Mubarak Gurbanova – Turkmenistan

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “Your work will wait for you to show natural phenomena and rainbows to your child, but these will not wait until you finish your work”.

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Sorry, I can not find any photo of Mubarak Gurbanova, Turkmenistan (see also my comment ‘Brave women without photos‘, added on June 17, 2007).

She works for Medet (1), and for Civic Dignity.

Mubarak Gurbanova is the head of the NGO Medet. She provides educational and job training opportunities to refugees, orphans, the young and the economically deprived. In four years, she has organized 100 seminars for 4000 people. She trains school teachers in the use of the new educational pedagogy on critical comprehension. As part of the Civic Dignity team she contributes to building a civil society in Turkmenistan, by providing training in civic education.

She is generous and caring towards others and is involved in many charities, without seeking her own recognition.

Mubarak was born on 17 May 1963 in the village of Goynuk in the Lebap region, Turkmenistan. She is one of nine children, and before her parents retired her mother worked as a doctor’s assistant. Her father was a teacher.

She has great enthusiasm for the English language, and when she graduated from High School in 1980 she entered the English Department of Foreign Languages faculty of Turkmen Pedagogical Institute in Charjew. In 1984 she successfully graduated from the Institute and gained a Diploma as an English teacher. In 1987 Mubarak began working as a first grade teacher, while still pursuing her dream to be appointed as an English teacher. In 1989 this dream became a reality in a school in the city of Charjew.

When Turkmenistan became a sovereign state in 1991, a new country was created. Foreign representatives returned home, a new currency, state emblem and national anthem were introduced. Charjew was renamed Turkmenbat. International organizations began to pour into the country. After the arrival of organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) and Peace Corp Volunteers, teachers began to participate in activities conducted by native English speakers.

Mubarak became an active member of the English Teachers’ Resource Center, which was established in 1995 with the assistance of Usaid and the Peace Corp. Soon the center became the best facility for the development of teaching and learning for school children as well as English teachers. This marked Mubarak’s first steps in community development activities.

The recent trend of globalization also had a great effect on the women’s movement in Turkmenistan allowing women to re-evaluate their lives and compare their opportunities with women from other cultures. Some women became leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including Mubarak. She heads Medet, an NGO that organizes clubs for the local community, including ones for both women and girls, one that focuses on student government and others that concentrate on poetry, films, international news coverage, and health. These clubs use English, Russian and Turkmen and offer opportunities for student discussion.

Mubarak participates in professional development seminars, training lessons and conferences and in national and international community development activities. She attended a regional workshop on using video in English teaching and community development seminars and training given by the Counterpart Consortium in Turkmenistan including the Training of Trainers. In 2002 she became a trainer for the Counterpart Consortium in Turkmenistan and provides training for local schools and her co-workers. In 2003 and 2004, she was a semi-finalist for the United States-Turkmenistan Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of English.

In 2004 Mubarak was selected to participate in the American Studies Institute by the Foreign Secondary Educators Program Fulbright Exchange, sponsored by the Fulbright American Studies Institute, at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As part of the program, she visited a number of states. Her participation in the Fulbright Program gave Mubarak the opportunity to use her newly gained knowledge and skills to contribute to Turkmenistan?s educational system.

Mubarak has organized seminars for students, young adults and school children to learn about human rights. She attended the International Summer School on Human Rights in Warsaw-Miedzeszyn (2) in September 2004, which gave her an excellent opportunity to learn more and subsequently to share her greater knowledge and experience with her own community.

Under Mubarak’s leadership, Medet has successfully undertaken many community development projects. These included the provision of sewing machines to Afghan refugee families living in Turkmenabat, which helped them to increase their family incomes. Medet also provided a six-months’ English course in business for Afghan refugees. Both projects were sponsored by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCR).

Mubarak also manages a project giving civic education seminars and training sessions to Turkmenabat citizens.

After her participation in seminars and training sessions conducted by a leader of the NGO Civic Dignity, she joined the NGO team in conducting civic education seminars and training. Mubarak was the first NGO leader to play a significant role in developing debating skills for school children and young adults. The Peace Corp supported Mubarak’s idea for organizing a debate club for students at the language center. Students came from around Turkmenabat to participate twice monthly. Debates were an unknown and unexpected form of education in Turkmenistan. The debate classes were so successful and generated so much interest, that they evolved into a weekly debating competition for about 55 students every Sunday. The current state of the educational system in Turkmenistan is poor and will benefit from both classroom and after school debates. (Read all on 1000peacewomen 2005).

Read: Studying the United States through Civics, by Mubarak Gurbanova, Director, Educational Center “Medet”, Turkmenabat city – Participant of the Fulbright American Studies Institute Program in 2004: Before my trip to the USA I was excited. I knew that I might experience culture shock. During the Fulbright seminars I made friends and met people with different cultures, different food, different customs and different skin colors, but in the end people are people. We all discussed many important problems and exchanged opinions.One of the exchanged experiences was civics … ( full text).

(1): Medet Law Offices, Tel: (00993) 12/35 73 75, Fax: (00993) 12/35 74 74, Telex: (00993) 66 330 88 93 (Geldimämmet Igdirow), Email, Hotel “Turkmenistan”, Zi. 206, Bitarap Turkmenistan saýoly 19, 744000 Aschgabat, Turkmenistan. (Source: see bfa/ and their Homepage). Sorry, no other infos in english available about Medet.

(2): 18th International Summer School on Human Rights (Warsaw, 23-30 June 2007). See also the, where such schools are listed.


The Fulbright Program in german;

The Fulbright Study of the United States Institute Fellowships Program. For Contact, scroll down.

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