Rukhani Janghyru programme unveiled at UNESCO in Paris

The presentation of the National Rukhani Janghyru programme, unveiled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in April 2017, was held Oct. 17 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Nada Al-Nashif, assistant UNESCO director-general for Social and Human Sciences, said in opening remarks that UNESCO was excited to host the presentation of the programme, which promotes Kazakh culture on the international arena. She noted the importance in this context of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), which addresses global challenges through intercultural and interreligious dialogue. She reminded the audience of the pivotal role Kazakhstan played both as a co-sponsor of the proclamation of the decade of the rapprochement of cultures and its financial supporter, The Astana Times reports.

Al-Nashif also drew attention to the country’s multifaceted contribution, referring to establishment of the Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre in Almaty as a Category two centre.

Aida Balayeva, head of the domestic policy office of the Presidential Administration, said: “The goal of this presentation is to introduce the Kazakh model for open discussion: on the one hand, we expect constructive feedback and new ideas and, on the other, we hope the world community will learn some useful approaches laid down in the programme,” said Balaeva.

Kazakhstan aspires to join the world’s top 30 most developed countries. She said Strategy 2050 launched in 2012 is the foundation for the modernisation of thenation’s identity. She also spoke of fast-moving changes the world has been going through, partly due to the emergence of digital technologies. These changes, Balayeva said, have led Kazakhstan toward a new level of development, including large scale political and economic changes. Among them is a move to redistribute and decentralise powers and spur technological development. According to Balayeva, the Rukhani Janghyru programme should be viewed as an integral part of this overarching strategy.

Balayeva briefed the audience about the six national projects launched as part of the Rukhani Janghyru programme, including the transition the Kazakh language to the Roman alphabet, new humanitarian knowledge: one hundred new textbooks in the Kazakh language, the “Tugan Zher” (“Native soil”) project, sacral geography of Kazakhstan, modern Kazakh culture in the global world, and 100 new faces of Kazakhstan.

As the co-chair of the Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World project, Balayeva noted the project’s objectives and approaches to its implementation. She said the country wants its people’s cultural achievements made since 1991 in four major areas, including literature, arts, music, and theatre/cinema/performing dance, to be presented to the world and manifest themselves in UN’s six languages.

According to Balayeva, in the first stage of the project implementation, selected pieces of culture in the above mentioned four categories will be up for a nationwide online voting.

The second stage will include presenting them to the international audience. When it comes to promoting Kazakh literature internationally, the project implementers, according to Balayeva, plan to employ a multitude approaches, including through creation of an online library of books by Kazakh authors translated into various world languages, collaboration with largest publishing conglomerates and authoritative literary agents.

The project also envisions setting up an online platform allowing public access two high-resolution images of artworks housed in the country’s largest and most renowned museums. Such a platform, Balayeva said, would enable users to virtually tour museums’ galleries and explore physical and contextual information.

The roster of the conference speakers also included Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Director of the Centre for Rapprochement of Cultures Karl Baipakov, President of the Institute for European Perspective and Security Emmanuel Dupuy, Professor at the University Paris 8 – UFR TES Dominique Archambault and others.

The conference was followed by an exhibition featuring historical artefacts and works of Kazakh contemporary artists, writers and poets.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said the event was yet another tribute to the country’s expanding cooperation with UNESCO.

The event concluded with a gala-concert featuring renowned Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Astana Ballet artists and Astana Opera singers as well as pop singer Dimash Kudaibergen.