New leadership at the national think tank for reforms in Uzbekistan 

Bobur Bekmuradov (JST 2018, Uzbekistan) has been appointed the Chairman of the nationwide movement ‘Yuksalish’, the national think tank for reforms in Uzbekistan. His new position has been given ministerial status by special decree.

The appointment is recognition for Bobur’s considerable contribution to building democratic institutions since being elected an MP in December 2019 and his involvement in the Committee on democratic institutions, non-governmental organizations and self-governing bodies in Parliament. As Chair of  ‘Yuksalish’, Bobur can take his vision for a reform agenda guided by evidence-based analysis and policy making to the next level. 

At the time of his JST Fellowship programme, Bobur was the Deputy Director of the Development Strategy Centre in Tashkent and an elected councillor in Mirzo Ulughbek district council in Tashkent. He had worked in public organisations and analytical institutions on good governance, civil society development and enhancing citizen engagement in public administration. Bobur’s professional goal was to develop the capacity of Uzbek think tanks so that they could play a central role in the effective development and implementation of large-scale reforms in Uzbekistan and his Action Plan meetings in the UK focused on understanding the way that think tanks in the UK function and how they support public policy making.  

Bobur met with a variety of experts from across the political spectrum involved in the research and policy-making process in Britain, including well-established and relatively young British think tanks and policy centres. He appreciated the practical advice and insights into these organisations that he learned – everything from involving academic institutions to how to present research findings to politicians.  Bobur’s highlights included meetings at the King’s Policy Institute, Bright Blue and Kivu International.

“I came to the UK with the idea that think tanks must be independent from governments and parties etc,’ he says, ‘but [they] gave me the thought that…it doesn’t matter where they get their funding from as long as their thinking is independent, that is where integrity of think tank comes from. This was a totally new thought for me and has changed my understanding completely.” 

Bobur was also an aspiring politician at the time of his Fellowship. He soaked in the sessions and atmosphere at Westminster and Holyrood and made the most of the debate and public speaking opportunities offered on the Fellowship Programme.  He says, “I will always be grateful to the Fellowship Programme for changing me and opening up my mind. I’m a politician thanks to the John Smith Trust! 

JULY 2020