what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Three Years in Uzbekistan

Uzbek’s dictator has died – having held on to office for some 30 years, His replacement could well be someone I knew from my 3 years as Team Leader of an EU-funded Civil Service Reform project in the country between 1999 and 2002 - Shavkat Mirziyoyev who served as governor of Jizzakh Region from 1996 to September 2001, then as governor of Samarkand Region from September 2001 until his appointment as Prime Minister in 2003, a position he has held until now.
The project was required to have 2 “pilot regions” which were his two of Jizzakh and Samarkand. He was chairman of the project’s Steering Committee…….

Ours was quite a large team which was attached to the Cabinet of the President’s Office – indeed we were supposed to be inside their building but it was blown apart by a bomb a few month’s before I arrival so we had to put up with a big office overlooking the scaffolding as it was refurbished.

I had some amazing experiences in the country whose atmosphere was quite unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere – with a fascinating combination, for example, of ornate tea ceremonies and hard drinking. Early on Al-Queeda gained some Jizzakh mountain passes near its capital Tashkent (this was before Craig Murray’s time) which put them off-limits to us for some months. I acquired a taste for painting there – as well as rugs and terra-cotta figurines. 

Some people might consider it dubious to be involved with work in such regimes but I felt privileged to be allowed to stand in a classroom of the Tashkent Presidential Academy for Reconstruction and present to civil servants the sort of perspective about power enshrined in Rosabeth Kanter's Ten Rules of Stifling Innovation - and also to lay out the European experience of developing local government over the centuries. One of the papers I did then was Transfer of Functions - the West European experience 1970-2000 and can be accessed on the link - all 60 pages......
Coincidentally or not, the esteemed President decided a few years later that political science was not an acceptable subject and had its study subsumed under the title of "Spirituality and Enlightenment"

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