6000 varying nations and ethnic groups. Also, Central Asian countries are multinational states where are living more than 70 million persons from 150 nations.
In Uzbekistan live more than 130 different ethnic groups of people.
They include Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Germans, Pols, Tatars, Koreans, Chinense, Arabs, Jews, Persians, Indians, Britons, Uyghurs, Dunguns, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Moldovans, Greeks, and others.
Central Asia is a single region not only on geopolitical, even geo-economy and geo-cultural as well as geo-historical single territory of the Asia.
Central Asian Turkic- and Persian-speaking Muslim people are similar to each other with cultural, linguistic and religious uniqueness. Nowadays, the most important issues for all the countries of the world are how to keep peace, stability and prospective integration. This is where come into play the roles of the people’s diplomacy, people-to-people diplomacy and cultural diplomacy.
People’s diplomacy of Uzbekistan:
Uzbekistan has huge potential and is strategically a key country for providing the people’s diplomacy in the region.
Firstly, Uzbekistan has a large population, 33.2 million people, and comprehensively forms a very important geographic bridge in Central Asia. Uzbekistan has a very high literacy ratio and 69% of population is young, which poses a striking contrast with other Central Asian countries where it averages 47%.
Secondly, Uzbekistan is a multinational country. Uzbeks account for 3.1% of the total population of Kazakhstan, 14.0% in Tajikistan, 14.6 % in Kyrgyzstan, 5% in Turkmenistan and 9 % in Afghanistan.
Thirdly, more than 20 million Uzbek people live spread out in many countries of the world—such as Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, EU, East Asia countries China, Korea, and other countries.
On Feb. 2017, President Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekist an adopted a new State Strategic Plan, which is called “Strategy of Action in 2017-2021.”
This development strategy’s five priority areas are intended to encourage integration of country through people’s diplomacy.
Indeed, in the fifth priority areas established many new structures for implementation people’s diplomacy in country and abroad. In practical established new structures in the system of Cabinet of Ministries and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others.
Especially, I also myself participated in creation processes of these state structures such as the Committee on Interethnic Relations and Friendly Cooperation with Foreign Countries, Center of People’s Diplomacy Shanghai Cooperation Organization of Uzbekistan (www.interkomitet.uz), Division for Cooperation with Compatriots Abroad in the system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.mfa.uz).
The main task of these public organizations is to implement state politics on inter-ethnic relations, to maintain various nations, ethnic groups cultural activities with 138 national cultural centers in Uzbekistan (such as Association of Korean Cultural Center of Uzbekistan, German Cultural Center of Uzbekistan and etc.)
as well as to boost friendly cooperation with 34 friendship societies with foreign counties (such as Korea-Uzbekistan friendship society, Britain-Uzbek society and etc.), to support compatriots, diasporas and diasporal organizations abroad (such as Uzbek cultural center in Kazakhstan, Umid Center of Uzbek Compatriots in Russia, Center research of the Uzbek language and culture in China, Turkestan American Society in US and etc.).
As above mentioned, initiative of the President of Uzbekistan established Center of People’s Diplomacy Shanghai Cooperation Organization of Uzbekistan for prospective friendship development and integration of the region as well as strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborliness, interethnic and inter-religious harmony, development of inter-civilization dialogue among the SCO countries.
Integration Processes of Uzbek Diplomacy:
Central Asia is a unique cultural and civilization potential in Eurasia. It can serve to develop and integration processes of the region. Current dynamics of bilateral relation on people’s diplomacy is rapidly increasing by the new government of Uzbekistan.
Current, states and organizations are supporting through people’s diplomacy to boost cooperation and the integration of the region.
A lot of regional problems solved by leaders of neighbor countries especially by initiative of Uzbekistan through people’s diplomacy mechanisms.
Governments created the new important opportunities to peoples of the region like opened borders, airplane connections, border, cultural weeks, celebration cultural days each other’s, education, tourism and others.
Because for current and future integration will demand good neighborhood and friendship relations, this is the same destination of the region.
The government of Uzbekistan started to teach Afghan students in Uzbek higher education institutions. Also, we can see another initiative of Uzbekistan increased number of new opportunities and privileges at the universities of Uzbekistan for neighbor countries Turkmen, Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik students.
These are important and more significant factors for achievement an integration processes of the Central Asia. The Government of Uzbekistan is going to enhance an active cultural and humanitarian dialogue, holding the Days of Culture creative activities, development of educational and tourist exchanges as they are the most important tools of people’s diplomacy.
At the last two years, by initiatives of Uzbek Government which is based on boost mutual friendly cooperation for achievement priority whole regional integration.
The President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited to every country of the Central Asia to strengthen cooperation between countries and nations through people’s diplomacy.
Even, the government of Uzbekistan opened many new opportunities on people’s diplomacy for people to people contacts. These are the most important starting steps, a milestone for mutual friendly cooperation and integration processes between nations.
I express my gratitude to support of our Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul and the Korean Post for publishing my article on my PhD research. My research area is in the fields of international relations, foreign politics and diplomacy of Uzbekistan.