Festive Launch of the Brussels-Uzbekistan Friendship Group
At a small reception held on Monday, 22 March at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels, a new initiative – the Brussels-Uzbekistan Friendship Group – was launched, coinciding with the Navruz holiday, symbolising the arrival of spring, the awakening of nature and life, renewal, rebirth and prosperity. At the reception, guests enjoyed traditional Uzbek cuisine, a photo exhibition about modern Uzbekistan and an exhibition of national modern clothes designed by a new clothing brand – Silk & Cotton – which show all the depth, versatility and luxury of Uzbek ikat.
The ceremony was hosted by H.E. Dilyor Khakimov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the EU and the Benelux countries. Distinguished attendees included Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia; and Fulvio Martusciello, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Central Asia. Representatives from the diplomatic community, businesses, think tanks, friends of Diplomatic World and Uzbek diaspora were also present.
As the country continues in its ambitious journey of political, economic and social reform and modernisation, this newly established Friendship Group sees as its main task to accompany and support Uzbekistan on its way into the future, and perhaps most importantly to bring Uzbekistan to a wider audience beyond niche expert and policymaking circles through a variety of thematic activities, which will include analytical research, information evenings for the general public devoted to tourism promotion, cultural activities, small-scale conferences etc.
The Friendship Group intends to add value to the already existing initiatives linking Belgium, the EU and Uzbekistan (such as the Europe-Uzbekistan Association for Economic Cooperation or the Belgium-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Friendship Group) by focusing on bringing the EU and Uzbekistan closer in the cultural, artistic, tourism and academic domains, strengthening people-to-people dialogue and linkages in the process.
The co-founders of the Friendship Group very much look forward to cultural exchange and joint projects, especially in this year 2021 which is so special for Uzbekistan. Not only are we celebrating the 30th anniversary of independence but also presidential elections will be held in October.
The team of the Brussels-Uzbekistan Friendship group has been engaged for many years with Uzbekistan. After a lengthy absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to once again directly engage with our partners and stakeholders in Uzbekistan this year; as well as to actively participate in high-level forums scheduled to take place, such as Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Conference to be held in Tashkent and the Cultural Forum ‘Central Asia at the Crossroads of Civilizations’ due to be held in Khiva later this year with the support of UNESCO.