Kyrgyzstan’s first TEDxYouth event

Over 300 hundred young people from across Kyrgyzstan attended a live broadcast of the #TEDxYouthBishkek organized by UNICEF and partners.

By Mavliuda Dzhaparova
На сцене TEDxBishkek
ЮНИСЕФ Кыргызстан/2017/С. Бараталиев
01 November 2017

Over 300 hundred young people from across Kyrgyzstan attended a live broadcast of the #TEDxYouthBishkek organized by UNICEF and partners.

Two weeks prior to the event, the UNICEF team launched a hashtag #ЭлдинБалдары (somebody’s children) which trended within hours on Facebook and Twitter in Kyrgyzstan. The phrase is used as part of the wider 'social norms' communication within the country and discourages people from comparing one child with other children to demonstrate better behaviour.

Social media users posted memories from their childhood as well as present day using #ЭлдинБалдары. After the launch the hashtag became the official title of the TEDxYouth event organized by UNICEF as part of its 70th anniversary campaign.

Great speakers are the key to TED-talks so UNICEF and partners carefully selected 11 speakers to inspire the audience and motivate youth to maximise their talents. The speakers included Nurgazy Jakshylykbek uulu - a young activist with disabilities, Ulanbek Egizabaev - a journalist from the leading media Azatyk, Aliya Shagieva - a young artist and the President’s daughter, Eldana Satybaldieva - a famous video blogger with half a million followers, Talgat Subanaliev - a Kyrgyz student who travelled to the Antarctic, and Esen Tursusbekov - UNICEF specialist on water, hygiene and sanitation.

The event was opened by Parliament Member Janar Akaev, Minister of Education Elvira Sarieva, Regional Conflict Adviser for Central Asia of the British Embassy Jamie Brockbank and UNICEF Representative Yukie Mokuo. It attracted a wide range of partners including the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan which provided US$1,200 to support the event, the National Broadcasting TV Company ‘KTRK’ which provided a studio and arranged a live broadcast free of charge for the five hour event, and many coffee shops which sold tickets and promoted it. The recorded video is also going to be re-broadcast through the national channel.

The TEDxYouth was the final event of UNICEF’s National Youth Internship project supported by the UK Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. This initiative has leveraged the Government’s support and budget funding to expand employment opportunities for young people. Following effective policy dialogue and advocacy with the Ministry of Education and the Agency for Youth Affairs, Sports and Physical Culture, the internship programme is now part of the Government’s road map for professional orientation of young people, to be piloted in additional 100 schools nationwide, and it has been expanded in Naryn province with the committed public budget.

For many years, the UK Embassy in Bishkek has helped children and youth in Kyrgyzstan.

"The UK Embassy has been pleased to support UNICEF and the work within the Internship Programme. Personally, I did three internships: private company, the British Parliament and the American Parliament. What I have learned and call on you to follow is ‘Find out what you like doing best and find someone to pay you for doing it!'" - Jamie Brockbank, the British Embassy representative.

The audience warmly greeted Nurgazy and Ulanbek. Nurgazy has always had a long and difficult trek to school. Unable to use his legs, he relies on schoolmates to push him on the bumpy roads of his remote mountainous village in Kyrgyzstan. All he wanted is a four-wheeler - and he got it. His heart touching story on disability and passion for life and education, featured by Ulanbek Egizbaev, the Radio Free Europe journalist, got the Webby Award. They went to New York together to receive the prize. Now Nurgazy believes that all barriers are in mind and together with Ulanbek called to follow the dream and fight for realizing full potential of everybody.

“We call for an inclusive society, where everyone can fulfil their own potential. We are here to support the voices of children and youth to make them not only heard by decision- makers but also help to listen to each other and get inspired”, - Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan.

Another speaker, Aliya Shagieva, presented intuitive painting as an art therapy. She was drawing on the stage and taught the audience to hear their inner voices through art. Eldana Satybaldieva, popular video blogger, called youth to find their own path and enjoy being themselves without comparing with others and judging. During the event many people tweeted quotes and updates and the hashtag #TedxYouthBishkek was on the top of the Twitter list for the country and reached over one million online users.

На сцене TEDxBishkek
ЮНИСЕФ Кыргызстан/2016/С. Бараталиев
UNICEF Representative Yukie Mokuo, Regional Advisor on Central Asia of the UK Embassy Jamy Brockband, Minister of Education Elvira Sariyeva, and MP Janar Akayev.