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Celebrating a Historic Friendship; the ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photo exhibition

02 March 2012

On Friday the 2nd of March, a beautiful Uzbek spring day, the UN family in Tashkent worked with the United Nations Communication Group to hold the ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photo exhibition, recognising the 20th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s membership in the UN. This historic event, conducted at the prestigious State Museum of History of Uzbekistan, was attended by UN Agency officials and colleagues, the UN Resident Coordinator Anita Nirody, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Abdulaziz Kamilov, representatives of the UN’s government partners, and several journalists from Uzbekistan’s print, radio and television media agencies.

-Two Decades of Achievement-

Ever since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, the nation has maintained a close, mutually-supportive relationship with the United Nations. Since becoming a UN member state in 1992, Uzbekistan has always served as a calm, calculating voice at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. One particularly momentous time in the nation’s history with the UN was when the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov participated in the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York. President Karimov played a vital role in defining and establishing the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at this summit, and since then he has worked to ensure that Uzbekistan will achieve these goals by the 2015 deadline.

While Uzbekistan has played an effective, appreciated role in the United Nations, it has also welcomed the support, suggestions and advice of several UN agencies. These agencies include UNICEF, UN Women, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNFPA, WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNODC, the United Nations Information Office and UNV. Each of these agencies received considerable government support when establishing their national offices. Each agency has also enjoyed government approval and cooperation when working to develop Uzbekistan’s educational and medical infrastructure and institutions, legal and law enforcement structures, national approaches to environmental sustainability, and programmes encouraging youth volunteerism and community engagement.

The ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photography exhibition has celebrated and enriched this mutually-beneficial relationship between the UN and Uzbekistan.

-Chronicling a Positive Relationship-

The ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photography exhibition has been immensely successful; a result that can be attributed to the effective communication between the United Nations Information Office and its fellow UN agencies, to the excellent logistical services offered by the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan, and to the interest and enthusiasm of many Tashkent-based media outlets. The result of this collaboration and common dedication has been an engaging exhibition of high-quality, illuminating photographs.

The exhibition’s photography display was divided into three galleries, containing over 60 photographs submitted by the eleven UN agencies operating in Uzbekistan. While all three galleries delivered a single message, that the universal objective of the UN’s work in Uzbekistan is to improve lifestyles and livelihoods of its citizenry, each gallery contained a particular theme.

The event’s first gallery overviewed the UN’s work in supporting Uzbekistan’s youth. The first collection of photographs in this gallery chronicled the medical support provided to new-borns, infants and children, the second highlighted the worked undertaken to improve Uzbekistan’s primary, secondary and higher education systems, and the third depicted the important services offered to young couples who are planning to start their own families.

The event’s second gallery investigated another element of the UN’s work in Uzbekistan, specifically its encouragement of the formation of formal and informal operations, conferences and meetings designed to address various social issues including drug trafficking and abuse, HIV/AIDS, and the need to develop good community unity, empowered civil society operations, and effective local governance. A major event featured in this gallery was the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent visit to Uzbekistan. The third and final gallery was dedicated to recognising the work conducted by community volunteers and activists, with the use of training, information and finances provided by the UN, to address the various social issues faced by their local communities.

-A Day of National and International Importance-

The significance of the ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photography exhibition, and the associated 20th Year Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s membership in the UN, was evident in the many esteemed guests who attended the photo exhibition. In addition to the UN Resident Coordinator Anita Nirody, whose speech addressed the historical significance of the occasion, the event was also attended by Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Abdulaziz Komilov and the vice president of the Academy of Science of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Bakhrom Abdukhalimov. Similar to Ms. Nirody’s speech, both Mr. Komilov and Mr. Abdukhalimov expressed their appreciation of the photography exhibition and their approval of the UN’s operations in Uzbekistan. This similarity in perspectives illustrates a very fortunate circumstance, that both the UN’s national representatives and their national counterparts attribute equal value to their growing relationship.

The photography exhibition conducted at the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan has been attended by over 100 visitors, including UN colleagues, journalists and public visitors. This significant response was well received by both UN Agencies in Tashkent and the United Nations Information Office, because it illustrated both the appreciated role the UN plays in Tashkent’s community, and the fact that its activities inspire popular interest. The appeal of the ’20 Years of Cooperation’ photography exhibition has shown that a positive relationship between the UN and the government and people of Uzbekistan can be expected for years to come.