Who We Are

Established in 1998, the Uyghur American Association (UAA) is a non-partisan organization that promotes and preserves Uyghur culture, and supports the right of Uyghur people to use peaceful, democratic means to determine their own political future. Based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, the UAA serves as the primary hub for the Uyghur diaspora community in the United States. UAA programs train and support community advocacy for action on the Uyghur crisis; provide the Uyghur American community with unique educational programming that preserves the Uyghur language, music, culture, and history; and empowers Uyghur youth to become leaders in their community.

Kuzzat Altay

Kuzzat was born and raised in Urumchi and came to the U.S. twelve years ago as a refugee. Kuzzat has been highly active in the Uyghur community, including founding the Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network. He is the CEO and founder of Cybertek and is fluent in Turkish, Uyghur, Chinese, and English.

Elfidar Iltebir

Eflidar was born in Urumchi, the Uyghur region and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. She has lived in the United States since 2000. She received her BA in Marketing from George Mason University and has over twenty years of experience in marketing and project management. During her college years, she taught the Uyghur language to U.S. government employees at Inlingua Language Service Center. As the daughter of a prominent Uyghur writer and journalist, she has been an active member of the Uyghur community and a human rights activist for many years. She has organized many advocacy and Uyghur cultural events in the Washington D.C. area. She currently works as a Structure Analyst at an Energy firm and is fluent in English, Uyghur and Turkish.

Arslan Khakiyev

Arslan was born to a Uyghur family in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He received his law degree from Kazakh National State University in Almaty City in 1998. He came to the United States to study English at San Diego State University in 1999. While in San Diego, Arslan established connections with the Uyghur community and transferred to Washington DC where he continued his studies and participated in the Second Uyghur American Congress in 2000. He worked for Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service for over 18 years. As an active member of the Uyghur community, Arslan has helped many Uyghurs in his capacity as an interpreter and has assisted in preparing Uyghurs for their asylum cases and interviews. He is also an active member at Dar Al Noor Islamic Center in Virginia where he has participated in many Islamic events and conferences. He is fluent in Russian, Kazakh, Uyghur, and English.

Intizar Tursun
Director of Communications

As a Uyghur Youtuber, Intizar uses his platform to create awareness about about the Uyghur genocide in the Chinese speaking world. He is fluent in Uyghur, Chinese and English.

Irade Kashgary
Director of Public Advocacy

Irade was born in Gulja, the Uyghur region of China, and grew up in the United States. She received her BS in computer science. She manages operations at the Uyghur Language School in Northern Virginia. Her experience ranges from working with various NGOs such as the UN Major Group for Children and Youth and and the Asian Youth Peace Network and speaking at major events such as the UN High Level Political Forum and RightsCon. She has also organized youth events within the Uyghur diaspora and worked with Uyghur organizations to lead youth training, advocacy events and build public and governmental recognition of the Uyghur crisis. Irade currently works as a Project Manager at a software solutions company and is fluent in Uyghur and English.

Max Gelber
Program Director

In his early twenties, Max lived, worked, and studied throughout China and Central Asia. When he returned to the US, he worked on Uyghur advocacy programs at the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF). Immediately prior to joining the UAA, Max was the Program Manager of Academics and Research for Sustainable GW at George Washington University. He holds a master’s degree in sustainable development practice from the University of Florida and speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Become a Member