The European Uyghur Institute (IODE) was founded in 2019, and is the successor of the association “Oghouz: association des étudiant-e-s ouïghour-e-s de France” (Oghouz: association of Uyghur students in France). In response to the dramatic situation in the Uyghur homeland, where a genocide is underway and all aspects of Uyghur identity are criminalised, we decided to create a structure that would allow us to do more for the preservation and renewal of Uyghur culture in Europe.
The Institute is made up of a directional core of people, Uyghur and non-Uyghur, with different experiences and expertise, who each contribute to making the structure work and bring something new to it. In addition to this core group, we work with other Uyghurs in the diaspora, as well as volunteers, interns and students in France and other European countries.
Our primary mission is the preservation and transmission of the Uyghur culture and language. We organise a Uyghur school on Saturdays for children growing up in the Uyghur diaspora in France. We do Uyghur language classes as well as introductions to Uyghur dance and music. This is an extremely important space for these children, where their Uyghur identity is valued, where they are accompanied by people who understand the situation in the Uyghur homeland and the trauma experienced by Uyghurs in the diaspora, who are a valuable support for the families, and where they are with other children whose experience is similar to theirs.
We also organise activities throughout the year, both for the Uyghur diaspora and for the Parisian public. At these cultural events we allow everyone to enjoy the richness of Uyghur culture, a living culture that continues to transform and reflect the experience of the people who produce it. These activities include concerts, poetry readings, art and photography exhibitions, etc.
We are also very close to the academic world. Many of us are researchers, affiliated with different research centres, and it is important to us that the Institute participates in the production and circulation of academic knowledge about the region and the Uyghur people. To this end, we organise colloquiums and conferences, as well as lectures at various universities. The popularisation of academic knowledge is also central to our mission, so that the general public can better know and understand the Uyghur people and the genocide currently being perpetrated against them.
Given the dramatic situation in the Uyghur homeland, we also have an important role to play in making the French public aware of the seriousness of Chinese policies aimed at the elimination of the Uyghur group as such, and the assimilation and extermination of the individuals that constitute the group. We have led important campaigns to inform the general public about the situation, which culminated this year in the recognition of the Uyghur genocide by the National Assembly on Thursday 20 January 2022. However, our fight does not stop here. We invite you to have a look at our current and past campaigns under Activities, Campaigns or on our social network pages.
Finally, we guarantee administrative assistance to Uyghurs living in France, and in Europe more generally.
We hope soon to be able to announce the opening of our office in Paris, where visitors will be able to attend our events, spend time in our Central Asian tea room, read Uyghur studies books available in our library, and create links between Uyghurs settled in France and the general public in Paris.