By Sarah Light
Utah Valley State College honored Kyrgyzstan”s first lady Monday as she received her honorary doctorate degree of Humane Letters and presented her new book “Hope Has No Night.”
“This is a great honor for me and a great responsibility which I view as a token of respect to the people of Kyrgyz and a higher delegation of the system of education in the Kyrgyz republic,” said first lady Miriam Akaeva.
Akaeva, who traveled with her husband to Utah en route to New York, has authored 40 scientific works and three textbooks.
She has also implemented 52 educational centers for youth and is working to establish a rehabilitation center and a scientific research center in Kyrgyzstan.
“At all times, despite any difficulties, the Kyrgyz people have always tried to give a good education to their children,” Akaeva said. “We have significant successes in this too. Kyrgyzstan is recognized as one of the most educated countries in the world.”
In addition to these successes, Akaeva has also received numerous awards for her efforts to help the women and children in her nation.
“You have truly chosen to see life as something important, Jack Zenger, UVSC Board of Trustee Chairman, said to Akaeva at the degree ceremony. “You have culminated an important difference with those that have been your students, those institutions which you have worked and for your country.”
The first lady”s new book, “Hope Has No Light,” which UVSC helped publish, illustrates the struggles she and other women from her region have experienced.
In her first public presentation of the book Monday, Akaeva said the book is a tribute to her parents and her people.
She said although the past few years had been more challenging for the people of her nation, she is thankful for them.
“As an honorary doctorate, I will continue making a contribution towards the enhancement of our collaboration in the field of education and towards the friendship between our nations,” Akaeva said.
Following her speech, Akaeva signed five copies of her new book and presented them to those involved in her book publication and her visit to Utah.
“What an honor it is for us to be able to have you here, to have our students be able to hear your voice and read your words,” Brad Cook, vice president of UVSC said to Akaeva. “This is a real moment of celebration.”
Rusty Butler, associate vice president of international affairs at UVSC, also recognized the president, first lady and other Kyrgyz leaders at the end of the presentation, by exchanging gifts representative of Utah and the UVSC community.