The youth of Tokmok are successfully passed on the skills to shape values and conduct social dialogue.

January 26, 2024
UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Sometimes, even one person can influence an entire society with his or her kind conversations. Medet Turkmenov, the executive secretary of the Public Reception Center on Interethnic Relations, chairman of the Council of Veterans of the Great Patriotic War, ex-speaker of the Tokmok City Council, and honorary citizen of the Tokmok City Council, shares his rich experience in strengthening interethnic relations in his native city. Around 70 thousand people live in the city of Tokmok in Chui oblast of Kyrgyzstan. Medet Turkmenov, in his activities, emphasizes the creation of a literate, tolerant and diversely developed society. Tokmok residents adopt his knowledge and methods.

"We aim to create a society where young people grow up educated, tolerant and respectful of diversity, regardless of gender or ethnicity."

In most cases, Medet visits schools, universities and gives motivational talks to the younger generation. Conversations, open dialogues, and discussion of cultural traditions and values help to shape the understanding that every person plays an important and necessary role in society. These educational processes influence not only the prevention of conflict situations, but also build respect and appreciation for differences.

"We have a very tight-knit city, even though it's used to be called a crime-ridden city. We have a very friendly population. The House of Friendship unites 14 ethnic groups, with many organizations working for the welfare of the city. We respond quickly to incidents, prevent clashes and escalation. Community leaders, including chairmen of neighborhood committees and property owners union, play an important role in preventing adverse situations. I am actively working to teach young people how to maintain a peaceful and cohesive society," said Medet Turkmenov.

Altynai Mambetjanova - the deputy of Tokmok City Council: "We should strive to create conditions for each resident of our city. Additional support is provided by the work of the Public Reception Center, because there are many ethnic groups living in our city.

I want to share with you a real story that happened in our city in 2021. A household conflict broke out in one of the districts of our city, which started with a trivial quarrel between two neighbors because of the noises made by one of their children in the stairwell. At first sight, it seemed like an ordinary conflict, but as events unfolded, it became clear that beneath this superficial problem underlies deep-rooted misunderstandings.

Soon, executive secretary and local elders were notified, who then were engaged in resolving the misunderstandings between the parties. There was an open dialogue with attention paid to the opinion from each party. The story ended positively with the reconciliation of the neighbors.

We need to realize that even the smallest everyday conflicts can turn into serious problems if we do not pay attention to the root causes of the problem. The Public Reception Center is a place where we locate the source of the conflict and take effective measures to resolve it, thus creating a foundation for a more harmonious neighborhood in our multi-ethnic city.

Generally speaking, it is impossible to assess and measure the role of a Public Reception Center right now. The assessment can take years, because a citizen may only address his or her problem, whether a domestic or social issue, after trust has been built.

It is necessary that the responsible secretary, who is authorized to resolve interethnic issues, should have a significant authority in the society and possess strong leadership quality and flexibility. And only then, ordinary people will come with a request and ask for help. Otherwise, this organization can be just a figurehead", - shared with us the deputy of Tokmok City Council.

Aibek Nasekov, Chairman of the NGO “Tokmok Zhashtar Keneshi”, deputy of the city council, and Deputy Chairman of "Chui Destination Tourism": "Together, Medet Turkmenovich and I have held many events. He is an honorable citizen of our city. Everyone respects him and listens to him. We often invited him to our youth events, where he served as an elder. He has a wealth of experience, and we are glad that he shares his knowledge and skills with us. Youth often become involved in interethnic conflicts due to the lack of awareness, stereotyping and a lack of trust. I have been heading the youth movement for 12 years and I know that this is not just a myth. We need to raise the awareness of young people. The Public Reception Center is exactly the place where young people can express their concerns, suggestions and discuss issues with a competent and open-minded expert. This will help prevent possible conflicts and contribute to their resolution. After all, our Tokmok is a multi-ethnic city. It is very important to preserve friendship and mutual respect between all ethnic groups".

This article was prepared within the framework of the UNDP Kyrgyzstan project "Inclusive Governance and Shared Identity for Sustainable Peace and Development", funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of the leading development organizations in Kyrgyzstan. Since 1993, we have been working in various areas, including inclusive development, environmental protection, crisis response, gender equality promotion, and collaborative efforts towards sustainable development goals.

Media Contact: Nurzhan Alymkanova, Communications Specialist, UNDP