More than six years ago, Peter McCann came to Bishkek. During this time, he was an employee of various universities in Kyrgyzstan, and recently moved to Uzbekistan, where he became an adviser to the rector. In a conversation with us, he shared his impressions of a new country for him and told about his activities.
I was born and raised in Canada, in a small village near Ottawa. I spent my childhood working with my father. I studied at a technical college under the program «Business Administration». After a few years of work, I entered Ivey Business School, the best business school in the country, to get an MBA degree.
For 12 years I have been working as a Commercial Lendor, borrowing money from small companies. I devoted the next 27 years to working as a management consultant for small and medium-sized businesses. Helped in the reorganization, building a strategy and business plan. For two years acted as CEO of a chemical distribution company.
My first visit to Central Asia took place in 1998. Then I visited Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan. I taught business strategy and planning classes for three weeks at one of the state universities. For the next two years, I came to this city as a teacher for three weeks. In this role, I also visited Azerbaijan twice.
In 2016, I decided to change something in my life. I remembered my visits to Central Asia. I realized that I wanted to return to this region. I wrote to about 40 universities and offered my services. I got a reply from American University in Central Asia, and soon I started working in Bishkek. For the next few years, I taught at this and other universities in Kyrgyzstan.
In November 2021, my wife and I moved to Tashkent. Now I am an advisor to the rector on strategy and development of the Tashkent Institute of Chemical Technology.
About first impressions
As a child, we had a small family library. Among the books were biographies about Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. In addition, I was fond of reading historical works about the Middle Ages. I knew a lot about the Soviet Union. Therefore, I was familiar with the region from the point of view of history. Once in Kazakhstan, I realized that people here are friendly and positive.
Uzbekistan surprised me with a dynamic, energetic environment. People here work hard on projects that develop country. One of the first organizations I visited was IT Park Uzbekistan. This is an amazing place that transforms the educational sector in the IT sphere. Economic development is felt.
About the activity
Tashkent Institute of Chemical Technology has several branches in the country. It covers most of Uzbekistan: geographically and demographically.
My job consists of special duties. These can be different tasks. Now I am advising and helping the dean at the Faculty of Management.
One of the latest projects is the improvement of bachelor's degree programs. Each faculty had to find similar programs at a university from the top 300 in the world, study and adopt the best features. By the beginning of the new academic year, all 28 professions will be adapted to the world standard.
I am also engaged in the development of Vocational Trainings — technical training. This is important because country needs qualified technicians with practical skills.
I have an interesting job. It gives me energy and opportunity to contribute to the development of the community.
I was pleasantly surprised by the artistic art that can be seen on ceramic products and textiles. Leaves vivid impressions.
I recently attended a local wedding. There were several celebrations here, divided between men and women. Later I was told that the traditions in Uzbekistan differ greatly in different regions.
Uzbekistan surprised me with a dynamic, energetic environment
The dishes of the national cuisine of the Central Asian countries are not suitable for me. They contain a lot of fat and salt. I like fresh products: local fruits, vegetables. Dairy products: yoghurts, cheeses — of the highest quality. And the ice cream here is the best I've ever tasted in my life. I even gained three kilograms thanks to such a variety of delicious food.
Tashkent is a big city. My wife and I are gradually exploring it. One of my favorite places is the Museum of Applied Arts. A wide variety of interesting exhibits are stored here: paintings, ceramics, clothes.
I have been to Andijan, small towns of the Tashkent region: Chirchik, Angren. We plan to visit Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva with my wife as soon as the hot weather subsides.
About the plans
When I came to Central Asia in 2016, I thought I would stay here for no more than five years. But I'm still here. I like Uzbekistan.
As Viktor Frankl writes in the book «Man in Search of Meaning»: «Each of us needs a goal». I have no task to change the whole world. I just want to make a little better that small part of it that surrounds me. If each of us does this, we can change the world for the better.