DUSHANBE -- The US embassy in Tajikistan Tuesday (May 25) opened a new American Space in Dushanbe where Tajik citizens can improve their English, learn new skills, lead their own programmes, watch movies and meet Americans.
The modern facility is more than 700 sq. metres in size, the embassy said in a statement.
It is equipped with nine programming zones, including an innovative "Maker Space" studio where visitors can enhance their engineering skills, a broadcast media lab for bloggers and amateur journalists, a full library and the fastest free internet in Tajikistan.
Situated on the 3rd floor of the Poytakht commercial centre at 49 Mirzo Tursunzoda Street, the American Space is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am -- 7pm.
All programmes and entry into the American Space are free.
US Ambassador to Tajikistan John Mark Pommersheim and First Deputy Minister of Education and Science Salohiyon Muhammaddovud Qayum attended the inauguration of the space.
Pommersheim called the American Space "a gift from the people of America to the people of Tajikistan", adding that it is "a shining example of our partnership, and embodies our motto -- 'forward together'."
"This space brings our people together -- and forward – through learning English, gaining skills and sharing our cultures," he said, inviting all Tajik citizens to visit the American Space to develop their skills and join a supportive community.
"I trust that you will use this Space to grow as leaders as you also lead Tajikistan into the future," he said to Tajik youth attending the event.
The opening of the American Space is the first of many activities planned over the coming year to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Tajikistan, Pommersheim noted.
The newest American Space in Dushanbe is part of a network of eight situated in Dushanbe, Khujand, Isfara, Bokhtar, Kulyab, Khorogh, Gharm and Panjakent.
The first American Space in Tajikistan opened in Kulyab in 2005.
"The American Spaces are a joint initiative between energetic Tajiks and Americans who have a shared vision for positive change," the statement said.
In September, American citizens will arrive in Tajikistan to lead English discussion clubs at the American Spaces and organise educational programmes.
All spaces maintain active social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with information about their schedule of events and virtual sessions.
During the pandemic, the American Spaces engaged entirely through virtual programming. In recent months, they have begun returning to in-person programming.
The spaces are designed to increase mutual understanding between the United States and Tajikistan, and to improve opportunities for Tajik citizens to gain global skills.
The network of American Spaces is just one of the many US embassy programmes aimed at providing educational opportunities for Tajik citizens.
"The US government offers 25 different exchange programmes for Tajik students, schoolchildren, and professionals, and more than 5,000 Tajik citizens have participated in US government exchange programmes," according to the statement.
Since 1992, the US government has provided $1.8 billion (20.5 billion TJS) in assistance to Tajikistan, including $100 million (1.1 billion TJS) in educational assistance.
Recent assistance has included equipment for combating the coronavirus pandemic.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month delivered $264,985 (3 million TJS) worth of COVID-19 laboratory supplies and equipment to the Tajik Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MHSP), the US Embassy in Dushanbe said in a statement May 21.
The items included "biological safety cabinets, an ultra-low temperature freezer for cold storage (-86°С), and other lab supplies, such as virus transportation and preservation media, biohazard disposal stands and sterile filter tips", said the embassy.
The donated items were destined for public health laboratories in Isfara, Istaravshan, Kabodiyon and Panjakent districts.
Equipment and lab materials that the CDC has donated to Tajikistan since the pandemic began now total $584,305 (6.6 million TJS) in value.