July 1, 2011
US Science Envoy Dr. Gast discusses science and education ties
US Science Envoy and President of Lehigh University, Dr. Alice Gast, travelled to Uzbekistan on 23-26 June as part of President Obama\'s initiative to strengthen science and education ties.
The visit, Dr. Gast\'s first ever to Uzbekistan, was the latest in a series of efforts to enhance US-Uzbekistan scientific relations.
In Tashkent, Dr. Gast visited the Academy of Sciences, where she met with Dr. Shavkat Salikhov, Chairman of the Committee on Coordination of Science and Technology Development and President of the Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Rustam Saidov, Head of the Department on Development of International Science and Technology Cooperation, Committee on Coordination of Science and Technology Development.
During their meeting, the two sides discussed practical ways in which to advance bilateral scientific cooperation, including through joint workshops and other projects. Dr. Gast noted that the US and Uzbekistan have many common scientific interests and that both sides could benefit from cooperation in these areas.
At the US Embassy in Tashkent, Dr. Gast met with a group of over 100 local students. Dr. Gast encouraged the students to pursue studies and careers in the sciences. She also highlighted the potential for greater cooperation between the US and Uzbekistan in the science arena, especially as such fields are often less sensitive to the complexities of the political environment.
In Samarkand, Dr. Gast was able to view first-hand evidence of Uzbekistan\'s strong tradition of scientific research. She marveled at the rich history of the Registan, climbed the steps of Shah-i-Zinda, and admired the achievements of Ulugbek and his observatory.
Dr. Gast\'s visit to Uzbekistan came six months after Secretary of State Clinton signed the Science and Technology Agreement between the US and Uzbekistan in Tashkent in December, 2010.
Dr. Gast\'s visit built upon the success of the visit of Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, who was in Tashkent in February of this year.
Dr. Gast was in Uzbekistan in her capacity as a private citizen. She will advise the White House, the Department of State, and the US scientific community about the knowledge and insights she gained from her visit.