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Global Youth Festival: Education, Development, Initiative, Equality and Peace

28.6.2024 240

Muhammadshukur MUHAMMADJONOV, “Yoshlar Ovozi” Correspondent

Samarkand’s history, which is described as the Pearl of the East, is more than 2750 years old. It is one of the oldest cities on the planet, equal to Rome and Athens. This land is a true example of oriental hospitality and a center of world culture. Representatives of several nationalities and peoples have lived here in friendship, solidarity, and consensus. In ancient times, Europeans called Samarkand Eastern Babylon.

Even today, Samarkand continues to amaze the people of the world and foreign tourists with its handicraft samples and rich historical heritage. A person who comes here feels like he has fallen into the pages of history. The most significant monuments of medieval architecture deserve special attention. As the old proverb says, “It is better to see once than to hear a hundred times”.

So, welcome to the Pearl of the East – Samarkand!

Samarkand has hosted many festivals, forums, cultural events, and visits and is visited by billions of tourists. However, this year’s festival is completely different, and its guests are the happiest people in the world.

Samarkand is currently hosting another big event. About 1,000 of the most advanced, enterprising, creative, and leading young people in their fields from about 150 countries gathered at the council of new innovative projects. The slogan “Education, development, initiative, equality and peace” became the main idea of ​​the festival.

To ensure the implementation of proposals and initiatives of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan at international events at a high level, on June 26-30, the Global Youth Festival is being held in the country for the first time. The festival’s opening ceremony was organized on June 26 in the amphitheater of the Eternal City Complex in Samarkand with the participation of 1.5 thousand young people.

The extent to which the city of Samarkand is prepared for the youth festival is reflected in the conditions and opportunities created for the participants. We were interested in the opinions of Husan Tokhtayev, the Deputy Hokim of Samarkand region for youth policy, social development and spiritual and educational affairs, about the preparation for the international event.

“We are glad that the most advanced youth of the world united in Uzbekistan and that Samarkand was the first destination of the festival. From the moment the festival was announced, we started planning its organization. To keep the festival in a good mood, a working group consisting of the regional hokimiyat, the regional administration of the Youth Affairs Agency, and several other organizations was formed. A plan was developed to ensure the safety of the participants and improve the quality of service provided to them. There is a reason for that the festival is held in the Eternal City. The goal is to show guests Uzbekistan’s rich history, tourism potential, and national culture. The city of Samarkand is always ready to host such a large-scale event”.

Alisher Sadullayev, Director of the Youth Affairs Agency, addressed the festival’s opening ceremony, which took place in the Eternal City Complex in Samarkand. He welcomed the festival participants and their visit to the country and spoke about the youth policy implemented in the country and the work being carried out to protect the rights and interests of the young generation.

“Two organizations are operating in our country that serve to unite young people and bring out their talents”, says Alisher Sadullayev, Director of the Youth Affairs Agency. “They are the Youth Union of Uzbekistan and the Youth Affairs Agency. Many projects are being implemented at the initiative of these organizations. More than 4,700,000 boys and girls participated in the “Young Reader” contest alone, and 20 were given a car as a gift from the President. The “Reading” project was launched to form the reading culture of young people. For young people who want to learn foreign languages, the “Ibrat Children” project was established, and an opportunity was created for them to learn foreign languages ​​for free through the “Ibrat Academy” mobile application. A “Youth Register” is kept in each mahalla, and young people with various social problems are recorded. The state provides the necessary support for them to find their place in society. A new era in working with young people has been introduced in every mahalla of the country – a unique system that does not exist in any country of the world – the position of youth leader in the mahalla”.

The festival’s first day began in Samarkand with meetings between the Director of the Youth Affairs Agency, Alisher Sadullayev, and youth affairs officials from several countries. During the dialogue, issues related to protecting young people's rights and interests and implementing various projects in cooperation were discussed.

At the plenary session of the festival, detailed information was given about the opportunities created for the Uzbekistan youth, the relevant legislation, and various social projects.

Ministers of youth affairs from several countries and leaders of youth organizations also addressed the event. They expressed gratitude to the country’s leadership for organizing the festival at a high level.

“I am happy to participate in the event among the world’s young people”, says Yekaterina Tokhtarova, Representative of the Kazakhstan delegation. “I represent the “Mehribonlik” volunteer society in Kazakhstan. Our organization has been operating for 20 years, and we help citizens with disabilities in various ways. We have also organized sports and creative clubs. We aim to make new friends and exchange ideas with them at the festival. Together with me, about 50 representatives of Kazakhstan’s youth came to Samarkand, and each of them contributed to the development of one or another area of ​​society. Today, the most active youth of Kazakhstan are in Samarkand, Uzbekistan!”

On the first day of the festival, “Discover ideas worth promoting!” face-to-face meetings, roundtable discussions, and an exhibition of national dishes were held. A gastronomic festival was organized for foreign guests, and a unique atmosphere was created in harmony with foreign and Uzbek national dances. Volunteers taught our national dances to the festival participants.

“This is a great opportunity to exchange experience among young people”, said Mohammed Ragab, representative of the Egyptian Youth Affairs Organization. “Uzbekistan is a wonderful country. I liked the atmosphere and food of the country. I witnessed that important work is being carried out in your country to support the proposals and initiatives of young people. I was especially impressed by the educational projects. I invite all my friends to Uzbekistan”.

More than 15 international events are planned as part of the festival. Strengthening international relations and exchanging views on reforms in the education system are becoming the main topics at the events. The Global Education Forum was held in Samarkand, where the world’s youth gathered. A group of young people of different nationalities discussed global projects related to education, entrepreneurship, innovation, IT startups, and ecology and presented their proposals and projects.

“The Global Youth Forum helps to develop the world together, to bring international relations to a new level”, says Razi Ibrahim, representative of the delegation of the Republic of Bangladesh. “This is very important for us. We are young people who want to make the world better. For this, constant communication and exchange of ideas is important. We are presenting the youth policy of our country at the festival”.

An international youth eco-camp project is also being held within the framework of the festival. At the camp, which gathers nature-loving youth, participants are participating in active group training, masterclasses, and environmental projects.

The event aims to discuss the role of young people in the fight against climate change, allow young environmental activists to promote their proposals and initiatives, and support the integration of the youth environmental movement in these regions. After the camp’s flag was officially raised, the participants began developing proposals for expanding the action plan “Regional Strategy for Promoting the Culture of Sustainable Development and Engaging Children and Youth in the Climate Agenda.”

They can present their proposals and ideas internationally, opening opportunities to influence global environmental and climate initiatives. This day reminded everyone, regardless of age or profession, that they can contribute to protecting nature and fighting climate change.

“Ecology and environment protection are among the most urgent problems today”, says one of the participants in the international youth eco-camp project. “The eco-camp is creating a platform for sharing world experiences in nature conservation and discussing solutions to problems with foreign youth. We are organizing debates on the development and implementation of new projects. I think that these actions will not stop there. Initiatives will continue”.

Islamic World Youth Park was created in the Tourism Center of Samarkand within the Youth Forum of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. About 30 members of the foreign delegation participated in planting fruit and ornamental tree seedlings in the garden.

Also, within the framework of the festival, the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Youth Network “Unbounded Opportunities” was held. The summit was organized based on 2 sessions, in which qualified experts in inclusive education, ecology, and volunteering made presentations. The sessions were attended by representatives of foreign countries who are members of the Non-Aligned Movement and local experts.

At the meeting, issues of global climate, environmental situation, and protection of youth rights were discussed. Following the summit, practical proposals for developing the sectors were developed.

“Today we rediscovered Samarkand”, says Shabnam Rahimzoda, the First Deputy Chairman of the Youth and Sports Committee of Tajikistan. “The ancient and eternal city is in everyone’s attention with its national traditions, values, customs, and friendly and hospitable people. I got fully acquainted with the youth reforms in Uzbekistan. Experts recognize that the activity of the mahalla youth leader is an important part of the youth policy. The youth of your country are united and promoting innovative projects. The Head of your country supports their new initiatives. Our peers who came to the festival from different parts of the world presented new initiatives and proposals in education, sports, and IT”.

The Laser Show was shown in the magnificent Registan Square in Samarkand. The “Young Diplomats Summit” was held to discuss modern diplomacy trends. At the summit, prospects and opportunities for global cooperation in digital, cultural, climate, and other fields were discussed. Trends and problems of diplomacy in modern conditions, digitization, information and cyber security in international relations, horizontal diplomacy, and the future of integration associations were considered.

“I’ve heard a lot about Samarkand, but I’ve never been here before”, said Juanquine Castro, a participant in the festival from the Philippines. “I was able to come to your country because of the Global Youth Festival. I tried Uzbek food for the first time and it’s tastier than I thought. Your most popular dish is called pilaf. I tried that food. I would have missed such an opportunity if I had not participated in the festival. I thank the organizers”.

The Global Youth Festival started in Samarkand, and on June 27, the participants left for Khorezm, Bukhara, Tashkent regions, and Tashkent city. Events as part of the festival will continue until June 30 in 5 regions of the country. Today, June 30, a gala concert will be held at the Humo Arena Ice Palace in Tashkent on the occasion of Youth Day and the closing ceremony of the Global Youth Festival.

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