Kadyr Toktogulov, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the United States, engages University

Kerong Kelly, Managing Editor

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Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan, Kadyr Toktogulov, engaged the University community on Oct. 21 on his work as ambassador. In his talk entitled “Kyrgyzstan and Post-Soviet Region Politics: Revolutions, Policy Challenges & Imagining the Future,” Toktogulov offered insight on the country’s political, cultural, and historical heritage as well as the current situation.

Toktogulov began the presentation by showing short video clips of Kyrgyzstan and highlighting the importance of nature, resources, and heritage to the Kyrgyz people. Toktogulov expressed the urgency of climate change and global warming, industry, and recent corrupt governments that led to mass demonstrations and eventually the ousting of two presidents.

Toktogulov emphasized the impact of democratic tradition on the future of Kyrgyzstan and its place in the international community. In the 2005 and 2010 revolutions, steps were taken to increase transparency through the implementation of systems such as biometric voting and accurate gross domestic product reporting.

Toktogulov is a former student of the University’s current Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Amanda Wooden. Toktogulov elaborated on his experience at the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan where Wooden taught, recounting his thoughts of the class.

“There are too many realists in this class,” Toktogulov said.

Toktogulov then explained how his journalistic background led him to politics and ultimately his vision as Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan.

“We get news coverage every five years for revolutions. For me as a journalist, the rise of social media changes the way we consume information,” Toktogulov said.

Toktogulov is hopeful about the future of Kyrgyzstan. As a relatively new nation, Kyrgyzstan faces challenges including global warming and diminishing environment, corruption, ethnic tension within Kyrgyzstan, and the future of water and irrigation. Toktogulov indicated the importance of social media and cited its popularity in Kyrgyzstan. He encourages the University community to reach out to him via Twitter @KadyrToktogulov.

“The Ambassador was very diplomatic. He really emphasized how Kyrgyzstan is looking to be more transparent in their democracy and I appreciate his talk,” Grace Hwang ’19 said.

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