My name is Louis Skyner and I hope that my Chairmanship of the British Uzbek Society will be viewed as providing both continuity and change, as members of the Society build on the foundations laid by the previous incumbents of the post. Under Shirin Akiner’s stewardship the Society witnessed a transformation, the membership and activities of the Society widening. The recent reforms in Uzbekistan have aroused interest in the country, creating new opportunities for dialogue and exchange. My ambition is that as opportunities for interaction, economically, socially, and culturally, multiply, the Society becomes a natural forum for, and supporter of, such dialogue and exchange. A related ambition is to open up the running of the Society to its members. The Society has an executive committee, the members of which have responsibility for different areas of activity and cooperation. The plans of the executive committee are to be made public, allowing all members of the Society to contribute their initiatives.
In more concrete terms I have earmarked the following challenges for the Society over the coming year:
- to identify all the existing and potential areas for cooperation in education, and use the Society as platform on which that cooperation can be further developed and profiled;
- to map out the profession and vocational experience of the members of the Society, and work with the relevant British and Uzbek authorities to identify how members may participate in initiatives promoting knowledge transfer;
- to develop a workable and structured format for articulating the insights of members of the Society in the intergovernmental discussion of what needs to be done to increase trade and investment; and,
- to show initiative in organising social and cultural events, staged at venues in London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and, as importantly, in Tashkent and elsewhere in Uzbekistan.