First Lady and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev & Ziroatkhon Hoshimova

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has won a crushing presidential election victory to succeed the late Islam Karimov in December 2016. The election of Shavkat Mirziyoyev as the president of Uzbekistan, underscored the need for comprehensive reforms in the country. Uzbekistan, a major grower of cotton and a producer of natural gas, borders Afghanistan and lies in a strategic region where Russia, China, and the west vie for influence. It is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes Russia and China, but pulled out of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation for the second time in 2012. In a speech in September 2016, Mirziyoyev said that strengthening ties with neighbouring central Asian states was “the main priority” for Uzbekistan’s foreign policy and has won praise for apparent steps in that direction.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev was born on July 24, 1957, in Zaamin district of Jizzakh region in the family of doctors. He is an ethnic Uzbek, and holds higher education. In 1981 he graduated from the Tashkent Institute of Engineers of Irrigation and Mechanization of Agriculture, and received a degree in mechanical engineer. He holds a title of Academic Candidate (PhD) in Technical Sciences, and Associate Professor. Shavkat Mirziyoyev started his career in 1981 at the Tashkent Institute of Engineers of Irrigation and Mechanization of Agriculture, where he worked as a junior research fellow, senior lecturer, associate professor, and eventually Vice Rector for academic affairs. In 1990, he was elected deputy of the Supreme Council of the republic, and at the same time served as Chairman of the Credentials Committee.

In 1992, Shavkat Mirziyoyev was appointed hokim (governor) of Mirzo Ulugbek district of Tashkent city. In 1996-2001, he worked as hokim of Jizzakh region, in 2001-2003 hokim of Samarkand region, and made a great contribution to the socio-economic development of the above-mentioned districts and regions. While working in the executive branch, at the same time as deputy of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1995-2003, he was actively and fruitfully involved in the elaboration and adoption of important legislative acts directed at the political and socio-economic development of the country and the implementation of democratic reforms. Shavkat Mirziyoyev was approved as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2003, and three times (in 2005, 2010, and 2015) was reapproved in his post by both houses of the Oliy Majlis.

Mirziyoyev is married and has two daughters, one son and five grandchildren. His wife, Ziroatkhon Hoshimova, has a qualification of an engineer-economist. She is a housewife. She was born in the city of Kokand in the Ferghana valley. According to the media sources, the president of Uzbekistan met his future wife at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration, from which he graduated in 1981. Shavkat Mirziyoyev was teaching at the university, and his future wife was in the status of a student at that time. Their three children, Shakhnoza Mirziyoyeva, Saida Mirziyoyeva and Alisher Mirziyoyev can also said to be at distance when it comes to media appearances.

Ziroatkhon Hoshimova used to avoid media and public appearances when her husband was the Prime Minister of the country but can be seen accompanying her husband during foreign visits after becoming the president of Uzbekistan. She was given special coverage during her visit to India with her husband in September last year. During visit the couple visited Taj Mahal and expressed admiration for the the master piece as they spent some 30 minutes at the 17th century Mughal monument. At Taj Mahal, Mirziyoyev got his pictures clicked with his wife at the ‘Diana seat’. First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdogan, who was accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his official visit to Uzbekistan in April 2018, met First Lady Ziroatkhon Hoshimova of Uzbekistan.

Following the meeting, First Lady Erdogan, who was hosted by First Lady Hoshimova, visited an art gallery in Tashkent, which contains contemporary art pieces, and watched a fashion show of national dresses of Uzbekistan. In November 2017, First lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook met Uzbekistan’s first lady Ziroatkhon Hoshimova. During their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul, Ziroatkhon Hoshimova said,” The people of Uzbekistan think well of the Koreans living in Uzbekistan.

It seems that the Korean people and Uzbekistani citizens are similar. There are many cultural and historical similarities, in addition to traditions and customs that are very similar. In particular, it seems that the tradition of respecting one’s elders is very similar. Personally, our relationship with Korea is quite deep. My children have lived here in Korea. Even my little granddaughter was born in Korea. I have also come to Korea many times. Korea is my second-most loved country, after Uzbekistan”. “Thank you. I have heard about your daughter and granddaughter. I can truly feel this. Today is a cold day, but my heart is very warm,” said first lady Kim Jung-sook in response.

Uzbekistan remains the only country in the post-Soviet space that, despite the difficult transition period, despite the limited funds, has raised the concern for strengthening the family, women, creating all the necessary conditions for healthy and happy motherhood and childhood as a state policy. State programs, successfully implemented in recent years in the country, are aimed at this. Special attention of the President of the country Shavkat Mirziyoyev is paid to the issues of increasing the role of the family in the development of society. This idea sounds almost in all the speeches of the head of our state, where the urgent task is “to strengthen the foundations of the family, to create a calm, friendly and supportive atmosphere, to fill the content of spiritual and educational work with concrete content.”

Mirziyoyev’s attempts at reforms in Uzbekistan have been welcomed by most of the major international financial institutions. On January 18, a delegation of the World Bank headed by its CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, paid a visit to the Uzbek capital. In Tashkent, Georgieva met with Mirziyoyev and members of the government and parliament, as well as with representatives of the private sector. Georgieva expressed her support for the recent reforms aimed at improving the state of Uzbek economy and private services. “The leadership of Uzbekistan continues to implement ambitious reforms. The country is on the right track with projected economic growth at the level of 5.6% in 2018. The continuation of bold economic and social reforms, the improvement of the business environment and the strengthening of the corresponding institutional mechanisms will stimulate the inflow of additional investments into the private sector, economic growth and job creation,” she said during the visit. Today, Uzbekistan has reached a qualitatively new level of development of society, where the main link is the institution of the family. There is no doubt that strengthening the position of the national agency, which will develop and evaluate policy, research on family issues, and promote healthy families, will ensure long-term results important for the country.

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