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Launched in 2017, The Karimov Foundation plays an important role in promoting education in Uzbekistan. A major program of the foundation is its scholarship program which helps talented Uzbek students pursue postgraduate studies abroad. One of the founders of the foundation, Lola Tillyaeva says:
“The aim of the scholarship program is to help some of Uzbekistan’s most promising students pursue postgraduate education at leading universities all around the world. The foundation’s hope is that the knowledge, skills, and new perspectives the student will bring back will contribute to the development of a bright and prosperous future for Uzbekistan.”
Scholarships cover a two-year master’s degree program of the student’s choice at their preferred university. The scholarships are awarded for a wide variety of academic fields including mechanical engineering, renewable energy, water management, architecture and fine arts. Througout the duration of their postgraduate studies, the foundation remains in regular contact with students to offer ongoing support.
The scholarship is merit-based, and students have to meet a wide range of criteria. English language skills are usually necessary, along with excellent academic results in the relevant discipline during their undergraduate degrees. In the most recent intake of the scholarship program, 300 students applied from institutions across Uzbekistan, and after a rigorous selection process 11 of them were awarded scholarships. Current scholars of the program are studying at universities in Germany, the UK and Italy.
Though this program is the centrepiece of the Karimov Foundation’s work, there are also other educational initiatives the foundation undertakes. The Student Essay Competition was launched three years ago and it encourages university students in Uzbekistan to write about a variety of topics, such as the country’s recent political history, and submit their essays. The competition is judged by a panel of experts and winners receive prizes to reward their efforts.
Lola Tillyaeva still plays a central role at the foundation. As chair of the board she supervises the foundations operations and ensures that its programs, “promote appreciation for Uzbekistan’s rich cultural heritage.”
Promoting Uzbek culture has always been a passion of Lola’s. In 2018, she co-produced the full-length feature film, Ulugh Beg: The Man Who Unlocked the Universe with her husband, businessman Timur Tillyaev. The film was produced to promote the life and legacy of Ulugh Begh, a great Central Asian astronomer and ruler of Samarkand.
Most recently, Lola Tillyaeva founded La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan, a gallery in downtown Paris. The gallery features exquisite hand-crafted furnishings, hand woven silks and hand crafted ceramics. Lola envisages the gallery to act as “a cultural bridge between Europe and Central Asia and a means of introducing Uzbekistan’s rich cultural heritage to a European audience.”
Through these initiatives, Lola Tillyaeva is promoting the image of Uzbekistan globally and also investing in the country’s future progress.
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