1,000 Trees for Uzbekistan
April 22, 2022
Webster Tashkent has started a new project called "1,000 Trees for Uzbekistan" at the initiative of Gordana Pesakovic, MBA and undergraduate business and economics faculty member. With this initiative, Pesakovic wants to actively contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment for the current and future generation of Uzbekistan.
The project has started in Tashkent. The first trees were planted in the university quad on March 31 as a part of Spirit Week. Webster Tashkent is located close to the Urda mahalla, which has a population of 2,500 residents, and this is where the latest batch of trees were planted on April 8.
Mahalla is a social phenomenon unique to Uzbekistan. The word “Mahalla” literally translates to “community” or “neighborhood,” describing the integrated and communal traditional form of life that existed in this part of the world for centuries.
Pesakovic made an open call in her classes, resulting in about 10 volunteers showing up to plant trees. The group of undergraduates and MBA students worked with Webster staff and faculty, as well as residents of Urda. Together they planted six evergreen trees, 10 flowering paulownias, two platans and 12 cherry trees.
The organizer shared her impression of the tree-planting: “Everyone who participated was happy and uplifted to be part of first tree planting in the community. The feeling of being part of something bigger than our own existence, helping the nature live so it can help us to breath for generations to come!” She noted that the team worked in 30-degree heat (about 86 degrees Fahrenheit) for two hours, which made their effort that much more satisfying.
At this point, 30 trees have been planted, while another 970 are awaiting their spots in the soil. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to join the initiative. Future locations will include local schools, other public places in Tashkent, and even other cities in Uzbekistan.
Pesakovic explained that the project is intended as an opportunity for many different communities to come together. “In the old Uzbek tradition, this will be our hashar,” she said, referencing the tradition of communities organizing special events for joint cleaning, gardening, and facilities upkeep at their neighborhoods.
The project has received active support from Webster University President Julian Shuster, as well as Rasul Rakhmonov and Sherzod Mamatov of the Tashkent campus.
Pesakovic encourages anyone who wishes to participate to join the initiative: “Step by step, effort by effort, tree by tree and together we can make our world a better place.”