On the initiative of the Embassy of Tajikistan in London, a ceremony of unveiling a bust of the founder of New Persian Poetry Abu Abdullah Rudaki took place at SOAS University of London (the School of Oriental and African Studies) on March 16. 

The Tajik Foreign Ministry’s press center says Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Tajikistan to the United Kingdom, Rukhshona Emomali, and Vice-Chancellor of SOAS, Professor Joanna Newman, participated in the ceremony.

In a statement delivered at the bust unveiling ceremony, Ambassador Rukhshona Emomali reportedly emphasized the unique service of Rudaki in enhancing the Tajik-Persian language and founding Tajik-Persian world verse, that hence became a yardstick for science, literature and statehood in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Minor Asia, Pakistan, and India for the next centuries.

It was highlighted that the Tajik-Persian language and literature, which was formed in the time of Rudaki and gained world fame, is still enjoyed in Tajikistan, Iran, Afghanistan and some other countries, and is practical for all Aryan scholars across the globe.

After bust the unveiling ceremony, academic and cultural deliberations dedicated to the life, and legacy of Abu Abdullah Rudaki were held with the participation of more than 200 guests, including the President of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan Qobiljon Khushvakhtzoda, as well as experts from the Tajik-Persian and British think tanks, and compatriots.

Basically, these academic and cultural talks, which were held on the eve of the International Navrouz holiday, turned into a celebration of science and culture of Tajiks and Navrouz approaching in the United Kingdom, and led to a worthy presentation of the high scientific, literary, and cultural values of the Tajik nation, according to the Tajik MFA information department.

Besides the abovementioned event, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Tajikistan Lutfiya Abdulkholikzoda and President of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan Qobiljon Khushvakhtzoda reportedly held fruitful meetings with the High Education Team of the Department for Business and Trade, representatives from Persian Studies of the University of Oxford, the University of Portsmouth, and SOAS, which ranks among the top-5 best universities of oriental studies.

During the meetings, the parties discussed ways and means of expanding effective cooperation, and in this regard signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan and the abovementioned universities.

Rudaki (858 – 940/41) was a poet, singer, and musician who is regarded as the first major poet to write in New Persian.  A court poet under the Samanids, he reportedly composed more than 180,000 verses, yet only a small portion of his work has survived, most notably a small part of his versification of the Kalila wa-Dimna, a collection of Indian fables.

In Iran, Rudaki is acknowledged as the "founder of New Persian poetry" and in Tajikistan as the "father of Tajik literature".

SOAS University of London, the School of Oriental and African Studies) is a public research university in London, England, and a member institution of the federal University of London.  Founded in 1916,   SOAS is one of the world's leading institutions for the study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  SOAS is divided into three faculties: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, and Faculty of Law and Social Sciences which includes the SOAS School of Law.

The university offers around 350 bachelor's degree combinations, more than 100 one-year master's degrees, and PhD programs in nearly every department.  The university has produced several heads of states, government ministers, diplomats, central bankers, Supreme Court judges, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and many other notable leaders around the world. SOAS is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Rukhshona Emomali, the third daughter of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, was appointed Tajikistan’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom on December 15, 2021.  In 2016, she was given a senior position at the Foreign Ministry in Dushanbe following a period of activity at the Tajik Embassy in London.

She is married to businessman Shamsullo Sohibov.    

Several other close relatives of Rahmon, who has nine children, occupy important official positions or control lucrative businesses in Tajikistan.

Thus his daughter Ozoda Rahmon heads the President’s Executive Office, and his son Rustam Emomali is the Mayor of Dushanbe also the Speaker of the Majlisi Milli (Tajikistan’s upper chamber of parliament).