The visit of a delegation from Uzbekistan
On 5 March 2018, the Al-Furqan Heritage Foundation was honoured by a visit from an esteemed delegation from Uzbekistan, consisting of both academics and members of the government, as following:• Dr Shoazim Minovarov, Director of the Islamic Civilization Centre (Head of the Delegation, former State Advisor to the President of Uzbekistan);• Dr Roiq Bakhodirov, Director of the Centre for Research of Uzbekistan’s Cultural Artefacts Abroad (also former State Advisor to the President of Uzbekistan);• Dr Ziyodov, Director of the Imam Al Bukhari Research Centre;• Dr Jasur Najmiddinov, Director of the Islamic Research Centre under the Tashkent Islamic University;• Mr Islomov, Senior Consultant, the Administration of the President of Uzbekistan;• His Excellency Dr Alisher Shaykhov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan in London;• Mr Jamshed Safarov, Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London.
The visit commenced with a welcome speech from the Foundation’s Director, Mr Sali Shahsivari, in which he outlined the history of the Foundation, its main spheres of interest, and its current projects and activities.
In turn, His Excellency Dr Alisher Shaykhov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan in London, along with Dr Shoazim Minovarov, Director of the Islamic Civilization Centre in Uzbekistan, both expressed their thanks at being hosted, wishing - in their words - to have “made this the first visit of our tour.” They informed the Foundation of the huge interest in Islamic heritage and scholarship, particularly relating to Uzbekistan, that has emerged under the leadership of President Mirziyoyev. This included a showcase of a major government-backed undertaking, i.e. the establishment of “The Centre of Islamic Civilization in Uzbekistan”, which aimed to host five centres in one complex, including a museum, a library with access to many tens of thousands of manuscripts, a publishing department, an education department and a manuscript and research department. With such ambitious plans, the delegation collectively took a keen and particular interest in the Foundation’s digital portal and made many enquiries about its role and function, for which Mrs Karima Benaicha, the officer in charge of Datasets & Online Database at Al-Furqan, offered many crucial details, including the scale of the project, how it began and which stage it has reached.
There were illuminating discussions between the different guests on the number of manuscripts in existence in Uzbekistan, both in public and private collections, including a potential partnership on making the manuscript catalogues and digitized images of the manuscripts themselves available to all visitors of the Al-Furqan Foundation’s digital portal, and that of the future Centre of Islamic Civilization. Other potential ideas pertaining to future collaboration and projects were also discussed, including a promise to exchange manuscript catalogues in the immediate future.