This year, Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its founding. On January 16, 2002, Westminster International University opened in Tashkent, becoming the first international university in Central Asia. Every year, around one thousand Uzbek undergraduate and graduate students have received a British education at the university.
The opening of the WIUT in Uzbekistan was made possible by the British Council's cooperation and support when the University of Westminster won a contract in 2001 to establish a unique international university in Tashkent. In 2002, the government of Uzbekistan provided the historical building of the former Tashkent Aviation College to house the city’s first international university.
Over the last two decades, the university has been offering world-class education, providing opportunities for research activities and the development of social and professional communities in Central Asia. Today, Westminster International University in Tashkent provides programmes at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The university collaborates closely with the British Council in the field of quality assurance, creative economy development, inclusive education, and international examinations.
Thanks to its high-quality academic programs, WIUT is counted among the best universities in Uzbekistan and receives high marks from education experts. Over the years, the British Council and Westminster International University have made tremendous progress in strengthening educational relations between Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom at the institutional level.
In honour of the 20th anniversary of cooperation, on October 14, 2022, WIUT, in partnership with the British Council and the University of Westminster in London (UoW), hosted an event titled "Inspiring Alumni Success Stories." The event's purpose was to celebrate the achievements of talented graduates of WIUT and UoW at the national and international levels within the framework of the Alumni Awards held annually by the British Council. The Alumni Awards are a unique competition for UK university graduates who have distinguished themselves for their professional and leadership qualities and achievements in their field of activity and beyond. The award reflects the impact and value of British higher education and raises the international profile of UK university graduates.
The event was attended by 50 graduates who have made significant contributions to their areas of development, such as entrepreneurship and social change. The speakers at the Alumni Awards event were four successful WIUT graduates. During the event, the speakers inspired new graduates of WIUT and other universities with their stories of personal growth and development.
Malik Karimov, marketing director at the Korzinka supermarket chain, shared his experience in marketing and how WIUT shaped his professional path:
"The University of Westminster makes the Western approach to education special. I remember how we studied no more than five subjects in one semester in depth while more than ten subjects were taught in state universities. This allowed us to understand our direction and focus better. I am grateful that WIUT helped me master such a skill as critical thinking because we learned how to analyse topics, compare facts, and conduct research on specific issues.
Today, you can see Westminster graduates in every industry, public and private sectors. WIUT graduates are distinguished by their ability to show themselves at work, as well as a more profound knowledge of the field of business and marketing. Westminster graduates have presentation skills and can work in a team, meaning they easily secure jobs. Therefore, many graduates with a British education work in my team.”
Westminster International University has become a model of the British educational system in Uzbekistan, where a high level of teaching quality and discipline remain are distinguishing features. The educational system in the United Kingdom is well-known for its rigorous academic preparation, which incorporates the best practices from the country's centuries-long educational history that aim at the comprehensive development of the individual, focus on obtaining knowledge, and the professional development of the student. Eldor Tulyakov, a 2008 graduate of the Law Faculty at the WIUT, today is a deputy of the city council and is also the executive director of the Development Strategy Centre. Eldor noted that a British education taught him to manage his time more effectively. This skill helped him gain independence and autonomy during his academic life.
“What made WIUT unique was its education system. During my years of study, we had almost no international universities in Uzbekistan, and Westminster was the university that brought up independent personalities in students. The educational method aimed at ensuring that the student was primarily interested in obtaining the necessary skills and sought to find answers independently. My goal as the director of the Center for Development Strategy is to introduce systemic solutions and best practices with international organisations aimed at improving state and public areas. In 2019, I was honoured to receive the Shukhrat medal for contributing to the development of state and public areas in the country," said Tulyakov.
According to the latest survey conducted among WIUT graduates, the employment rate is over 90% within six months after graduation, indicating the high labour market demand. Today you can see how graduates of the University of Westminster are operating in business, law, information technology, finance and banking, accounting and auditing, marketing and advertising, and other fields.
One of the first graduates of the WIUT Faculty of Law in 2006, Diana Baizakova, also spoke about her development path after studying in the British education system. Diana is the director of the Tashkent International Arbitration Center (TIAC) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan. As a multilingual dispute resolution and arbitration expert, Diana has acted as sole arbitrator and attorney in international arbitrations in Paris, Stockholm, Dubai, and other jurisdictions. Thanks to her experience, in 2020, she was recognised by the authoritative Legal500 rating platform and was included on the CIS and Caucasus section of the Arbitration Powerlist.
“WIUT stood out both then and now as an institution that provided educational services in accordance with the best international standards, where the language of educational processes was English. The culture at the university has primarily contributed to the formation and development of highly motivated students. Our university students got a unique opportunity to learn critical thinking skills and the ability to share their opinions aloud. In my opinion, one of the essential skills that the university has instilled in us is a sense of responsibility.
In 2002, we were the only university in Uzbekistan that created a unique student ID card system, where student grades and assignments were marked on an anonymous basis. Obviously, this also contributed to the transparency of the learning process,” said Baizakova.
Each of the speakers highlighted different areas of study. One such area is Information Technology, which was the field of 2016 WIUT graduate and Alumni Awards finalist, Khurshid Kodirov, who was involved in opening the most prominent private IT academy in Uzbekistan, Astrum. Today he is a director of the Block B Foods and Singleton Brands companies.
“Studying under the WIUT undergraduate program constantly pushed me to develop rapidly and learn new things in my field of activity. The responsibility for completing assignments is being implemented at our university. There are no ratings, but there are deadlines. Thus, it directs future students to professional work. Also, 100% e-learning and the anonymity of students and teachers guarantee an unbiased assessment of knowledge. In addition to all the operational privileges, the social life at the British University plays an important role in a student's life, leaving an opportunity for a creative approach to completing tasks," said Kodirov.
Another success story in the field of IT was shared by Durdona Bahronova, a 2018 WIUT graduate and winner of the Kelajak Bunyodkori 2022 medal for her active contribution to the IT industry of Uzbekistan. Today, Durdona works as a software developer at the branch of the American company Super Dispatch in Tashkent. Despite her young age, Durdona Bahronova, has become a role model for many people, especially girls who also want to pursue a career in the IT field.
“I remember my time at the university with great trepidation. What I liked about WIUT was the social life and the library with a huge selection of books. Furthermore, the university bought subscriptions for various scientific bases for students. Speaking about social life, WIUT always supports its students and their interests. We opened our clubs, organised meetings, and did various shows. In the process, we got to know ourselves by trying different roles,” says Bahronova.
“In my opinion, WIUT graduates are successful people who have the ability to present themselves and are distinguished by deeper knowledge in the field of business, IT, law, and marketing,” she added.
Empowered by a British education, WIUT graduates have achieved and continue to achieve great success in many areas. Every day, they make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of Uzbekistan.
Graduates of British universities are among the best professionals in the world, a fact recognised in global rankings. Employers and academics worldwide recognise British higher education degrees and qualifications. In these programmes, students are given the opportunity to develop skills, practice critical thinking, and build connections to advance their careers. By choosing a British education, students secure a bright future for themselves.