Gulnora’s Race For the Cure

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by Nathan Hamm on 4/17/2012 · 2 comments

UPDATE: As mentioned at the bottom of this post, there is an update following my conversation with a representative from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Due to its length, I’ve made it its own post.

As is always the case, the Uzbek media can be counted on to bring enlightening and groundbreaking coverage on the most pressing issues of the day.

Fund Forum started to sell T-shirts of charity forum-marathon “In the Name of Life” on 16 April 2012. The marathon will take place in Tashkent on 1 May. The fund said that it sold 500 T-shirts on the first day. Buying the T-shirts, people confirm their participation at the forum-marathon.

What kind of marathon might this be? Fund Forum’s website says that these shirts are for the Susan G. Komen Uzbekistan Race for the Cure. And they are not making that up at all. Fund Forum and other NGOs sharing its address and also run by Gulnora Karimov are official partners of the official Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The agreement was inked in January and quickly followed with a training session in Tashkent. Races have been held in regions and cities throughout Uzbekistan already, with the final race scheduled for Tashkent on May 1.

There is nothing wrong with the goal of these events — encouraging annual mammograms and raising some funds to provide screenings.

However, everything about Gulnora’s charities is questionable. And even with Komen’s recent track record of making strategically poor decisions (for which it is still paying) and its slow transformation into something resembling a consultancy that helps business sell products by slapping some pink ribbons on them, the decision to partner with Gulnora’s organizations seems strange. It is, at best, ignorant and poorly thought out.

It very well may be that Fund Forum and its constellation of Gulnora-led co-tenants at 80 Uzbekistan Street in Tashkent do some good here and there. But for whatever good they might do, one of their most important functions is to paint Gulnora as a glamorous, cultured, talented, educated, respected philanthropist. The first link on Fund Forum’s website is to Gulnora’s personal page. Scattered among stories on the various charities’ events in the news section are stories on Gulnora’s glamorous house; her charm, class, beauty, elegance, and caring sensibility; her beauty, charisma, and charitable projects; and, her work organizing Tashkent fashion week.

And now with the association with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Gulnora can pin on an OFFICIAL pink ribbon, so that the public relations work her foundations do for her can show she is not only the most glamorous philanthropist to walk the earth, but also legitimized by a well-known foreign charity as being so.

Note: I have contacted Susan G. Komen for the Cure for comment on their relationship with Fund Forum and Gulnora’s other charities. I will update this story when and if I hear from them.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Skeptik from NY April 19, 2012 at 6:17 am

1)encouraging annual mammograms is not available – Uzbekistan has one mamography machine or two for all country.

2)and raising some funds to provide screenings – UZ has governmental system of health care so they raise funds for government from poor people to help government to help them?

Arkan al-Ifranji April 22, 2012 at 2:39 am

It simply reminds the charity work done by other deposed (or soon to be deposed) female key members of tyrannies like Leila Trabelsi and Asma al-Assad…

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