Cluster Office to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

In Focus

News from UNESCO

Preservation and promotion of the traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets - Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak
On 26-28 September 2019 an exhibition and a series of workshops on the production of traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets (shyrdak and ala-kiyiz) took place at the Frunze Museum in Bishkek. The main goal of the event was to raise awareness about the rich culture and variety of traditional artisanship and skills of the Kyrgyz people related to the culture of felt carpets among wider audiences, especially among the Kyrgyz youth and children.  The master classes were followed up by a round table on the topic of “Preservation and promotion of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets - ala-kiyiz and shyrdak”, which was held on 30 September. Among the round table participants were the members of the Kyrgyz Parliament, the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as representatives of specialized government agencies, artisans, ethnographers, experts, NGOs. In 2012 Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets, was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The purpose of the round table was to draw attention of the public and the Kyrgyz government to the need for an in-depth study of Kyrgyz traditional culture, ensuring its preservation and transmission to future generations as an enduring value and foundation of national identity. Events were organized by UNESCO Almaty together with the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO as part of the“Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran – International Dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage” – joint European Union and UNESCO Almaty project.
Strengthening Multilingual Education in Central Asia
UNESCO Almaty again supported the Regional School “Multilingual education based on the mother tongue: conditions for ensuring quality and sustainability”, organized by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) in Osh, Kyrgyz Republic, on November 18-22. About 100 pedagogues and managers from preschools, secondary schools and universities from Central Asia and Mongolia learned about various approaches on developing curriculum and teaching materials and competency-based assessment techniques in multilingual education. They enriched each other’s experiences by sharing their practices on implementing competency-based multilingual education and exploring ways for further cooperation. The agenda also included visits to kindergartens, schools and universities, where multilingual teaching and learning is implemented or piloted. The School provided a number of opportunities to learn about specific topics, based on research and experiences of participants and experts in thematic master classes. The topics included fairy tales and their role in early childhood development and career preparation programs in schools. UNESCO Almaty staff and its experts from Estonia also trained on multilingual education and global citizenship education in plenary sessions and master classes. Other partners of the event included the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, UNICEF in the Kyrgyz Republic and the Regional Branch of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Asia (OHCHR). Related information: UNESCO Almaty organized sessions on Education for Sustainable Development for OSCE Regional School on Multilingual and Multicultural Education Improving Multilingual and Multicultural Education in Central Asia
Youth join forces in addressing Disaster Risk Reduction in in Central Asia region
On 3rd December young researchers and youth from four Central Asian countries, who are the members of the Disaster and Climate Resilience Youth Network (DACRYN), met for a regional coordination meeting in Almaty. The Disaster and Climate Resilience Youth Network (DACRYN) was established in March 2019 supported by UNESCO office in Almaty. The network bring together youth from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, who advocate for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate change adaptation (CCA). It is represented by young scientists, students, representatives of environmental and youth agencies, who are actively engaged in promoting DRR and CCA in their countries. It’s a common practice that in Central Asia emergency response largely prevails over disaster risk management efforts, therefore youth works together to facilitate and advocate for a better understanding on the importance of DRR for safer and resilient societies. One of the key focus areas of the network is to promote multidisciplinary approach in DRR, and notably, in relation to mainstreaming DRR in higher education, according to the world standards. “Young people are agents of change and they have new and innovative approaches in addressing DRR. Therefore for UNESCO it’s important to work with youth and support their ideas in promoting DRR” – Kristine Tovmasyan, Programme Specialist for Natural Sciences. During the regional coordination meeting of the DACRYN, the main areas of activities of the network were discussed in detail. The participants made presentations on the role of young researchers in science for DRR, such as the interventions by the Youth Ecological Centre in Tajikistan on Climate risks in mountain communities of Tajikistan, presentation on the first Women and Glaciers summer school that took place this year in Kyrgyzstan, the report on DRR in Uzbekistan, prepared by the students of the National University of Uzbekistan, the presentation of young researchers from the Institute of Seismology of Kazakhstan and others. The meetings also focused on the terms of reference of the network, more detailed work plan for 2020, and discussed concrete project, which are planned to be implemented next year, such as the organization of youth summer camps, advocacy events, and more work with disaster prone communities.
Kyrgyz Ak-kalpak craftsmanship and Uzbek Khorazm dance are the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Ak-kalpak craftsmanship, traditional knowledge and skills in making and wearing Kyrgyz men’s headwear (Kyrgyzstan) and Khorazm dance, Lazgi (Uzbekistan) were inscribed in the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 14th session of the Committee in Bogota, Colombia, 12 December 2019. Ak-kalpak craftsmanship, traditional knowledge and skills in making and wearing Kyrgyz men’s headwear Ak-kalpak craftsmanship is a traditional Kyrgyz handicraft. The Ak-kalpak is a traditional male hat made with white felt which bears deep sacral meanings. Ak-kalpak craftsmanship encompasses a cumulative body of knowledge and skills pertaining to felting, cutting and sewing, and pattern embroidery. The Ak-kalpak’s shape resembles a snow peak, with the four sides resembling the four elements, and the edging lines symbolising life. Ak-kalpak fosters inclusivity and unites different Kyrgyz tribes and communities. Traditionally, related knowledge and skills are transmitted from mother to daughter in craftswomen communities. Khorazm dance, Lazgi The movements of the Khorazm dance, Lazgi, exemplify human creativity in reflecting the sounds and phenomena of surrounding nature, feelings of love and happiness. Centuries-old, the Lazgi dance represents real life in all its movements, informed by the social life and activities of the local communities. Two types of the dance exist: the ‘scenery’ dance, involving concrete movements, and its interpretive form, focusing on improvisation and more changeable movements. Lazgi is a key form of self-expression transmitted over the generations through the creation of new versions of performances.
Meet our trainers for ETTC in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Dr. Eugenijus Gefenas Dr. Eugenijus Gefenas is a professor and director of the Centre for Health Ethics, Law and History at the Medical Faculty of Vilnius University. E. Gefenas graduated from the Medical Faculty of the same University in 1983 and obtained his Ph.D in medical ethics from the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law in 1993. He was a director of the Lithuanian Bioethics Committee in 1995-2018. E. Gefenas was co-directing the NIH Fogarty International Center funded training program “Advanced Certificate in Research Ethics in Central and Eastern Europe” in 2005 – 2018. His international activities include the membership in the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care as well as other organizations. E. Gefenas was a member of the Council of Europe Committee on Bioethics in 2002-2018 and its chair in 2011-2012. In 2014 he was appointed to represent Lithuania at the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) of UNESCO and was a president of this Committee in 2015 - 2017. In 2017 E. Gefenas became a member of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies appointed by the President of the European Commission. Recent areas of his professional interest include conceptual and normative issues related to human research and health care in the transition societies. Dr. Gainel Ussatayeva Dr. Gainel Ussatayeva, Associate Professor of the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health care is one of the founders of the new faculty at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in 2015. In 2016 she became a founder and chair of the first Local Ethical Committee in the university. Dr. Ussatayeva started to learn Bioethics in 2001 as a student of Kazakhstan School of Public Health. She had a strong interest in learning of cultural and religious issues of bioethics, then she concentrated on children’s rights in research. She started to teach Bioethics in 2005 with two Modules: Introduction to Bioethics and Ethical Issues in Health Research. In 2014 Dr. Ussatayeva became a Chair of Local Ethical Committee at the Kazakhstan School of Public Health. In 2015 she was trained at UNESCO’s Ethics Teachers’ Training Course (ETTC), and in 2017 – at Inter-Regional Training of Training of Trainers (ToT) for UNESCO’s ETTC. Dr. Ussatayeva graduated from S.D. Asfendiyarov Kazakh State Medical University with diploma of physician. Being a scholar of Chevning/Aga Khan Foundation she obtained Master degree at the University of Leeds in 2003 with concentration on Research Methods and Bioethics. In 2010 Dr. Ussatayeva defended PhD (Candidate of Medical Sciences) Dissertation. Current Professional Interests: Ethical Issues of Research, Injury and Violence Prevention, Inclusive Education. Dr. Ussatayeva participated to international and local projects as researcher, coordinator. She worked as a national consultant for WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank. Dr. Ussatayeva has more than 50 publications, including in indexed journals. In 2013 she received award of Honorary Specialist of Health Care from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Dr. Masoud Nassor Dr. Masoud Nassor is the Coordinator and Lecturer in Philosophy and Applied Ethics at the University of Namibia. He obtained his B.A. and M.A in International Journalism at the People's Friendship University of Russia. He holds a Ph.D of Philosophy in Philosophy from the same university under the supervision of Prof. Nur Serikovich Kirabaev. Upon returning to Tanzania, his country of origin in 1999, he was employed by Oxford University Press (TZ) for two years where he worked as an editor. In 2002, he joined the University of Dar es salaam, in the Department of Philosophy where he taught logic, philosophy of mind, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and professional ethics. In 2009, he was appointed as the first Associate Dean Academic of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es salaam. In 2013, he spent one sabbatical year at the University of Namibia, at the end of the sabbatical year he was requested to restructure the Philosophy Programme at the same university. In 2015, the programme was approved by the Senate and became operational, he is now serving as the Coordinator and Lecturer. Dr. Masoud is well recognized in UNESCO's bioethics circles as one of the international trainers. He has facilitated bioethics training in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Botswana, Lebanon, Mongolia and China. He has also translated the 2 UNESCO casebooks series (Casebook on human dignity and human rights & Casebook on benefit and harm) into Kiswahili.

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About the Office in Almaty

The UNESCO Almaty Office (established in 1994) works in four countries, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It works through and in cooperation with the National Commissions for UNESCO in each country and partner networks in its fields of competence. 

UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to peace and human development through Education, the Sciences, Culture, and Communication. 

Throughout its activities and projects, UNESCO performs the following as a laboratory of ideas, a standard setter, a clearinghouse, a capacity-builder in the Member States, a catalyst for international cooperation.