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Omer Kanat

Guest Speaker

    Professional affiliation

    Executive Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project

    Full Biography

    Mr. Omer Kanat is Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a human rights research and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. He has two decades of experience as a broadcast journalist. From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was Senior Editor at Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news around the world. Prior to his work at Radio Free Asia, he was Editor and later Senior Editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service.  

    Mr. Kanat helped found UHRP in 2003, as well as the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in 2004. He has served as Vice President of the World Uyghur Congress since 2006 and Chairman of the WUC Executive Committee since 2017. He was also WUC’s International Outreach Coordinator from 2014 to 2016. He holds a B.A. in History from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Science and Literature, with a focus on political history, and studied at the Munich Institute of Economics and Trade. He was born in Ghulja city in East Turkistan. Mr. Kanat is fluent in English, German, Uyghur, Turkish, Persian, Tajik, Dari, and Uzbek, and is functionally proficient in Kyrgyz and Kazakh.