Samarkand Half Marathon - the first international charity race in Uzbekistan.

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Today, the Agency of Information and Mass Communications held a press conference on the Samarkand Half Marathon project, which will be held in Samarkand from November 1 to 3. Representatives of state and departmental organizations, project organizers, international partners and specialists, and participants of the race and the educational program spoke at the press conference.

Guests and participants of the press conference also attended a tactile exhibition, which was presented to the Agency of Information and Mass Communications before being sent to Samarkand. The exhibition will take place in the Ulugbek Madrasah in Samarkand. It will be held for all three days, from November 1 to 3. At the tactile exhibition paintings from the collection of the State Museum of Art named after I.V. Savitsky will be presented. Blind and visually-impaired people will be able to "feel" the image of the paintings. A special place wil be taken by the tactile model of the Registan architectural ensemble, which consists of the Ulugbek Madrasah, Sherdor Madrasah and Tilla-Kori Madrasah.

Less than a week is left before the start of the Samarkand Half Marathon project. It will not be just a race, but a festival of modern culture, the program of which will consist of lectures, workshops, music performances, an exhibition, and the sports event itself.

All this was explained by the speakers of the press conference.

SAIDA MIRZIYOYEVA, Deputy Director of the Agency of Information and Mass Communications under the Administration of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan stated:

“The Samarkand Half Marathon brings the idea of ​​an active lifestyle to the masses and supports the worthy goal of making culture accessible to all, including people with disabilities.”

She continued: “The Agency of Information and Mass Communications fully supports the initiative of the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Let me remind you that our Agency also works in this direction. In 2019, we developed a road map for the Kongil Kozi project. It involves specific actions for the further social adaptation of people with disabilities, providing blind and visually impaired people with educational, artistic, scientific and other literature.

Supporting charity projects related to inclusion and creating an inclusive environment is a big challenge. There should be more such events and programs. We all have one goal - to ensure full social integration and create equal and favorable conditions for all people living in our country.

“I express gratitude to everyone who takes part and supports the half marathon in Samarkand, and from the bottom of my heart I wish there are more such large-scale initiatives!”

GAYANE UMEROVA, Deputy Executive Director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan reported:

“Samarkand Half Marathon is a good example of how organizations and people from completely different fields and countries can collaborate and create new products. We have received expert support from international cultural institutions - they will help the Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan to develop a long-term strategy to create an inclusive environment at cultural sites. We were supported by state bodies and large companies of Uzbekistan - their resources allowed us to develop an international project and talk about the big idea behind this race, to as many people as possible. Leaders of the running community of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia come to the Samarkand Half Marathon - hundreds of runners from this region pulled themselves behind them. And finally, even independent players, bloggers and representatives of the pop art of Uzbekistan supported our idea.

“All this is very inspiring for us to continue our work. At the end of the year, we will publish a preliminary plan to create an accessible environment around and inside the cultural institutions of Uzbekistan. We invite everyone to take part in this work. This is a complex process, which involves not only restructuring the infrastructure, but also creating long-term educational and cultural projects. And the Samarkand Half Marathon is just one of the elements in this process”.

OYBEK KASIMOV, First Deputy Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan declared:

“The Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports expresses its support for the first international charity race in Uzbekistan. We are always happy when culture and sport go hand in hand and complement each other. This allows sports to discover new meanings, and culture - to expand its boundaries and reach a new audience. We are watching with interest the work of our colleagues from Samarkand Half Marathon and we invite the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan to participate next year. And we wish good luck to the athletes who will take part in the race.”

Madina Badalova, The Head of the Department of Education Development, Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture:

“This is the first charity event of this scale in our country. In addition to the race itself, we plan to hold a number of cultural events in Samarkand, and most importantly - we have a big goal. It is about attracting public attention to the problem of inclusion at cultural sites. Our Foundation has initiated a long-term program aimed at the modernization of cultural facilities of Uzbekistan. In particular, this year the Foundation initiated the draft regulatory act “On improving the activities of museums of the Republic of Uzbekistan with regard to inclusiveness”, which covers not only material and technical accessibility in museums, but also the development of special programs for mobile groups of the population, training specialists and introducing new technologies like tactile models, audio description and induction loops. To begin with, we conduct monitoring and training in institutions in the city of Tashkent. The results of this study will be published on the Internet and presented in the form of a report as part of the educational program of the half marathon.

“The Foundation continues its cooperation with the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art - our Russian colleagues will conduct workshops and lectures on the international experience in creating an inclusive environment at cultural sites.

“In addition, as part of the half marathon, we began to cooperate with another organization important to us - the Beat Films festival. The curators of the festival will give a lecture in Tashkent on how they created an independent cultural institution at the international level on their own and will show two documentaries. One of these films, Free Solo, won the Academy Award this year”.

ALEXANDRA FILIPPOVSKAYA, coordinator of the Inclusive Programs Department of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art:

“The Garage Museum from the very beginning of its existence sought to be accessible to people with disabilities. This is a complex process that requires a lot of effort and time. The problem of inclusion at cultural sites includes not only the infrastructure around and inside buildings, but also the competencies and skills of employees of cultural institutions. We know that the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan is planning a long-term program that will solve the problem of accessibility in museums and theaters of the country for everyone. I really hope that the educational events that we will hold in Samarkand will help our colleagues from Uzbekistan to detail their long-term plans in this direction”.

ALENA BOCHAROVA, co-founder of the Beat Film Festival:

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to show our films in Uzbekistan. One of them - Free to Run - is directly related to running and creating an entire urban community around this topic. In addition, we will meet with students of Westminster University in Tashkent and talk about how to create cultural projects in the city.

“Ten years ago, we teamed up to create the Beat Film Festival. At that time, it was a niche documentary film festival about music, today it is the largest international documentary film festival in Russia, which annually gathers 30,000 spectators in Moscow at the turn of spring and summer. In the autumn 15 cities of Russia will take part in the regional Beat Weekend show. We really hope that our history will inspire university students and they will see that in the cultural sphere it is also possible to create sustainable and large-scale enterprises.”

MIRKHAN SAGITOV, curator of the Samarkand Half Marathon project:

“As a participant in many marathons and half marathons held abroad, I can confidently say that the half marathon route in Samarkand will be one of the most beautiful and interesting from a sports point of view. Throughout the route, the race participants will see all the key attractions of the city - the half marathon itself will begin next to the famous Registan ensemble. The half marathon will be certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Association of International Marathons and Runs (AIMS).

“All participants of the race keeping within the time limit for each distance, will receive commemorative medals of the finishers at the finish. And each registered participant will receive a race t-shirt, branded bag, and a number with a chip that will allow you to get the exact finish time. A prize fund has been established for the winners, men and women in standings from 1st to 3rd place will be awarded with cash prizes. More information about prizes and race rules can be found on our website.

Consultation in the organization of our event will be carried out by the international company Russia Running, which includes specialists with extensive experience in organizing modern running events. The entire team of organizers of the half-marathon is working to provide maximum service and comfortable conditions for the participants of the race. We want every member to get the most out of the Samarkand Half Marathon.”