The wife of the Ambassador of Uzbekistan about Ukrainian fashion and Uzbek national cuisine

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With the wife of the Ambassador of Uzbekistan in Ukraine, Ms. Gulnoza Abdualyeva, in the rubric Lady International Club, we are talking not only about friendship and historical ties between our peoples, but also about Ukrainian fashion and Uzbek national cuisine…

What are the main functions of Ambassador’s wife, especially in the sphere of cultural and public diplomacy?

— The most important function of the Ambassador’s wife is to create conditions for the complete and fruitful work of the Ambassador. Another main function is to accompany the Ambassador during various events and, of course, the Ambassador and his wife are the face of the country. Therefore, my main function is the same as my husband’s one – to represent our country. This also applies to those events that are foreseen by the format of the events for cultural and public diplomacy.

There are clubs that unite wives of ambassadors and wives of influential politicians. Do you visit such clubs?

— I try to visit them more or less regularly. I visit the Club, which unites only ambassadorial wives. Also, there is the IWK (International Women Club), I do not visit it so often, although I try to go there because it has many interesting activities. Also, this club is very helpful for women – foreigners to arrange their leisure time. At least with the help of this club, I have found the school of ceramics, which I have been visiting for the fourth year in a row, and I get a great pleasure from being able to do various ceramic items. This is really great!

Rather often the wives of the Ambassadors are engaged in charity. Have you taken part in the similar projects in our country?

— The most important charitable project of this club is, apparently known to you, Charity Bazaar. All embassies, including the Embassy of Uzbekistan, are taking part in this event. All the year, we have been preparing for this event, we are looking for things that we can realize on the Bazaar, although the main goal of this event is participation, not profit, and this main goal of participation in this event includes the presentation of our country – also we are trying to present the products of our folk Uzbek craftsmen or our dried fruits at Charity Bazaar. At the last event, we collected about twenty one thousand hryvnias. I cannot say that this is too big sum, but nevertheless it was collected. We also organized treatment in Ukraine for children from Uzbekistan. You have a wonderful doctor in Ukraine, a cardio surgeon of the highest level. His name is Ilya Mykolaevich Yemets and our children had been operated at his cardiac centre. And he told an interesting story – his grandfather was exiled to Siberia. His exile-mate, an Uzbek man got huge parcels of fruits from Uzbekistan and shared with his Ukrainian friend in exile. And Mr. Yemets told me that this kind of goodness returned to the Uzbek who was doing it for the Ukrainians – because the grandson of the Ukrainian prisoner saved Uzbek children. This is true charity.

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Tell us, please, whether the Embassy of Uzbekistan is planning some cultural events. Will you take part in them?

— We are trying to realize certain events like these ones. Of course, they can hardly be called “Days of Culture of Uzbekistan,” but every year – for the wives of the ambassadors – I organize the event known as the coffee morning. Each month, one of the Ambassadors wives brings together other members of the Club and she has to present her country in one of its perspectives. This year I will hold a similar event for the third time. The first time I presented an Uzbek costume, the second time – it was an acquaintance with our national cuisine, I presented such a specific and interesting dish of Uzbek cuisine as lagman. Originally, this dish is Chinese, but since Uzbekistan was in the middle of the Great Silk Road, this dish has already come to our liking. And here we – me and the wives of other Ambassadors – learned to prepare a lagman. It was very interesting – almost a little show.

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If we have already touched the topic of cooking – I would also like to ask you the following question – do you like Ukrainian cuisine?

— I really love Ukrainian cuisine. Due to my religious beliefs that I do not eat pork, but with respect to other dishes, say, borscht is one of my most beloved dishes since childhood. The first thing I learned to cook was borscht. I even have my own secrets regarding borscht preparation.

What were your first impressions of our country?

— Ukraine is the first country of stay for me and my husband, this is our first cadence. My husband is not a career diplomat, he worked for a long time in the government, but it was decided that he should work here in Ukraine. As for impressions, I can say the following: Ukraine is our fraternal country, and I did not even feel that I am abroad. We are mentally similar to Ukrainians; besides, Ukrainian openness and Ukrainian hospitality are very close and very understandable to us. If you invite a person to visit, you will always be invited to a visit in return. This is purely Ukrainian feature. And it is very close and understandable for us. I can say that I really loved the Ukrainian people. You never have such a way that a person passed by someone asking for help in the street, and I understand that it is being achieved by upbringing and is absorbed with mother’s milk.

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Do you travel a lot through Ukraine?

— Yes, we try to travel a lot. My favourite places in Ukraine are Lviv and Odessa. I cannot even highlight some of the separate parts of these cities – the atmosphere there is so fi ne, that you just want to do nothing and just leisurely stroll or in Deribasivska street or in Square Market. I try to visit these cities three or four times a year and always discover something new. These two cultural capitals of Ukraine, which do not let be bored and always give unforgettable impressions.

Do you follow the Ukrainian fashion industry?

— I cannot say that I do not miss any of the shows, but I try to keep abreast of the events, so if I’m invited, then I always visit similar events. What, in fact, I like in the Ukrainian fashion industry is that it likes to be different one. It is original. The Ukrainian fashion industry has its own style and image. I also like the fact that the best shopping areas in Kyiv are provided to Ukrainian designers. These shows a lot of evidence that Ukrainian designers are honoured, their products are in demand. Among your designers, I really like what Natalia Zinko and Lilia Pustovyt create.

Does Uzbekistan have an interest in Ukrainian culture and Ukraine?

— Of course. Many Ukrainian families were evacuated to Uzbekistan during the Second World War. Some of these people stayed in Uzbekistan forever, their descendants are integrated into our culture, while perfectly preserving their own unique traditions. In Uzbekistan there is a very popular Ukrainian pop and rock music. In particular, “Ocean Elzy” is a favourite rock band of my eldest daughter. Believe me, we have a lot of human and cultural contacts and they make friendship between our peoples stronger.