By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by Karen Loberg/Ventura County Star

Tajikistan delegation strive to keep peace with help from Simi Valley's focus on youth empowerment


October 15, 2014


SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - Tajikistan, one of the republics of the former Soviet Union, had to start over after a six-year civil war that led to the territory’s independence in 1991, according to Farrukh Ashrapov, 26, of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

“Civil war ... destroyed all the infrastructure ... so now we have to start almost from the beginning,” Ashrapov told the Rotary Club of Simi Valley during its meeting Tuesday at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center.

“The civil war took away thousands of lives,” he said. “Many of us remember those days and we try to keep peace by all means in our country.”

Ashrapov, a communications specialist, was among five delegates, one facilitator and an interpreter from Tajikistan who explored Simi Valley’s city government and its focus on youth leadership through the Open World Program, sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center.

Their stay included visits to the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, Simi Valley Boys & Girls Club and Simi Valley Youth Employment Services.

“The program ... provides an effective U.S. exchange program for the countries of the former Soviet Union,” Gordon Lindeen, a member of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of People to People who coordinated the visit, told the audience. “It also helps the U.S. Congress understand what’s going on in other countries.”

Farkhodjon Nozimovich Jabborov, 28, a lecturer at Tajik State University of Commerce, said Simi Valley’s youths are especially proactive.

“All young people wish to cooperate with one another; they actively participate in political life,” Jabborov said through translator Aleksandr V. Lukoff. “I’m very glad that we saw the young people’s network; I would like to create such a networking in my own town.”

Jabborov added the Simi Valley community is “very kind and very down to earth.”

The delegation had lunch with the Rotarians before being introduced as a group on stage, where they delivered a presentation about the diverse sovereign country that reflects elements of Islamic, Greek and Buddhist cultures.

“Tajikistan has a long history more than 3,000 years old,” Davron Aleksandrovich Khikmatov, 23, told the audience while showing a map of Central Asia. “Our country is a beautiful place ... known for its many lakes and beautiful nature.”

Facilitator Mahmud Kurbonalievich Naimov translated for Aydarsho Mukairshoevich Makulshoev, 22: “We see ... a human as a world; if there is a problem in some way, the whole human will suffer. We think the world is the same. If there is some problem in a corner of the world the whole world suffers.”

Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, a Rotarian, expressed his gratitude for the group’s focus on youth empowerment.

“Our youth employment service board was approved by the City Council because in our city, we believe empowering our youth is very important,” said Huber, further noting a youth council is part of city government. “We are very committed to our young people because after all it’s our future and our future in our town is very bright because we have a lot of involvement.”

Ashrapov thanked Emomalii Rahmon, president of Tajikistan, for bringing harmony for a new beginning.

“We should all thank him for actually establishing peace,” Ashrapov said. “We’re trying to recover from all the devastation ... and choose the right path for our future.”




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