International Uzbek-British Women’s Forum of Business and Culture “Pearl of the East”

The precursor to joint British-Uzbek events was an international forum titled “Socio-Economic Initiatives of Women in Uzbekistan” put together in May 2008 in Samarkand by SABR and Haven Wolverhampton.  The forum gave itself the goal of developing an action plan for female leaders in Uzbekistan with an eye to helping them contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country, women’s entrepreneurship, national traditions and the fostering of moral and spiritual values and highlighting women’s capabilities.

The First “Pearl of the East” Women’s Forum was held in October 2009 in London. The forum sought to highlight the situation of women in Uzbekistan, women’s role in the development of civil society and Uzbek economy; to promote the achievements of Uzbek NGOs internationally; and to forge partnerships between Uzbek and British women leaders. The forum included a conference of Uzbek and British female leaders; a presentation of the book “The Silk Road to Development” co-authored by Kath Rees and Mavluda Shirinova, leaders of NGOs; a photo exhibition “Modern Women in Uzbekistan” featuring works by the co-founder of the Timurid Art and History Association, Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand (France); an Uzbek Applied Art Exhibition; and performances by the Ofarin dance group. The forum resulted in a decision to hold an international women’s business forum once every two years.
The Second International Uzbek-British Women’s Forum of Business and Culture “Development of Social Partnership: Experience and Strategies” took place in Samarkand and Tashkent on October 22 and 24, 2011. It was organized to develop collaboration between the two countries in business, education, cultural and the civil sector and work out a cooperation strategy for the development of social entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan. In addition to plenary sessions, participants participated in sections such as “Business, Science and Education”, “The Social Responsibility of Business”, “Culture, Art and Business”, and “Civil Society Institutes” (develop partnerships and joint projects addressing social problems and societal development). The forum included a photo exhibition of works by Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand.

The Third British-Uzbek Women’s Forum “Pearl of the East” / Development of Civil Society Institutes: Basic Concepts, Models and Approaches took place on November 13, 2013 in London, the UK. The forum was held as part of the IBPP project “Support of the Development of the Local Community for Sustainable Livelihood and Living Standards Improvement in Rural Areas”. The goals of the forum included presentation of a development model for society in Uzbekistan and successful examples of social partnership among three sectors in addressing social problems related to the improvement of living standards for women and children; exchange of experience and development of a strategy of cooperation between the two countries’ civil society institutions. The third forum was attended by members of the two countries’ parliaments, diplomatic corps, government bodies, civil society institutions, businesses and media organizations. The forum included conferences, a roundtable session, training sessions for NGOs, exhibitions “Ancient Architecture in Uzbekistan” featuring works by Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand and “One Day from the Life of NGOs in Uzbekistan” as well as a concert by prominent Uzbek singer Munojat Yulchiyeva.

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