PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV CHAIRS 20TH SESSION
OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLE OF KAZAKHSTAN
Astana, April 29: On April 24 President Nursultan Nazarbayev chaired the 20th session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan.
The Assembly is a living example of the ethnic diversity and tolerance of the people of Kazakhstan. It was created by President Nazarbayev on March 1 1995 to bring together in harmony and mutual understanding the different ethnic, religious, social and cultural groups which exist in Kazakhstan. A session is held at least once a year.
The Assembly serves a very practical purpose. Nine seats in the parliament of Kazakhstan, the Majilis, are elected from the Assembly. The Assembly takes a keen interest in the country’s educational policy; 88 secondary schools carry out their teaching in the languages of Kazakhstan’s ethnic minorities. 195 centers have been opened to provide teaching about the customs of Kazakhstan’s many different peoples and also their languages. There are theatres and media operating in a variety of languages, many of them supported by the state budget.
Opening the session, President Nazarbayev spoke of Kazakhstan as a territory which is free of ethnic conflicts. He said that the reason economic and socio-political reforms had been carried out successfully was because of the peace and harmony which exists between the different ethnic groups. And he praised the members of the Assembly for this, describing it as, “the main result” of their work together.
The President singled out for praise the Kazakh people. He called them, “the powerful historical core” which formed the foundation for all the ethnic and social groups in the country. But at the same time, this brings with it a responsibility for the Kazakh people of today. “Modern Kazakhs, following in the traditions of their ancestors, must show the example of unity, tolerance and patriotism, selfess service to the state and society,” said the President.
President Nazarbayev went on to say that the unity of the Kazakh people themselves must be strengthened; Kazakh customs and traditions must be observed and respected; and that the main factor which can cement the people together is the Kazakh language, as the official language of the state.
A crucial role in holding society together in a spirit of tolerance and respect must be played by the intelligentsia. It is the intelligentsia, upholding the language, the traditions and the values of the Kazakh people, who can lead the spiritual process of uniting society.
The President acknowledged that a crucial factor also in establishing the right atmosphere for unity in society is the improvement in the socio-economic situation in the country. “It is clear to everyone,” the President said, “that a policy of peace and agreement has a direct economic effect. Internal stability strengthens the trust of investors and the development of economic cooperation.”
And while the President stressed that Kazakhstan is a secular state, he also acknowledged that it is vital that the state, society and different religions work together. Kazakhstan supports the traditional religions, but is opposed to all forms of extremism.