The Textiles of Kyrgyzstan – A Mixture of Pragmatism and Artistic Values
Lecture by
Lecture by Ambassador Eileen A. Malloy
May 17, 2009

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Lecture by Ambassador Eileen A. Malloy

The Textiles of Kyrgyzstan – A Mixture of Pragmatism and Artistic Values

The talk described how the various ethnic groups of Kyrgyzstan and its geopolitical history have influenced the development of traditional textile arts in this Central Asian country. Ambassador Molloy discussed the different textile traditions of North and South Kyrgyzstan as well as the different ethnic groups residing within Kyrgyzstan. Also addressed was the influences from China, Russia, and Turkey through the Old Silk Road on the textiles of Kyrgyzstan.

The influence of the nomadic lifestyle on textile production included discussion of the bride’s dowry pieces, the yurt, yurt bindings, wall hangings and Kyrgyz reed screens. The need for these pieces will be shown as a driving force in the textile production of the nomadic Kyrgyz. The traditional headwear and clothing was presented in slides and through samples.

Post-Soviet adaptations of Traditional Textiles for Export were addressed including the U.S. government-funded Art to Artisans work, the changes made to address a market including changes in styles and packaging. The absence of success in locating a significant market for these traditional crafts was analyzed.

Ambassador Eileen Anne Malloy, currently active as a consultant, was a career Foreign Service officer from 1978 until 2008. Her most recent overseas postings include Consul General in Sydney, Australia during the turbulent period following September 11, 2001; U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic overseeing over $50 million annually in U.S. development assistance; the first Head of the Arms Control Implementation Unit set up in Moscow, USSR to oversee implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty; Chief of the Consular Section in Dublin, Ireland where she restructured the consular section to cope with the expanded workload under the new visa “lottery” program for Irish citizens; and Consular Section Chief and Acting Consul General in Calgary, Canada.

During her 30 plus years at the U.S. Department of State Ms. Malloy received numerous U.S. Government awards to include three Senior Foreign Service Performance Awards, a Superior Honor Award for her innovative performance as Director of the State Department’s Task Force on Hurricane Katrina, and a Meritorious Honor Award for outstanding performance as a Team Leader in the Office of the Inspector General. In 1996 she was the recipient of the Government of Kyrgyzstan’s Woman of the Year Award.

Ms. Malloy was awarded a BSFS (Bachelor of Science of Foreign Service) by Georgetown University. She was an exchange student in the former USSR twice and has studied the Russian language and culture for over 20 years.

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