Every year the OSCE Academy Alumni Network selects one graduate to receive the title of the Alumna/us of the Year. The Award honours the Academy’s most outstanding alumni. We wholeheartedly congratulate Mingul for receiving more votes and getting the award this year and wish her more successful endeavours in the future! We are publishing her story here.
"Mingul is translated as “thousand flowers” from Kyrgyz. I see myself as one of those thousands, myriads of girls in my native Central Asia who are from childhood trained to be silent, obedient and prevented by patriarchy from thriving. My story is about overcoming marginalisation and colonization through empowerment by education, cultural enlightenment and travel. My multicultural identity, life in the village, made me aware of the tremendous gap in urban and rural lifestyle that oppresses girls with the burden of duties like fetching water, working in the field, animals breeding and child nursing that prevents them from getting an education. That also sparked my interest to work for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna where I currently work as a Statistical Assistant at Policy and Research Department. I am doing my MBA studies in Sustainable Development and Governance at Vienna Modul University. It is extremely challenging to balance between career, study, and raising one normal child and one disabled child that also requires a lot of time for numerous medical appointments and therapies. As a migrant woman and as a mother, I know that all obstacles are much easier to overcome with the support of family and friends, but quite often we overcome our obstacles alone. We can lose our jobs, our parents can be far away, our partners can be unsupportive. As I am reflecting on my journey, I am trying to find out how much is left from that bilingual girl who 20 years ago pushed a cart with 50 litres of water because there are no water pipes in her village in Kyrgyzstan. That girl is a four lingual now and she learnt to drive a car, to bike, to swim, to have a new perspective and to discover a new horizon, I know this is only beginning."