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2023  N11-12(225-226)
The 21st century has brought into our lives not only high technologies, ultra-high-speed communications, fantastic innovations but also many other things that seemed inconceivable in the 20th century. In fact, we are witnessing a transformation in the socio-psychological sphere, which is increasingly and clearly becoming more complete and more systemic. This conclusion is easily illustrated by the example of intergenerational bonds that are changing on a large scale. Young grandchildren teach their grandparents the basics of computer literacy, or rather the skills to handle complex equipment... Minor children help parents master gadgets that are regularly updated and improved... Schoolchildren, including primary schoolchildren, share useful information gleaned from the Internet with their teachers. These pictures of our reality become signs of the time around the world.
One of the unique projects that are being successfully implemented in Turkmenistan also focuses to a certain extent on issues that are fateful for humanity. This is a project with a very original name “Young Messengers of Peace” of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. The point here is not so much about the project itself and details of its implementation but about the project underlying philosophy, i.e. about how the older generation can direct the potential of youth towards achieving the goal of harmonizing increasingly complex international relations on the basis of mutual trust, dialogue on equal terms in the name of the universal peace.
In interviews with the finalists of the project, the students demonstrated their diverse knowledge in various fields of modern science, technological progress, literature and art and also showed a fairly high level of social optimism, their optimistic view of the future and prospects of the country’s development.
In the current context of globalization of all spheres of human life, the issue of identity of the younger generation requires special attention from representatives of political and sociological sciences. This is primarily due to the most pressing issues of sustainable socio-economic development of modern societies and prospects of states as national-territorial entities, preserving their sovereignty on the one hand and acting as subjects of international relations on the other. Youth in this context are the social group that is viewed as the development potential of the nation and the state who will determine the future of the country.
Scientific research by most foreign colleagues – sociologists – indicates that the specifics of today’s increasingly globalized world, peculiarities of dissemination of information and openness of borders increasingly influence the younger generation that perceives the world as a “global village”, which suggests the high growth of cosmopolitanism among young people around the world. This, of course, affects the social well-being and well-being of young people and shapes other means of adaptation to problematic situations.
The finalists of the “Young Messengers of Peace” project showed great understanding and appreciation of the foreign policy pursued by Turkmenistan based on the philosophy of neutrality. It is important that they are very patriotic, and patriotism is their basic life value. At the same time, our youth are not blind and indifferent to what is happening today in different parts of the world. They demonstrate that they have a national, civic identity that is regarded by modern scientists as the foundation for social development.
Civic identity as a component of social identity is the result of the process of identification of an individual with the “nation – state”, and it becomes the basis for development of civic consciousness and manifestation of social activity. It is from this position that life strategies are built as the most important basis for political and civic behavior.
The specifics of modern socio-economic development of Turkmenistan make it possible to speak of availability of a truly favorable environment for unlocking the potential of the country’s youth. According to scientists, citing the results of their large-scale research, a high degree of confidence in the future is demonstrated by young people who have an “extended” identity, often calling themselves “a person of the world,” which suggests the reasonable command of several foreign languages and familiarity with other cultures, successful mastering of a variety of social practices, while remaining true patriots of their Motherland.
A person of the world is a messenger of peace and a kind of “envoy of intelligence.” The “Young Messengers of Peace” project of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan is designed precisely for bringing up such children. By implementing this and a number of other interrelated projects, the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, being part of the socio-cultural space of the country, not only fulfils a special task aimed at raising competent specialists in various fields of international relations and professional diplomatic work but also strives to create all necessary conditions for full inclusion of the graduates into the multifaceted activities of the diplomatic service of Turkmenistan. In the modern world, the socializing potential of an educational institute ensures the active subjective attitude of students to the social environment, accumulation of knowledge, skills and qualities of an individual that go beyond a certain professional training, freedom of self-determination based on the diversity of development areas and situations of their choice – from self-expression to creative self-realization and self-affirmation in the realities of modern society.
The modern youth of the world live in a time of deep and extensive revision of basic values, various socio-economic and political reforms that require rapid reorientation and adaptation. In such a situation, the task of shaping in youth clear civic self-determination and healthy social well-being, their loyal attitude to their native country and domestic and foreign policies pursued by the state becomes very important.
The youth of Turkmenistan have a good heredity, if once recalls the historical foundations. The main condition for strength, progress, prosperity and well-being of the ancient and medieval Turkmen states was their wide openness to the world and commitment to permanent dialogue with other countries and peoples. Openness, willingness to cooperate, receptivity to everything new, absence of any manifestations of xenophobia, natural peacefulness, tolerance and respect for other people’s opinions – these are the features of national mentality of the Turkmen people that have been formed over thousands of years and have become peculiar generic characteristics of the Turkmen people, which they have managed to preserve and bequeath to the current generation. Other than this, history has taught Turkmens to respect other people’s opinions, no matter how different they may seem, to compromise in the name of peace and tranquility and value national unity and good neighborliness. All these features became crucial in choosing a national model of the country’s socio-political structure and provided the basis for its neutral foreign policy course.
Turkmenistan’s choice of a neutral model as the basis for a practical foreign policy course, state and social development is quite logical. The neutral model is determined by the very history of our people. It was history that predetermined the choice of such a political course by independent Turkmenistan that allowed us to preserve ourselves as one people, preserve Turkmen statehood, sovereignty and our identity. Nowadays, continuing the historical traditions of its people, Turkmenistan builds its relations with other states on the basis of respect for culture, traditions and customs, historical memory of their peoples, and develops in a far-reaching manner mutually beneficial and equal political, economic and humanitarian relations with them.
Turkmenistan’s foreign policy initiatives in the modern period are becoming a significant factor in international life. They are aimed at the establishment of a qualitatively new system of international legal measures, regional security, energy security, protection of environment and ecology, prevention and neutralization of conflict situations. At the same time, they call for the implementation of large transnational economic and humanitarian projects. In this regard, they are components of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy that positively influence the nature and content of interstate relations in the region and beyond.
In conclusion, coming back to the conversation about the “Young Messengers of Peace” project of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, it is important to once again emphasize that its implementation makes it possible to identify that part of the country’s youth who are ready to use their high intellectual potential and intelligence in the name of bright future of their beloved Fatherland and act as messengers and promoters of all peace-loving foreign policy initiatives of Turkmenistan aimed at preserving peace and security both in Central Asia and throughout the world.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005