11 October 2018
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev opened a new Chapter of relations between Uzbekistan and UNESCO by paying a visit to UNESCO Headquarters on 8 October 2018. This is the first visit of the President of Uzbekistan to UNESCO in the last 22 years. Director-General Audrey Azulay welcomed President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and praised his policy of openness and democratization of the country.President Mirziyoyev stressed the importance of cooperation with UNESCO at a time when his country was undergoing major reforms, particularly in the field of education and culture. He proposed to cooperate in specific areas, such as pre-school education and education as a means of combating extremism and violence, as well as the training of young scientists in the spirit of peace and tolerance.
In this context, President Mirziyoyev informed the Director-General of his intention to establish an International Institute for the Formation of Culture of Peace, Tolerance and Prevention of Extremism in Samarkand, under the auspices of UNESCO. Another proposal was related to the establishment of the Central Asian Institute of Information and Communication Technologies in Education.
The Director-General noted that Uzbekistan is a nation with a rich culture and cultural heritage of global importance. She assured President Mirziyoyev that UNESCO would assist the government of Uzbekistan in preserving and protecting this heritage. Ms Azulay also supported the initiative of Uzbekistan to organize a Central Asian forum on New Information Technologies for Preservation of Cultural Heritage in 2019.
The Director-General also welcomed the bilateral cooperation between UNESCO and Uzbekistan in the field of science, especially in water resources management. Ms Azulay informed President Mirziyoyev about the establishment of a new UNESCO Chair on Water Diplomacy, Water Resources Management and Environmental Protection at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME).
During the visit, the Director-General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan signed a cooperation agreement, which included a Programme Action Plan for Uzbekistan for 2018-2021.