The Role of Diaspora in European-Central Asian Relations
A Personal Experience – An Audiovisual presentation
Janyl Chytyrbaeva (Prague) [BIO]
The Central Asian Diaspora in Europe is new and comparatively small. The majority of the Central Asian citizens living in the region don't seem to have legal status. Some complain of xenophobic attitudes if not outright discrimination. There are very few Central Asians who were able to get a job according to their qualification and experience.
A small group of Central Asians living in Czech Republic, mostly refugees and dissidents, was able to create a cultural entity including a music group. They participate in various cultural and art events in Europe, which help to strengthen the understanding and tolerance. Some members of the Diaspora, especially the Kyrgyz and Kazakh, who are also more numerous, held regular meetings of compatriots.
As the Diaspora slowly gains strength, it will be important to help bring their experience to their native lands. One example of such "return of the debt" was the international film festival on human rights in Kyrgyzstan in September 2007. It was a product of cooperation between Czech, Diaspora and Kyrgyz individuals and organizations and was praised as an effective tool in raising legal awareness among the youth. Such events obviously help to accommodate the better transfer and exchange of important knowledge and experience between Europe and Central Asia and requires recognition and focused support.
There are very few professionals among the Diaspora who were able to achieve a certain public stance in their new home lands. They exist in a certain gray zone, neglected by local mass media. The role of embassies is limited, with the exception of the Kazakh Embassies which are engaged in official celebrations. But the Diaspora is multi-cultural, multi-language, comparatively well educated and, through Russian influence, easily associate with other European cultures. It is possible to predict that there will be more and more people who successfully integrate and help build political, economic and cultural bridges between Europe and Central Asia.