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Exec Ed alum links Syracuse’s disability rights work with Uzbekistan

October 20, 2020

Mirjakhon TurdievA Maxwell School doctoral student appeared on Uzbek national television to discuss his research on people with disabilities. He also highlighted Syracuse’s Disability Rights Clinic (DRC) at an international webinar advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in his native Uzbekistan.

Mirjakhon Turdiev, a member of the International Board of Experts at the Republic of Uzbekistan’s El-Yurt Umidi  Foundation, current social science Ph.D. candidate, and former Humphrey fellow at Maxwell, spoke at the September 16 webinar, “Opportunities in applying the experience of the prestigious U.S. university in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in Uzbekistan.”

At Syracuse University, “I am truly impressed by how the academic and research environment for the persons with disabilities is advanced and promising for replication in Uzbekistan,” Turdiev said. “A rights-based approach to persons with disabilities and disability understanding in general is something I planned to export to Uzbekistan.”

Michael Schwartz, director of Syracuse’s DRC, also addressed the September webinar, which drew more than 300 viewers and national news coverage. The DRC is part of the Office of Clinical Legal Education at Syracuse’s College of Law, where Schwartz teaches disability law.

As a result of the successful exchange, Syracuse University, Tashkent State University of Law, El-Yurt Umidi Foundation, and the Academy under the General Prosecutor of Uzbekistan are exploring an MOU for partnership on establishing a Disability Rights Clinic in Uzbekistan.

Turdiev’s presentations highlight Maxwell’s ongoing Central Asian initiatives and partnerships with Maxwell’s Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) Research Group and Executive Education office. The international webinar was organized by the El-Yurt Umidi Foundation, with whom the Maxwell School signed an MOU in 2018 to expand cooperative programs that allow Uzbek students to intern and study public administration at the Maxwell School.

During his 2014-2015 Humphrey Fellowship at Maxwell, Turdiev focused on partnerships between academics and disability organizations, and advocacy and inclusion of people with disabilities in policy development. In 2016, he earned an Executive Master of Public Administration from Maxwell and in 2020 completed a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) on Disability Studies from SU’s School of Education. He is currently the student coordinator for Maxwell’s Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) Research Group and the president of SU’s Central Asia and Caucasus Student Union (CACSU).

Previously Turdiev served as a consultant on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for United Nations Development Programme Uzbekistan, where he served as liaison between the UN in Uzbekistan and the Disabled People’s Organization. He also served as consultant on disability affairs for the Japan International Cooperation Agency, where he worked on strategy and collaborative projects aimed to increase disability inclusion. While at SU, Turdiev expanded his international involvement and worked at the United Nations in New York during 2017.

Turdiev is optimistic “that collaboration on Disability Rights Clinic in Uzbekistan will extend and intensify the already established partnership between Syracuse University and Uzbekistan’s higher education institutions.” 


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