It has been almost half a year since Shirin Akiner passed away. The Executive Committee felt it appropriate to keep her image and our testimony of her life and work on the Society website until now, such was her influence and impact. Indeed, through the spring many of the events the Society held were the result of her initiative. In January a talk was given by Dr Gai Jorayev at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London entitled Silk Roads Research: Can Technology Unpack the Unknown? In March the Navruz Party was held at the Embassy with a performance by Tara Pandeya. In May a panel was discussion was hosted by the EBRD with Kamola Makhmudova, Dr Shohista Saidkasimova, and Dr Nafisa Abdullaeva illustrating the theme of Professional Women: the Uzbek Experience with their own stories. In June Tara Pandeya gave a talk and performance at the Embassy questioning the use of terms such as tradition, contemporary and heritage when exploring the dance of Central Asia, and the Embassy hosted the summer garden party attended by the Uzbek Minister of Justice.

Having recently resolved a number of bureaucratic issues, the primary one being gaining access to the Society’s bank account , we have begun to plan our activities for the next half year. To assist we are being joined by Vladislav Ryabov as Treasurer of the Society, Elena (Potayenko) Jones as Membership Secretary, and Naresh Ale as website designer and administrator. Their contribution will be critical as whilst the assets of the Society have grown from £6969.10 to £7580.64 over the past year, income has dropped from £3281.00 to £970.83 in the same period. In spite of record turnouts at Society events 52 individual memberships have expired, 7 corporate memberships, and 3 academic memberships. Vladislav and Elena will be working actively to ensure that those attending events renew their membership, the Executive Committee as a whole working towards expanding our membership to those who have indicated their interest in Uzbekistan.

To make membership attractive we have planned the following events:

  • on 9th October at 6.30pm Chris Allan, British Ambassador to Tashkent from 2016 to 2019, will give a talk on his experiences in and impressions of Uzbekistan at the Embassy.
  • on 15th November at 6pm Dr Shohista Saidkasimova, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and Nima Ghadri, Fellow of the Royal College of Opthalmologists, will give a talk entitled in The Footsteps of Avicenna (venue to be confirmed;
  • on 12th December the University Women’s Club will host the Christmas Party; and,
  • in January 2020 Dr Paul Wordsworth of Oxford University will give a talk around his research on Caravan Serai.

Finally, in August an Uzbek British Society was established in Tashkent, an advisory board consisting of Dr Komiljon Karimov, Rector of Westminster International University, Tim Torlot, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Alisher Shaykhov, former Uzbek Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Anvar Irchaev, founder and chairman of the board of Universal Bank, being appointed. We look forward to co-operating them, our first joint event planned for February 2020, an exhibition of photographs by young Uzbeks on the theme of Images of our Environment.

We look forward to welcoming you at Society events,

Louis Skyner