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Roza Otunbayeva

Hon. Roza Otunbayeva, Former President of the Kyrgyz Republic.

In 1981 Ms Otunbayeva began her political career as the Communist Party's second secretary of the Lenin raion council (raikom) of Frunze. In the late1980s, from 1986 to 1989 she was Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialistic Republic, under the umbrella of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and she served as head of the USSR Delegation to UNESCO in Paris, and later as the Soviet Ambassador to Malaysia. By 1992, the now independent Kyrgyzstan was led by Askar Akayev, who chose her to be both Foreign Minister (1994-1997) and Deputy Prime Minister; positions she held until later that year when she became her country's first ambassador to the USA and Canada.

In 1997-2002, she served as the first Kyrgyz ambassador to the United Kingdom. In 2002-2004, she was the deputy head of the United Nations Observing Mission in Georgia. Upon her return to Kyrgyzstan in late 2004, she and three other opposition parliamentarians founded the Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party in preparation for the February 2005 parliamentary elections.

She was barred from becoming a candidate for the 2005 legislative election due to a previously enacted law requiring prospective MPs to have resided in the country for 5 years prior to the elections. Her time as ambassador to the United Kingdom prevented her from meeting this criterion. During this year she was acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Otunbayeva was one of the key leaders of the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan which led to the overthrow of President Akayev. She also played a key role in November 2006 protests that pressed successfully for a new democratic constitution. In December 2007, Otunbayeva was elected to the parliament of Kyrgyzstan on the candidate list of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.

On April 7, 2010, Roza Otunbayeva was selected by opposition leaders as head of a Kyrgyz interim government, following widespread rioting in Bishkek and the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev who left the country on April 15.

Following a referendum of the new Kyrgyz Constitution, she was officially sworn in as President of the Republic on July 3, 2010, serving until December 2011.

In January 2011, she founded the Roza Otunbayeva Initiative International Foundation.

She has received France's "Legion of Honour" Award with the degree of Commander, as well as the highest order of Mongolia "Polar Star" Award.

In 2011, she received an International Women of Courage Award, which is presented annually by the United States Department of State to women around the world who have shown leadership, courage, resourcefulness, and the willingness to sacrifice for others, especially while promoting women's rights.

She is a member of: Club de Madrid (Madrid), Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group (Brussels), Governing Board of the Interstate Foundation of Humanitarian Cooperation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (Moscow), Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a Global Initiative of the United Nations (New York), Board of the UN University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, Board of the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (New Delhi), UN IOM Migration Advisory Board (Geneva).

She is an Honorary Professor at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law (China), Honorary Professor at the Ganjavi University (Azerbaijan) and Honorary Professor at dozen of Kyrgyz Universities.

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