Kyrgyzstan’s voice to be heard: Fifteen-year-old Ishkhan Buyuklyanov heads to J8
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 27 June 2008 - For the first time, Kyrgyzstan will be represented at the global children’s summit - Junior 8, which will be held on the island of Hokkaido, Japan from 2 to 9 July. Since 2005, J8 has given children and young people around the world the opportunity to present their concerns and views, as well as require future action from G8 leaders.
Ishkhan Buyuklyanov, a 15-year-old student from Kyrgyzstan was chosen after winning a selection competition organized by UNICEF. Ishkhan is a very active member in his school and community affairs. He is president of a school organization called “21st Century Generation”, and the chairperson of the school parliament. He is also a member of the Birimdik District children’s organization and the city Shyktanuu’s youth organization. He has chosen poverty to be his discussion topic at J8, which has an agenda that mirrors that of the G8.
On 25 June, Ishkhan had the honor to meet with the President of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiev. The President told Ishkhan that the news of him going the J8 was unexpected, but certainly a welcomed one. “You see, we agree 100 per cent: the most important issue for Kyrgyzstan today is poverty reduction, especially reduction in child poverty,” said the President. "The country is doing a lot to reduce poverty, and there is still a lot more to do. But I am sure that Kyrgyzstan has a bright future, because the country has the most important resource – bright, talented and committed young people like you, Ishkhan.”
“I chose the theme of poverty reduction because I have always been shocked by the many children begging on the streets of Bishkek,” explained Ishkhan. “During the preparations for the Summit I visited centres for homeless children, and talked with children there who have had unbelievably difficult lives. After coming back from the Summit we will work even more to bring hope back to these children,” said Ishkhan.
President Bakiev also expressed his thanks to UNICEF, for all the work the organization has done in his country to improve the lives of children, and for supporting the candidacy of Ishkhan.
“We share your pride in your compatriot, who will represent not just Kyrgyzstan at the Children’s Summit, but also the whole region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said UNICEF Representative Tim Schaffter. He noted that in one President Bakiev’s address made earlier this year, a lot of attention was given to the importance of development and protection of children.
“The essence of your speech was in full accordance with the goals and tasks which UNICEF has set itself,” added Mr. Shaffter. “At the moment issues of increasing access to pre-school education, reducing anemia among the population, preventing the institutionalization of children and creating active service systems for families of risk groups are particularly important for us.”
At the end of the meeting, the President assured Ishkhan that they will meet again after the Summit, to “think together how to speed up the process of poverty reduction in Kyrgyzstan, and what the role of young people is”.
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