Prof. Yakubov had visited Uzbekistan two weeks ago, as an international observer to the presidential elections. The Israeli delegation included 8 representatives that were chosen by the Uzbek embassy as guests of the central elections committee in Uzbekistan. The group was part of 600 observers from 40 countries that were invited in order to show the world that the elections are democratic and open.
Prof. Eduard Yakubov observs one of the ballot boxes in the presidential elections in Uzbekistan
"Uzbekistan is undergoing a liberation process in an attempt to copy European countries" says Prof. Yakubov. "In conversations I had with various people there, it seems that they are welcoming the change and it is manifested in the large number of voters -87%."
The transition from the Russian dictatorship regime to the modern democratic regime is in process and the fact that they are conducting elections and inviting observers is a major part of it."
According to Prof. Yakubov, Israel can play a vital role in the changing phase which Uzbekistan is going through. Both countries have full diplomatic relationships since 1992, and even though it is an Islamic county, it is considered a true and close friend of Israel's. Prof. Yakubov says that in the last 25 years the Uzbek government did not support any UN vote against Israel and when the country hosted the last meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) last October, not a word about Israel or the Israeli Palestinian conflict was said.
Prof. Eduard Yakubov at the convention hall of the international conference on elections and laws un Tashkent
"They regard Isarel as a technological empire with great achievements in medicine, agriculture, security and hi-tech, so why should we not take advantage of that?" he says. "If we maintain close relations with them we can encourage their development as a modern country and will not allow the extremists to influence them".
Prof. Yakubov emphasizes that although the people of Uzbekistan are Muslims, they have always kept good relationship with the Jewish community and have even opened their doors to Jews who had efled the Nazi occupied Poland during WW2.
According to Prof. Yakubov, Jews who had left Uzbekistan after the fall of the Soviet Union, can play a significant role in getting the two peoples together and strengthening the ties between both countries, since they understand the language and the mentality. HIT as an example, was the first academic institution in Israel to sign a cooperation agreement with the Tashkent State Technical University in the fields of Cyber and technology.
"Higher education can be a bridge to a better future" says Prof. Yakubov and since Uzbekistan is a young country, judging by the average age of its population, the elected president will need a new generation of leaders and managers to help lead this country, while always looking to the western world for support.