nCa News and Commentary
Ashgabat, 3 November 2013 (nCa) — Nation-building is a long and laborious process, demanding tremendous ingenuity, patience, flexibility and vision.
Nation-building is also a never ending process because every nation is growing; new babies are born every day.
The best brains in every nation keep struggling with this challenge and continuously search for the ways to augment and speed up the process of nation-building.
Turkmenistan is no exception; a country and a nation with colossal potential facing enormous challenges.
- Turkmenistan has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves.
- Turkmenistan is wedged between Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Caspian Sea, a unique location that is so full of possibilities but equally fraught with hazards.
- The literacy rate is nearly 100%.
- According to the UN Human Development Index, Turkmenistan has risen in the last 22 years from being one of the most impoverished republics of USSR to the top of the middle income countries in the world.
- There is literally a cradle-to-grave welfare system, right from free of cost Pampers and dresses for the newborn babies to shroud and burial plot for the dead, and everything else in between that a citizen needs to lead a happy and productive life.
- The dream of creating regional transport and communication infrastructure, affording intra-continental connectivity, is jut a year short of reality.
- Within the next four years Turkmenistan is poised to become the only country in the world exporting piped natural gas in all four directions of the compass.
- The nation is young; about 45% of the population is below the age of 15.
- Several notorious drug smuggling routes pass dangerously close to the borders of Turkmenistan.
- Clueless, dejected and frustrated occupying forces are sitting next door in Afghanistan.
- The region is in sharp focus of global power intrigues.
These are just a few of the endless factors that complicate the challenge of nation-building in Turkmenistan.
President Berdymuhamedov is incessantly working to build a nation that would be secure from without and prosperous, happy and healthy from within — no easy task in ordinary circumstances but especially exigent for a country and nation like Turkmenistan.
By analyzing his approach since his assumption of power in February 2007, one can see that he endeavors at every step to provide a personal role model to the youth. A role model has to lead from the front and that is exactly what he does.
On this Saturday (2 November 2013), President Berdymuhamedov, accompanied by his entire cabinet team whose average age is 40, went for half a day of exercise, horse riding and bicycling.
He showed venerable fitness at exercise machines in the training area of the under-construction Olympic Village, rode his new horse in trot and gallop covering 1200-meter track with laudable speed and led the bicycle ride for about 12 kilometers.
He could have done all of this in private and enjoyed it more, so why did he decide to endure the media glare?
The answer lies not in what but why.
He does so many other things in public that are not part of his official job as the president of the country and this Saturday’s activities lie in that area, things that he does to spur the young to a healthy lifestyle. Leading from the front is not an easy task.
Have the young accepted him as a role model?
The answer is in Yes: The bicycle riding has become fashionable, the long walks are a norm, the drug abuse has dropped to the lowest in the region, the number of smokers has decreased considerably, the football fields are alive with practicing players till early hours of morning, people throng to the parks and open gyms in the early evening, housewives are planning menus around vegetables, with meat taking second place on table of a meat eating nation.
What Berdymuhamedov does as a role is not superficial in nature. He puts full commitment and energy behind every effort to stimulate to the youth to a healthy lifestyle. The results are visible already. This is a nation on the go, with Berdymuhamedov jogging ahead in his golf cap and track suit.