IWPR’s cross-regional project provides a unique platform for journalists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and artists to connect.
Some 2,500 young professionals, artists and students have gathered in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe for the sixth Go Viral Festival, which aims to create a Central Asian network empowering them to connect with the world through media, culture, business and technology.
Specialists in media, business, culture, and technology held masterclasses and discussions on a large range of topics, while journalists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and artists exchanged experiences and ideas.
“The programme provides a platform for thousands of professionals across the region,” noted Abakhon Sultonnazarov, IWPR Central Asia Regional Director, adding that the exchange of ideas and experience across sectors and countries help people to realise their full potential. “We want to create and maintain strong and effective partnerships among the new generation of Central Asian leaders and innovators.”
Sessions during the May13-15 event touched upon how to manage hate speech online, setting up businesses, monetising creative work and designing business plans. In line with its vision of the value of cross-pollination, the programme also featured screenings of documentary films, exhibitions of young artists, dance and music shows and tours of architectural landmarks in the Tajik capital.
Oogway comics, a company based in Tajikistan’s second largest city of Khujand, will produce a comic based on ideas developed by the participants to their seminar, while several participants agreed internships or saw their masterclasses leading to a final product during the event.
Farzona Sharipova, a university student in Dushanbe, was one of the many who hailed the event for its “high level of organisation and excellent speakers. I met so many new people here”.
Sessions focused on IT attracted particular interest, with the sector rapidly developing in Tajikistan and the whole Central Asian region and jobs in high demand.
Jafar Asimov, head of the automation department of Babilon-Mobile, noted that there was “a severe shortage” of specialists and said that many companies were ready to train experts should national institutions create good conditions to support the sector.
The three-day event also addressed the challenges facing young people in neighbouring Afghanistan, with the attendance of Afghan refugees supported by Spirit of America, a US-based citizen service organisation. Sculptor Omar Hammosh built a 1.20-metre sculpture dedicated to girls denied access to education in Afghanistan.
Supported by the US diplomatic missions in Central Asia, Go Viral Festival will travel through the region with events to be held in Tashkent, Bishkek, Almaty, and Ashgabat between May and July.
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