KAZAKHSTAN CELEBRATES DAY OF THE FIRST PRESIDENT
Astana, November 29: Kazakhstan is in celebratory mood this week, as the country gears up for a national holiday, the Day of the First President, on December 1. It is the second time that the holiday is being marked and commemorates the date, December 1 1991, when Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected as Kazakhstan’s first President by an overwhelming majority of the population. A little over two weeks later, Kazakhstan declared its independence.
The holiday was established after a bill was passed by the Senate (the upper house of parliament) in December 2011 in order to acknowledge the huge achievements of President Nazarbayev since Kazakhstan became independent. Since that time, President Nazarbayev has helped to transform Kazakhstan from a Soviet republic into a modern, democratic state.
This sentiment was summed up by the Chairman of the Majilis (the lower house of parliament), Nurlan Nigmatulin, at an international conference on November 26 to mark the start of a week of national celebration. At the conference, entitled “The Role of the First President of Kazakhstan, the Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the Development of Parliamentarianism in Kazakhstan”, Mr. Nigmatulin praised the President for his role in carrying out reforms in all areas of life: economically, socially and politically.
The actual holiday falls on a Sunday this year, so Monday December 2 will be a day off work for most citizens. But following the parliamentary conference, preparations for the holiday have been gathering pace all over the country. The Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan has been particularly active and imaginative in preparing for the day’s celebrations.
On November 27 in Astana, the Assembly hosted a lecture, “Kazakhstan as a model of ethnic tolerance and social agreement”, and also a fashion show of national costumes, “Ethno-FASHION”, followed by a concert of ethnic music given by musicians from the Zhambyl and Kyzylorda Regions. The following day the Assembly held a conference on “Peace and Agreement”. In all, the various local branches of the Assembly have arranged more than 40 different events throughout the country including conferences, round tables, celebratory events, exhibitions, competitions, and festivals of art and crafts.
But this holiday is not simply about celebrating. Representatives of the Nazarbayev University have marked the Day of the First President by spending a few days visiting schools and colleges in Ust-Kamenogorsk and in the Eastern Kazakhstan Region at the invitation of the Akim (Governor) of the Region. They were there to tell local students what they have to do to enter Nazarbayev University. Indeed, schools in the area show particularly high standards in mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology; and also English language. One of the presentations was even made in English to test the students; they passed with flying colours as they understood it very well.
In Ekibastuz, in Pavlodar Region, the holiday is being marked by the opening of a new children’s technical school; a kindergarten for 320 children; and the presentation of the keys to new flats to 45 families. A charity concert is being held in the town under the banner, “A Present for the President”, where the money raised will go to the families of disabled children. The town’s music school, which was built thanks to the support of the President, is holding a concert of “The Three Tenors” in honor of the holiday. And there are sporting events, too: people from Ekibastuz are taking part in a 2,400m fun run, “the President’s Mile”, and there are volleyball and ice hockey tournaments.
“The results of two decades of development for independent Kazakhstan – the massive reforms in all areas of life, the sustainable growth of the economy, a just social policy, the steady democratization of society – all of this is a direct result of the fulfi lment of the strategic course set by the Head of State.”
Nurlan Nigmatulin, Chairman of the Majilis