Washington, D.C. – Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) welcomes the first International Conference on the Preservation of Uyghur Culture at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs on December 9-10. The conference overlaps the first commemoration of Uyghur Genocide Recognition Day, which marks the Uyghur Tribunal’s genocide verdict delivered on December 9, 2021.
This conference is organized by the Uyghur Academy and George Washington University (GWU) in collaboration with Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Drexel University, Indiana University, Campaign for Uyghurs, Center for Uyghur Studies and the Uyghur American Association. It will bring together community leaders, scholars, experts, and allies, not just from the U.S. but internationally as well, including Central Asia, Turkey, Europe, Canada, and Australia to discuss the Uyghur genocide with particular attention to identity and cultural destruction. It will also serve as a venue for the members of the Uyghur community to discuss the challenges and opportunities for preserving and maintaining Uyghur culture and language in the diaspora.
President of the Uyghur Academy, Dr. Rishat Abbas, said “The Chinese regime is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples. As a result, the Uyghurs are experiencing an unparalleled calamity in terms of language education, cultural identity, and existence due to destructive Chinese government policies prohibiting Uyghur language education, religious and Uyghur cultural practice and expression.”
“Today Uyghurs outside China face dual tragedies – on the one hand, their friends and relatives inside the PRC face unprecedented repression. On the other hand, Uyghurs abroad are seeing the destruction of their culture in their homeland,” says GWU Elliott School Professor Sean Roberts. “In this context, Uyghurs abroad feel the burden to advocate for their relatives and friends at home while simultaneously facing an urgent need to maintain their culture in diaspora while it is disappearing inside China. This conference is dedicated to supporting their efforts to maintain and preserve Uyghur culture and identity wherever Uyghurs live around the world.”
The importance of promoting and advancing Uyghur culture abroad is more crucial than ever as it faces erasure under the Chinese regime. CFU looks forward to continued partnership with academic institutions and world bodies that work to preserve culture to shed light on this dire issue.