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We are going on an adventure!

It finally happened: YPARD-Uzbekistan officially organized a national meeting which was held at ICARDA-Tashkent office on 12th August 2016.

Eight young professionals, two ICARDA-Tashkent officials doubled up as observers and a number of ICARDA junior and senior researchers were presented at the meeting.

After we had successfully organized a national meeting at Tashkent State Agrarian University together with CACAARI earlier this year, I felt really confident in holding the first official YPARD-Uzbekistan meeting. I said to myself: “If I could perform in front of dozens of students at the university, I can surely handle to facilitate a small meeting”. But it was not as easy as it seemed to be because as i discovered, it is quite a skill to conduct discussions and keeping pace and interest of audience during the whole event even  for the small ones. 

Fortunately enough, I was able to deliver to the participants the idea of the meeting, that is, emphasize the role of youth (particularly youth of Uzbekistan) in making contribution to Agricultural research for development (AR&D) issues and contribute actively to e-discussions and related events. So, I have to say, it was a breakthrough!

The first part of the meeting was inspired from the impression the GCARD3 event had on me. I  shared the outcomes of the conference and how they align with the significant role of young people in the global event and their priceless contribution on making it happen (YAP finalists, social media bootcamp and so on). This was more focussed on how young people in the GCARD3 made important contribution through live reporting, sharing innovative stories (YAP finalists), and being part of the panelists (Jim Cano and others)

Afterwards, we had series of discussions on the importance of youth for the future of agriculture, their impact and potential to solve the global agricultural issues etc. Particularly, one of the topics of discussions I chose was climate-smart agriculture (CSA) which  happened to be the main theme of the event – “Youth engagement in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and the 2030 agenda for Central Asia and the Caucasus” 

The reason for this is that one of the attendees at the meeting (Mr. Zafar Gafurov) recently participated in the regional workshop of applying CSA within the Central Asian and Southern Caucasus region (CAC) where he played role as a participant.As such, this made me think  of the important role he would play in not only defining what CSA is, but also in moderating the discussions.

The end of the meeting was followed by the core idea: encouraging young people of Uzbekistan to be involved in the present and future e-discussions, share success stories of the research field, etc. According to initial plan, these discussions were warm-up for participants as I wanted them to feel free and express their opinion which was well received.

Basically, it was all about pointing out the relevance of YPARD network and its community in supporting youth in line with other global organizations which are willing and ready to support and help young talents.

At this stage, ICARDA officials, as the first step suggested our team to organize some sort of young talents competition within Tashkent State Agrarian University in collaboration with the  national stakeholders, national media and journalists. The ICARDA officials suggested that this would be a good start to all of us in identifying young talents and helping them to further develop their skills and promote them globally. And the icing on the cake was that ICARDA was and is ready to support the initiative.

Of course, the ending part was followed by the celebration of YPARD 10 years’ anniversary and International Youth Day. At this moment, we could not help but have a tea party with a traditional cake as the main dish.

Before officially closing the meeting, I said these words: “Veni Vidi Vici – We came, We saw, We conquered”. Basically, I meant that we should “come” on stage of YPARD community (YPARD-Uzbekistan), “see” which is used here as “actively participate” and “conquer” by meaning “receiving benefits”. It’s all about metaphorical narration so let’s make this our slogan and start our active participation in the YPARD network!

Hopefully, I believe that this first step was the hardest in the long and continuous team work. To this end,I am confident to state that the journey begins and we, as a team, are about to experience a wonderful adventure ahead!