Launched in March 2013, the International Leaders Programme is a flagship visit programme designed to connect and develop lasting relationships with future leaders. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has hosted over 100 impressive and influential visitors from all over the world. The ILP showcases diverse aspects of the UK and includes senior engagement with leaders in government, Parliament, media, business, academia and civil society. Each group is met by the Foreign Secretary or one of the other FCO Ministers.
This year Uzbekistan was also represented in the Programme. Among other potential candidates the British Embassy in Tashkent nominated Mr Hikmat Abdurahmanov - Co-founder and Head of a Group of Companies including Uzbek Chinese Trading House, TechnoPlaza and International Business Travel and Chairman of the Board of the Association of International Business and Technologies. Mr Abdurahmanov has built his business from scratch and now employs 70 people in business tourism, trade, finance, logistics, and consulting services for Uzbek companies operating in China, EU, USA and other export markets offering modern technologies, equipment, know-how and managerial experience for Uzbek entrepreneurs.
From 18 to 26 January, Mr Abdurahmanov visited the UK had some informative meetings and made useful contacts in the UK and with the other ILP alumni. In addition to the group visit programme, delegates have the option of a bespoke two-day personalised programme. The individual programme for Mr Abdurahmanov consisted of visits to 4 organisations. Three of these were to technology business incubators or accelerators, including BBC Worldwide Labs, Level 39 and Innovation Warehouse, which provide workspace and expertise to small, technology start-ups to help them develop. The fourth meeting was with the London Stock Exchange.
On 1 February, Mr Abdurahmanov also paid a visit to St Andrews University in Scotland. This visit was of special significance, as Mr Abdurahmanov is himself a St Andrews University graduate. He met with senior academics and the Development and Alumni Relations Department. Mr Abdurahmanov also gave a presentation to current students on international business perspectives in Uzbekistan.