Akmaral Aben- Kazakhstan
The world is changing dramatically. Global crisis clearly demonstrates the inefficiency of global international organizations, military alliances weakness and instability of the global economic system. A variety of crisis processes continue to unfold, and the state of the global security continues to deteriorate.
The system of international relations formed during current era in geopolitical balance of power and principles of international security after the collapse of the Soviet Union started to collapse and being replaced by the standards of strength and superiority.
The process of forming a new world order, which began in the second half of 80-s of XX century accompanied by a process of formation of a new geopolitical configuration, which became the result of dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the disintegration of Soviet Union and, ultimately, the destruction of bipolar world. The latter circumstance facilitated the emergence of new centers of power, questioned the sole domination of the world.
In turn, this led to intensification of struggle for world and regional leadership, and expansion of the sphere of influence of geopolitical boundaries. Along with the destruction of bipolar world the previous restrictions on the use of military force have disappeared, it has become increasingly applied to achieve geopolitical and geo-economic goals.The collapse of the Union hurt economic, social, political and ethnic situation of some former Soviet countries, except for Kazakhstan.
Several ethnic conflicts still persist in post-Soviet countries, which are based on the claims of a certain state for the territory of the neighbouring state, tension in the relations between Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Conflicts between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan arise in connection with the border conflict. The lack of delimitation and demarcation of borders, border disputes and skirmishes are sad consequences of this state of affairs.
We have all witnessed the great waves of refugees in Europe, due to the military conflict in the Middle East. Intensified internal contradictions and conflicts in Europe. According to experts, never had there been such a high rate of growth in the number of people abandoning their homes due to armed conflicts.
Population displacement due to war, economic turmoil and natural disasters did not start today and will not end tomorrow – the process of finding a safe environment for living has recently increased in several regions of the planet.
It encourages governments and international organizations to seek answers to serious challenges posed by the need to accommodate the refugees, their integration in their new homes. Along the way, we have to perform such tasks as the provision of security for migrants, which was especially evident in operation to rescue persons in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. Reports published by the United Nations and other organizations on the subject say the problem of migrants and refugees is becoming more acute, and the decision, has not been found unfortunately.
European governments have faced a very difficult situation the resolution of which may take a very long time, a very large financial costs and can have unintended consequences, which may be a surge of nationalism and the clash of civilizations. Europe will need to apply every effort to prevent this collision to take interethnic and interreligious forms.
The importance of inter-ethnic harmony in modern conditions is evident and public sector organizations from various regions make more efforts for its establishment. Experts and scholars, public opinion leaders and media people are well aware of the need and importance of inter-ethnic harmony in the contemporary conditions and are taking various steps for its establishment.
It is due to success of the project multi-ethnic, multi-religious society in the Kazakh land, many politicians and scientists recognize the uniqueness of Kazakh model and the center of this model is the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan (APK), established in 1995.
So, what is the uniqueness of the Kazakhstani model?
The work of Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan (ANK) has become a significant contribution of Kazakhstan into global process of intercultural dialogue.
First, Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan has become an important element of the political system of Kazakhstan by strengthening interests of all ethnic groups, ensuring strict observance of human rights and freedoms regardless of their national origin.
Incidentally, the name of the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan proves the country’s nation is unified. The country does not use the “diaspora” term and it has been replaced with ethno-cultural associations.
ANK’s activities aimed at implementation of the state national policy, ensuring social and political stability in the country and improving the efficiency of cooperation between the state and civil society institutions in the sphere of interethnic relations.
Second, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is the only organization in the world that has the political status of a constitutional body headed by its Chairman – the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the guarantor of the Constitution. This defines its special high status. At the same time, similar organization in Russia and some other countries, is a public organization.
“Third, The special Law On the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan and Regulations on the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan defines legal status of the Assembly, which defines its role in the country’s policy, objectives, main tasks, activities of the ANK, as well as features to organize interaction with the state bodies and public associations, mechanisms of participation in the development and implementation of state policy in the sphere of interethnic relations.
Adoption of strategic documents, such as the doctrine of national unity, the ANK concept development until 2025, Concept of strengthening and developing the Kazakhstani identity and unity.
Fourth, the working body is the Secretariat of the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan within the structure of the Presidential Administration as an independent department. This implies effectiveness and efficiency of its participation in the public administration and public relations.
The Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan has up to 13 structures: Scientific and Expert ANK Council, Centre for the Study of Interethnic and Interfaith Relations of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Club of Journalists and Experts in the interethnic relations at ANK, “ANC Fund” Public Fund, Councils of Mothers, Councils of Elders, Council of Youth, etc.
Fifth, it is the Representation of interests of ethnic groups in the highest legislative body – the Parliament of the country as a guaranteed representation. It is very important that the Assembly’s representatives from different ethnic groups promotes 9 deputies for election in Majilis of the Kazakh Parliament. Deputies elected by the Assembly represent its interests, as a set of interests of all the country’s ethnic groups.
Also the Majilis forms a Deputy group “Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan” consisting of 30 people who are members of different parties.
It is a voluntary association of deputies of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, created for joint implementation of its powers and acting in accordance with regulations of Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The main aim of the group is active involvement in the legislative implementation of the Strategy of Development of Kazakhstan until 2030, Strategy of inclusion of Kazakhstan into 50 most competitive countries of the world, the annual message of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to people of Kazakhstan, orders of Chairman of the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan, its strategic and program documents.
Sixth, the supreme body of the Assembly is the Session chaired by the head of state. Its decisions are binding for consideration by public authorities and civil society institutions.
Seventh, it is resources to ensure ethnic and cultural dialogue. Model multi-ethnic society is not confined to only the institution of the Assembly. The country has schools where teaching is conducted entirely in Uzbek, Tajik, Uighur and Ukrainian languages. In 108 schools 22 languages of ethnic groups of Kazakhstan are taught as a separate subject. In addition, there are 195 specialized linguistic centers, where not only children but also adults can learn languages of 30 ethnic groups.
All regions of the country have Friendship Houses, in Astana – the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation built in accordance with the order of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Palace hosts annual Assembly sessions, congresses of representatives of global and traditional religions. Besides Kazakh and Russian theaters, the country has four national theaters – Uzbek, Uighur, Korean and German.
A special place in the field of ethno-cultural relations in the Republic of Kazakhstan devoted to supporting the development of information and communication resources of ethno-cultural associations. The information field includes actively working 35 and more ethnic newspapers and magazines.
6 largest ethnic national newspapers operate with government support. Newspapers and magazines are available in 11 languages, radio programs – 8 and TV shows in 7 languages.
“Export” of Kazakhstani experience
Kazakhstan mechanism aimed at strengthening of both ethnic and international dialogue among people, Kazakhstani concept of inter-religious harmony has become one of the rare examples of positive communication and interaction of various ethnic groups.
Foreign countries interested in Kazakhstan’s experience, which require popularization and wide representation on the world stage. In particular, there is interest from the Russian side. The memorandum was signed between the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan and the Assembly of Nations of Russia on cooperation and exchange of experience.
Recently in Russia raised the question of deciding on the Law of the Russian nation, in fact, the formation of a unified ideology of Russian people. I believe, Kazakhstani experience would be useful here, because Kazakhstan has passed along this way.
Without the Kazakhstan leader’s initiative and his personal involvement in organization of the ANK, this institution work is unlikely to become successful. But I also note the special role of the Deputy Chairman of the ANK Tugzhanov Yeraly Lukpanovich. His role was important for the President, and also for the people in terms of creation of the above Kazakhstan’s concept for regulation of ethnic issues in the country. This person has personally met with the population in the regions, disputing with different ethnic groups, elders, youth.
We could say that thanks to him, his tenacity and persistence, the Assembly obtained current political status and plays an important role in the country’s ethnic policy. The Assembly plays a special role under his management to strengthen the national unity.
Nursultan Nazarbayev’s personal contribution is undeniable in terms of establishment of a consensus between the leaders of traditional religions. Efforts of Nursultan Nazarbayev in the name of deepening inter-religious dialogue, enhancing mutual understanding between religious leaders and the political elites of various countries are cordial response worldwide. After all, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative to hold an authoritative international forum in Astana, Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions serve the good of all mankind.
Participants condemn terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations as one of the most dangerous and serious threats to a single religious spirituality, international security and the prosperity of mankind and calls on the entire international community to join efforts to counter terrorism, expressing the hope that the constructive parliamentary dialogue and religious leaders will find a worthy sequel.
The dramatic events of our time have transformed Astana Congress in the most important institution of global “spiritual diplomacy”, the eradication of violence and building a safer world are impossible without the active involvement of religious leaders. In addition to the great content of work, Kazakhstan has currently a significant progress in terms of further institutionalization of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Speaking at the 70th Session at the UN General Assembly, the President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the threat of terrorism and religious extremism today acquired a global scale: “It is global in nature and only this Global Organization can counteract this. The UN should develop and adopt a comprehensive UN document on the fight against this phenomenon. Islam, as a religion, has nothing to do with terrorism”.
Therefore, from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly, he proposed to convene a forum on “Islam against terrorism”, as well as the creation of a worldwide network to combat this scourge.
Also, this year created the Ministry of Religious Affairs and civil society. The sphere of competence of the new ministry includes ensuring the rights of citizens in the area of religious freedom, working with non-governmental sector, civil society organizations, work with young people.
Recent events clearly show the justification of existing views on the need to form a new global security system. The aggravation of global problems require different forms to restrict competition and transition to cooperation not only between the states but also between ethnic groups and religions. Questions of interconnectedness of security and inter-ethnic dialogue, the impact of these processes on new communication technologies are the most relevant, targeted and deserve study today.
Present stage of development of civilization sorely lacking the experience of inter-ethnic, inter-religious and broader dialogue between civilizations. Unfortunately, the number of conflicts, dividing lines in today’s world is growing. Anyone who is interested in harmonious development of mankind urgently need to unite the intellectual potential and experience to overcome the conflict.
Therefore, in my opinion, the Kazakhstani concept of interethnic and inter-confessional accord has no other prospects in addition to further work, the struggle for building harmonious global system of interaction between states and societies.
“Akmaral was born in Kazakhstan. She graduated from St. Petersburg State University, Department of Culture, Public Relations Specialist; Moscow Institute of Television and Radio Broadcasting. Head of the Centre for Strategic Communications “C&C Consulting and Communications”.