The Uyghurs, who number nearly ten million [the number was 12.8 million according to this Chinese Embassy report], are closely related to the Uzbeks, and have a rich body of literature, arts, music, and dance, that stretches back to the 9th century. Living at the eastern cultural crossroads of Central Asia and Chinese Inner Asia, the Uyghurs are influenced not only by Central Asian Turkic culture, but also by Persian, Arabic, Mongolian, Indian, and ancient Indo-European cultures. Today, the language is geopolitically strategic as the region shares a border with Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Turkic republics, Russia, and Mongolia. This means that someone who studies Uyghur will become one of a small number of experts in the world speaking this language, which increases job opportunities.
But more than that: learning Uyghur is a blast! And ...if you speak Uyghur, you can learn Uzbek within weeks. You can learn Turkish, Kazakh, or Kirghiz within months. Summer study is possible in China [actually, it is not possible in China at this time], Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan; research opportunities may also be available.
The University of Kansas regularly offered [offers] Uyghur. Its Uyghur studies group Kansas [The Uyghur study group of the University] has announced the publication of [published] their first-year Uyghur language textbook and grammar, "Greetings from the Teklimakan: a handbook of Modern Uyghur," by Tarjei Engesæth, Mahire Yakup and Arienne Dwyer in 2009. The textbook and accompanying audio are available for download **at no cost** from here.
The textbook, which also serves as a grammatical reference, is suitable both for self-study and for classroom use, and is equivalent to one year's study of the language. The second volume of the textbook is in the process of completion and will be published online.