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Updated: 2 hours 19 min ago

Central Asian parliaments seek regional peacebuilding, joint anti-terrorist efforts

2 hours 34 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A model of a regional zone of peace, security and cooperation can be developed on the basis of a harmonious combination of the interests of all involved Central Asian countries, said Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament) Chairperson Nurlan Nigmatulin. He spoke on the role of parliaments in legislative support for cooperation and regional security at the May 25 international roundtable in the capital.

The event, organised by the Mazhilis in cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation Parliamentary Assembly (CSTO PA), was held under the auspices of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty and the 10th anniversary of the CSTO PA.

New ways to strengthen cooperation between the parliaments were outlined at the event. The representatives agreed to develop a legislative base for regional cooperation and spoke of the need to approve the signed agreements in parliaments expeditiously to ensure security in the region. The important role of CSTO PA inter-parliamentary cooperation and the cooperation of international organisation deputies was also specified.

Nigmatulin said Central Asia is one of the main priorities of Kazakhstan’s activities as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The country intends to actively work to promote the interests of all the states in the region in ensuring its stability and security, strengthening cooperation and promoting its growth and development.

“The situation in Afghanistan plays a special role in ensuring long-term stability and security for the countries of our region. It will be impossible to ensure long-term stability in the region without a solution to the Afghan issue, without the integration of this country into the regional process in Central Asia,” he said.

He emphasised the role of parliaments in solving the most important tasks in the mechanisms of ensuring national and international security. The Kazakh Parliament aims to provide legislative support for the regional and global security strategy set by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

New global security challenges in the world and the Central Asian region require the special attention of CSTO country parliamentarians. Their cooperation allows providing legislative support for international processes, taking into account national interests and strengthening the independence and security of each country.

The Kazakh Parliament has ratified 38 international treaties as part of CSTO, 17 agreements as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and three international agreements as part of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.  

“We can achieve significant success in solving any problems only through close cooperation and collective efforts. This is especially important when the risks of strengthening crisis phenomena in our region still remain relevant. All current threats and challenges are of a transboundary nature; therefore, effective counteraction to these phenomena is impossible without close interaction with neighbouring countries and international partners,” said Nigmatulin.

The spread of religious extremism and terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration were named among the serious threats to the region’s security. These challenges and threats require “closer cooperation in consolidating the political and economic potential of the countries of the region to solve key problems and ensure stability in Central Asia,” he added.

Central Asia should not become a field of global rivalry, Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko said in his remarks. The countries are able to prevent new geopolitical fault lines in the region.

“There is a need to work purposefully within the region and outside it to preserve and develop a constructive and neutral to international conflicts area, to build a favourable atmosphere in the region on the basis of the win-win approach and avoiding zero-sum games. We believe that the best way to ensure the long-term stability and sustainable development of Central Asia is to continue enhancing the regional dialogue that would help reduce social and economic problems, solve water-energy and other issues,” he said.

Official visits and high-level meetings of Central Asian heads of state in 2016-2017 significantly contributed to regional relations. Nazarbayev visited Uzbekistan last year several times and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev travelled to Kazakhstan in March and April of this year. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov visited Kazakhstan in April, while the Kazakh President went to Bishkek earlier this spring.

There have also been a string of visits between other Central Asian states.

“The positive trend of intraregional visits and intensification of the dialogue between our neighbours is of special importance,” said Vassilenko.

Transnational and organised crime as a manifestation of the new challenges and threats to regional and global security have become some of the main factors of deteriorating political and socio-economic stability in society, said Tajik Majlisi Namoyandagon Majlisi Oli committee on law, order, defence and security chairperson Jurakhon Majidzoda.

“Tajikistan consistently and aggressively advocates for collective efforts in the field of maintaining regional and global security and participates in the coalition against terrorism,” he said.

Majidzoda added there is a need for a coordinated international criminal and legal policy at the level of the CSTO Interparliamentary Assembly, Council of Heads of State, European Union and UN to combat international terrorism. Similarly, he spoke of the need to develop the legislative base to expand international and interstate cooperation between law enforcement bodies and a strategy to combat terrorism at the state level with legal norms and methodological actions.   

Kyrgyz Zhogorku Kenesh (Supreme Council) Member of Budget and Finances Committee Muradyl Mademinov noted cooperation among the parliaments plays an important role and the meeting is a good platform to discuss topical issues.

“No country can fight against drug trafficking independently. We call for joint efforts to fight drug trafficking. Regional border guards, law enforcement agencies and drug control agencies need cooperation and coordination of actions. This cannot be provided without an appropriate regulatory framework,” he said.

Afghan Wolesi Jirga (National Assembly) member Abdul Qader Zazai noted countries have to stand together against the ideology and culture of terrorism and against those who sponsor and equip these groups.

“Tackling this issue is not complicated; it requires the political will and struggle of the regional states for bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region and to all humanity. All these issues need collective measures and the request of a strong, interregional counterterrorism strategy,” he said.  

Zazai proposed developing a strategy which should be collectively focused on combating terrorism, financing terrorism and drug trafficking.

“The strategy needs to be reflected at the national level and with relevant laws. The strategy may have long term planning along with international accountability. I request all to take concrete steps on these issues of regional security and cooperate. I request the honourable members of parliaments of various nations [present here] today to raise this issue of terrorism in your respective parliaments and academic institutions. Let’s work hard together to bring and keep security and stability in the whole region and to save our people and nation from terror attacks,” he said in an emotional speech.

“Kazakhstan now has very good security and it will be a good example for other countries to use this experience,” he added.

During the event, the CSTO parliamentarians, international experts and representatives of international organisations discussed issues of expanding relations and strengthening interparliamentary interaction.

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Residents discuss benefits, inconveniences of EXPO 2017

2 hours 42 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Some capital residents are happy the much-talked-about EXPO 2017 will benefit the city, entrepreneurs and Kazakhstan’s image. To others, however, it seems like a waste of budget money and resulting discomfort. The Astana Times interviewed several residents to get their impressions of the upcoming international specialised exposition.

Photo credit: viemagazine.com

“As a resident, the upcoming expo exhibition pleases me, with a chance to see new technologies in the energy field as well as other events tied to the exhibition such as concerts, circus, performances and exhibitions,” said entrepreneur Gulnara Ashirbayeva.

Families will have an opportunity to rest and learn something new on their off-days.

“We can also invite our relatives and friends to Astana and as part of showing the city to them, we can take them to this grand happening and attend all the activities to be held within the exhibition,” she added.

Ashirbayeva noted while all international expositions cost quite a bit of money, they are worth it. In addition to providing entertainment and insight, such events help boost Kazakhstan’s image in the world, make it recognisable and attract tourists who pay local businesses for services in hotels, airlines and other areas.

“In a tax form, this money will renew the city’s budget. The exhibition gives a job to entrepreneurs and joy to ordinary people,” she said.

Serik Abduov does not enjoy telling people about Kazakhstan when traveling abroad, so EXPO 2017 will do the talking for him.

“Unfortunately, the country is not always known far beyond its borders; that’s why for me, EXPO 2017 is a chance to showcase our country. This exhibition will not simply be about new technologies, but also Kazakhstan. We can demonstrate our culture, cuisine, hospitality and our capital,” he said.

The lead-up to the exhibition does not always create a positive impression, as all the buzz around the event and its preparations can result in dissatisfaction. People don’t always like it when a lot of money is being spent from the state budget.

“Getting to work gave me discomfort at traffic jams, as many roads are under renovation and a lot of construction work is going on. Areas near houses are dug up and all that,” said Abduov.

Yet he believes the exhibition will benefit the country, certain individuals, entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens who can receive some dividend from it in the long run.   

“I think it is really hard to evaluate the prestige of the country and our capital in terms of money; therefore, I think in the future we will see what the exhibition gave to this country and Astana. It is early to make judgments about it now,” he added.

Dina Botabayeva believes this is a grand occasion for the capital city, as a variety of important events often take place there. She feels EXPO 2017 is more of a cultural event.

“For example, cultural events are held more often in Almaty rather than Astana, while this time the capital was selected to host the exhibition. Many people can come and get to know Astana thanks to the expo. This is important and interesting to me as a native, that the city is changing due to this exhibition. Various new technologies are being introduced, like for example stands for charging mobile phones near the Congress Hall concert hall. I think we wouldn’t have this without EXPO 2017,” she noted.

Botabayeva is glad the exhibition will be held, despite the fact that a lot of money was spent on it. She suggests the event is more about human resources and energy rather than money.

“Many foreigners are interested in coming to visit the exhibition and see the city. Many people think wrongly about Astana, like it is a place where horses and yurts are. They will understand that Astana is modern when they come to visit,” she said.

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Arab businesses urge production of halal-certified meats in Kazakhstan

2 hours 52 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber Omar Khan called on Kazakhstan businesspeople to create a domestic meat brand at Kazakhstan-UAE Business Forum.

According to Khan, Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates have cooperation potential in the certified meat product trade using halal standards.

“It is necessary to make Kazakh meat known all over the world. You need to pay attention to marketing, building brand name recognition and determining the price. Kazakh meat is good organic product. Other countries sell it for dollars, when you do it for cents,” Khan said at the forum in Astana on May 22.

“The UAE receives meat from Australia, New Zealand and other distant countries, but for some reasons not from Muslim states. The point is primarily in the cost, knowledge and recognition of the product. You have many talented people and can develop projects with a large added value, including halal products,” the Arab businessman said.

According to Khan, the main problem of Kazakhstan manufacturers is necessary certification.

At the moment, Kazakhstan has only one meat factory with a halal certificate from the UAE in Pavlodar. Deputy Chairperson of Atameken Nurzhan Altayev said Kazakhstan and the Islamic Development Bank are working on a project to create a halal-hub in Kazakhstan. According to him, the project can solve the problem with the export of Kazakh meat.

“Now we need to conduct a halal-certification of our enterprises to deliver products to the UAE. In the future, we need to put a laboratory in Kazakhstan. After that our entrepreneurs won’t need to go to the UAE and bring their experts from there. One laboratory will be enough to certify all the enterprises,” Altayev added.

Approximately 70 UAE businesspeople and more than 500 businesspeople from Kazakhstan took part in the Kazakhstan-UAE Business Forum in Astana, during which national representatives signed economic cooperation agreements.

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EXPO 2017 expected to add 200,000 cars to area roads

3 hours 6 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Vice-Minister for Investments and Development of Kazakhstan Roman Sklyar warned Astana residents to expect heavier than usual traffic during EXPO 2017.

Presumably about 200,000 people will come to visit the exhibition by their private vehicles.

“It is clear that we, residents of the city, will feel some kind of discomfort, but this needs to be done; it is necessary to accommodate that. This is equivalent to when we receive guests at home in a three-room apartment and two rooms are occupied by guests. Something like that. These are temporary difficulties, together with the akimat (city administration), we will separately consider each situation and try to solve it,” said Sklyar at a May 19 press conference at the Government building.

To solve the problem of a shortage of parking spaces, the city administration has developed measures, such as large parking lots, which will be built in the area of the expo and roads will be reconstructed. Authorities promise to finish repairs on most streets and roads leading to the exhibition.

At the same time, journalists reminded the vice minister about the proposal of the Prosecutor General to close the entry of non-resident personal transport to Astana for the time of the expo.

“Urban transport infrastructure is now actively being repaired, so we believe there will be no questions on restricting the entry of personal vehicles. This issue is in the competence of the akimat,” commented Sklyar.

According to the ministry’s forecast, the exhibition will receive more than 2 million visits.

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Astana Art Fest 2017, “Nomad Energy,” to Be Largest Yet

3 hours 10 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Astana’s traditional Art Fest, this year titled “Nomad Energy,” is to kick off June 17 on the Nur Zhol boulevard. According to its organisers, the 90-day event will be the biggest Art Fest yet.

Photo credit: kipyat.com.

“At the moment, we are preparing for the grand opening and this year we received the most applicants ever wanting to perform during the festival,” said Art Fest Director Maira Izmalilova. “This year we will have a lot of Kazakh painters; for instance, Kyzyl Traktor, a famous group of painters from Shymkent; Saule Suleimenova; Saiyd Atabekov; Arstanbek Shalbayev and many others,” she said.

According to Izmalilova, the 8:30 p.m. opening will be a unique show with elements of theatrical action.

Astana Art Fest 2016

“There will be a light and fire show, complex choreographed scenes specially created for the festival, a bright visual range of art objects, conceptual music and much more,” she said.

Izmalilova added that quite a number of foreign artists and theatrical troupes are expected to arrive from Europe and North America and exhibit their works as well.

“Among the headliners from the contemporary arts category we will have a group of Spanish talents called LUZINTERRUPTUS,” Izmalilova said.

Works by LUZINTERRUPTUS

LUZINTERRUPTUS is an anonymous art group, positioning itself as independent from any state. It creates and stages performances in public places using light and secondary raw materials. LUZINTERRUPTUS will work over several fountains along the Nur Zhol boulevard and will create a real miracle for visitors and residents, the organisers claim.

Art Fest organisers also promise to stage performances by such stars as Kazakhstan’s Galymzhan Moldanazar, Son Pascal, Molto Loud, the ethnic ensemble Turan and many others.

More detailed information will soon be available at Keruen Mall and will be announced over Kazakh radio stations and through other mass media outlets, Izmalilova underscored.

Astana Art Fest 2016

The programme will include entertainment for children and master classes on the arts.

Any artist may join the Art Fest by simply submitting their works each year. The organisers each year hold an open call to recruit young talents with the support of the Astana akimat (city administration).

Izmalilova explained that the purpose of the Art Fest is to unite artists from not just Kazakhstan but all over the world within a single platform.

“In 2013, I had an idea to unite creative talents, innovators, people in search of meaning and people who are constantly growing. The city akimat had the same idea – to create an art festival – and this is how we got this mix. In 2015, we had our first festival and it was an absolutely one-of-a-kind improvisational platform, made up in a couple of months, dedicated to the EXPO 2017. The ultimate goal of the festival is to create and showcase the creative cluster of the country. Our country is huge, with a lot of talented people, and some of them are disconnected from Almaty or Astana, where all the major happenings take place. Our festival gives them a chance to show their talents.”

 

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SAP Kazakhstan to launch innovative business and public administration programmes at Kazakh universities

3 hours 17 min ago

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – SAP announced plans to open the first Next-Gen Lab in Kazakhstan in cooperation with Nazarbayev University and the International University of Information Technologies at the May 24 SAP Forum.

The labs will be created within both of those universities, and in them, students, under the guidance of SAP experts and using SAP technologies, will solve specific business tasks set by clients.

“This educational technology was first tested with Stanford University and gave astounding results. The programme allows [users] not only to teach students practical work with digital technologies, but also to involve universities in creating real innovations to solve specific business problems of our customers,” said SAP Kazakhstan Director Maksim Lamskov.

The company aims to bring their customers, IT companies and universities in the country together to jointly develop innovative solutions for specific problems.

Maksim Lamskov. Photo credit: forbes.kz.

“Our role is unifying. We acquired great experience in the global market and this year we plan to apply this experience as part of the SAP University Alliances.  This is a strong driver that will help push forward innovative business solutions, solving specific problems using digital technologies,” he said.

The company has also been successfully implementing a joint training programme for members of the University Alliances in cooperation with the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund. Ten leading Kazakh universities are participating in programmes launched by SAP University Alliances.

Photo credit: forbes.kz.

SAP entered the Kazakh market with the ESP concept in oil and gas, transport and telecommunications.

“At that time, this concept was innovative, and changed approaches to corporate governance. Today, we see the ESP platform as a standard element of real sector management,” Lamskov said.

The company began cooperating with Kazakhstan’s public sector six years ago and proposed a completely new approach to public finance management. The E-Minfin innovative project resulted from that cooperation, and today, more than 20,000 employees and the whole management work on the same standard rules following the same strategic goals. This project is unique within the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Last year, SAP launched the SAP Institute of Digital Government, a global initiative to exchange experience in public administration.

“We managed to bring innovative public administration practices to Kazakhstan. Our ideas and concepts were in demand when the Digital Kazakhstan programme was developed,” he said.

This year, SAP also announced that it was investing in the development of the SAP Leonardo Internet of Things.

SAP signed a cooperation agreement with the Finance Academy under the Ministry of Finance and Nazarbayev University as part of the event.

“We developed a special programme and we will launch in the next academic year. Our professional development centre will be transformed into the academy of additional education. We will offer various training programmes and students can undergo additional training, receiving not only a diploma, but also a certificate of qualification for future careers. For example, we will prepare IT professionals for the financial and banking sectors. So, we need to teach them according to the SAP programme because it is widely used. And this agreement will give us the opportunity to provide free education,” said Financial Academy Innovative Development and Distance Learning Vice Rector Bakhyt Sharipov.

 

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Vital Smoothies provides vitamins while receiving support

Thu, 2017-05-25 03:06

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Vital Smoothies use cold-press technology to produce thick, 100-percent natural juices with pulp from fresh fruits, berries and vegetables. The process, which preserves natural taste, colour and important vitamins, is new to Kazakhstan. The initiative was supported by the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund, which offered attractive lending conditions to the company.

“There are a lot of freshly-squeezed juices on the market, but they start to ferment after three days because of the microorganisms contained in them. There are also many juices that can be kept on store shelves for years. These juices can be stored for so long because they go through the process of heat treatment, in which all microorganisms and vitamins are killed,” said Vital Smoothies Founder Salim Nagym.

The uniqueness is in the production technology. The juices are heat treated, retaining their taste, colour and vitamins for up to 15 days, while neutralising microorganisms that are dangerous to health and cause fermentation.

“My wife and I met in the UK while being students there, and both of us were passionate smoothie devotees. It all started back in 2014, when we undertook a family trip across the cities in the UK where we used to study and Cambridge was one of our destinations. We were sitting at a train station together with my wife’s brother, waiting for our train and enjoying smoothies we had just bought at the local train shop. I began wondering why no one had come across the idea of producing smoothies in Kazakhstan yet. My brother-in-law mentioned that one of his acquaintances looked into this business opportunity but had come to the conclusion that it was not going to be profitable,” Nagym shared.

“Upon our arrival to Kazakhstan, I decided to conduct my own research. I studied the technology of production, the cost of equipment, fruits, berries and vegetables. It was not easy as there was no analogue of such business in Kazakhstan, neither were there any similar technologies of production in the neighbouring states. I visited major retailers in Moscow, Baku, Tbilisi and Yekaterinburg trying to find such product but I found none,” he added.

The more Nagym studied the business, the more questions and doubts he had: “However, the popularity of smoothies in Europe convinced me that sooner or later it will come to Kazakhstan, so we needed to start off. Of course, it would be a challenge but we would deal with the problems in the process.”

Through his research, he learned the Damu Fund subsidises up to 10 percent of the interest rates on loans.

“I thought why should I invest my own funds in the business, when I can keep it in a bank and earn 12 percent per annum and pay 4-percent interest per annum only by subsidising interest rates with the Damu Fund,” he said.

“However, in reality everything turned out to be a little bit more complicated. I had to collect many documents to get the bank’s approval for the loan first, then the subsidy approval. There are no such business support programmes in other countries so even though I had to spend a lot of time and collect many documents, in general I am glad that I have used such state support,” he commented.

Vital Smoothies does not currently have any competitors in the Kazakh market, said Nagym. Some companies use a direct pressing method similar to its technology, but the shelf life is very short and therefore not practical to import from Europe.

“First of all, we are working on a price reduction for our products. We want Vital Smoothies to be affordable to a wide range of consumers. As of today, 70 percent of the cost of our products is the cost of fresh fruit, berries and vegetables. At the moment we are working on establishing our own supply chain of fruits, berries and vegetables directly from the manufacturers avoiding intermediaries. We are also building our own storage. After the completion of all these works, the cost of our products will be decreased,” said Nagym.

“We plan to expand the geography of our smoothie sales. Vital Smoothies are sold in all large supermarkets across Astana. Commencing May 1, we began shipping to Ramstor and Interfood in Almaty. As soon as we cover the Almaty market, we want to start deliveries to the nearby cities of Russia – Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk and others,” he added.

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Kazakh scientist develops refinement system for polluting emissions

Thu, 2017-05-25 02:45

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakh scientist Alexander Borisenko has developed a refinement system for polluting emissions that can purify any processed gas. The technology has been successfully operating at his factory for a year.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“As this technology didn’t exist, it is always hard to create something that doesn’t exist. Many people don’t understand and the working process is still to be explained. We have seen the processes that occur in nature and we have learned to catalyse them, meaning we do what nature does. It cleans the same way,” he told Kazinform.

Borisenko, who is also the head of Absalut Ecology, established a complex in his factory that burns trash without discharging harmful substances into the air. The gas transforms into clean air when exiting and no reagents are used. The technology can be used in cars, large industrial plants and central heating and power plants.

Many people are suspicious about the technology, as it contradicts classic science, said Borisenko. In addition, the system is so flexible there is no need to change the technological process. The size of the complex and its price depend on the amount of the enterprises’ gas emissions.

Photo credit: inform.kz.

Borisenko believes such technology could start a revolution in waste recovery.

“There is an opportunity today not having to create polygons. Waste can be sorted right away while burning a useless part of it without harming the atmosphere. I think this is the most basic field our technology can be applied to. But the technology allows utilising everything that was dumped into an atmosphere and turn it into harmless chemical elements without polluting the environment,” he said, according to the news report.

Fifteen years of hit-or-miss work were needed to develop the technology. The company currently has a foreign partner and Borisenko is ready to present his invention during EXPO 2017.

His second invention is an advanced air ionising technology designed to saturate air with light negative air ions, compensating for the lack of them in homes and workplaces. It neutralises harmful chemical compounds and unpleasant odours while eliminating dust, microbes and bacteria.

The refinement system provides a long life and safe operation period with no more than 100 watts in energy demand. Circulated water serving as high cost filters is the main feature in the device.

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Kazakhstan set to agree to limit oil production, but on new conditions

Thu, 2017-05-25 02:40

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – OPEC and non-OPEC producers, including Kazakhstan, will meet in Vienna May 25 to renew the deal limiting oil production for an additional six months. Kazakhstan will sign the agreement if the restrictions do not apply to Kashagan field, according to Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev.

Photo credit: nb.kz

“We will negotiate with the OPEC and non-OPEC countries on the role that Kazakhstan will play by joining this agreement on May 24-25. On the same conditions, most likely, it will not work. We will discuss what measures we will join,” he said prior to the talks.

“We want to be in a trend together with all oil-producing countries. But Kazakhstan has the unique Kashagan field, which is developing its main production this year,” he added.

Bozumbayev highlighted that Kazakhstan’s clear position will be announced at the meeting, where the delegation will protect the nation’s interests.

The minister made it clear Kashagan would be excluded from the oil-limiting list. After 10 years of delays, the offshore field in the Caspian Sea started production last summer.

This year, Kashagan plans to produce about five million tonnes of oil and 3.1 billion cubic metres of gas. In 2017, 2.2 million tonnes have been already been produced in the first four months, said Bozumbayev.

In April, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported Kazakhstan had violated the obligation to reduce oil production by 20,000 barrels per day, instead increasing production since October by almost 80,000 barrels. The main reason is Kashagan is gaining momentum and volume of oil production. The country didn’t undertake to maintain a certain volume of oil production every month, said the minister. Therefore, in January, production decreased by 30,000 barrels per day, the index grew slightly the next month and in March exceeded 1.7 million tonnes.

Bozumbayev emphasised the importance of oil price not falling below $50 per barrel, as the budget is based on that price. Therefore, Kazakhstan will negotiate on the possibility of extending the agreement limiting production.

A few days before the OPEC meeting, oil prices showed significant growth. For the first time since April 18, the mark of $54 per barrel was broken May 22.

Forex Club analyst Valery Polkhovsky considers oil prices will be fixed at about $55 per barrel and can then move to $60 before the meeting in Vienna.

“However, for most OPEC countries it is not enough to balance their budgets; the comfortable range is $60-$70 per barrel,” he reported in his research.

“The impact of Kazakhstan on price is not critical for two reasons. Foremost, 95 percent of a party to the agreement follow negotiations, as well as Kazakhstan is not a net-provider in the oil market. Large countries such as Russia and the Saudi Arabia, which produce more than 11 million barrels per day, are important,” said Bozumbayev.

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Nazarbayev University to hold Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum

Thu, 2017-05-25 02:36

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Nazarbayev University (NU) will bring together researchers, practitioners and university leaders May 31 to discuss modern education. The yearly event attracts industry heads from Kazakhstan and many other countries.

“The Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum that Nazarbayev University organises on an annual basis has become a well-established tradition. This forum brings together leading researchers, practitioners and leaders of universities to discuss some of the most pressing items and topics that we all face together in this rapidly changing world. Nazarbayev University is a very young university in the heart of Eurasia – Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, – and we would very much like to share with you how we are building a modern research university,” said NU President Shigeo Katsu.

Nobel laureates, leading scientists and experts will gather at NU to participate in conferences, discussions, master classes and roundtables. The forum aims to bring together education stakeholders to share their ideas and engage in lively debates on issues that higher education leaders are facing worldwide.

This year, the university plans to hold a series of interesting sessions about governance, management and leadership in higher education. Such themes as the role of higher education in economic development, the future of universities, graduate employment, careers and economic needs of the labour force and how to make universities innovative will also be discussed.

In addition to the plenary session, visitors can take part in seminars held June 1 by NU experts. They will discuss quality enhancement through annual programme review, practical details of selection and student admission. NU’s Graduate School of Education will hold sessions on curriculum development, teaching and assessment, implementing corporate governance and conducting research in humanities.

“Collaboration between the Eurasian Higher Education Forum and international partners is not an option – it’s essential. Because the world in which we live today is one of global communication that’s fast and, so, international collaboration has to happen,” said Colleen McLaughlin, director of educational innovation at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education professor Robert Zemsky is a strong supporter of the forum.

“Each time I’ve attended the forum, and I really come to almost all of them since they were established in 2012, I’ve been impressed by the vitality and importance of the conversation. As an American outsider, what the forum allows me is a new understanding about what is happening in this part of the world. As a concept of international cooperation, the forum itself is an important addition to international higher education,” he said.

The Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum serves as an internationally open platform for communicating and networking among local education leaders and their international peers and colleagues. The event runs its own website offering open-access proceedings for local and worldwide leadership.

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Electronic health passports to be introduced in 2018

Thu, 2017-05-25 02:33

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare will develop an electronic health passport by 2018 to store health data throughout a person’s life that will be accessible from anywhere, according to the Minister Yelzhan Birtanov.

Photo credit: kazpravda.kz

“Currently, the pilot project on the use of the electronic health passport is being tested in Astana’s city polyclinic No. 9,” said Birtanov, as reported by primeminister.kz.

He explained that every Kazakh citizen and medical worker will have their own personal accounts.

“The platform will allow all public and private clinics to integrate their corporate and information systems and work as the single-window system,” the minister said.

The work on the project began in September of 2015 and the ministry expects the system to replace all paperwork by the beginning of 2019.

Thirty-eight percent of the nation’s health organisations have established medical information system, he said.

“To provide computer equipment to the organisations of healthcare and to introduce local medical information systems, the ministry together with administrations of the regions and cities of Astana and Almaty, takes measures to create the appropriate IT infrastructure. The ministry concluded memorandums with akims (governors) of the regions on providing the organisations of public health with the necessary computer equipment by 50 percent in 2017 and 100 percent in 2018. So, this year, more than 16,000 units of computer equipment will be purchased at the expense of the local budgets,” he added.

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Best traffic inspector chosen in Ust-Kamenogorsk

Thu, 2017-05-25 02:30

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

Senior State Traffic Inspector of the Borodulikha district, Major Zhanybek Shaimardanov was recently named Best State Auto Inspector 2017.

Photo credit: kazpravda.kz

The award was the result of a contest organised for the first time on the eve of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Kazakh police in June.

The contest was sponsored by the Administrative Police Department of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) of the East Kazakhstan region.

Senior State Traffic Inspector of the Shemonaikha district Major Serik Tolesov took the second place and the third place was taken by the Senior State Traffic Inspector of the city of Ridder Major Sayat Orazbayev.

Thirteen state inspectors of the city and regional divisions of the departments of internal affairs competed. They were required to demonstrate their knowledge of the legal acts related to the ethical code of civil servants, the laws of Kazakhstan On Combating Corruption, On Law Enforcement Service, On Internal Affairs Authorities of Kazakhstan and the Traffic Rules. After demonstrating their knowledge, participants were tested on their driving skills at an autodrome.

Contest organisers said they plan to hold the contest annually and hope it will strengthen the police services’ image and better prepare officers to handle drivers’ license examinations and vehicle registrations.

Winners received diplomas and gifts.

 

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EXPO caravan stops in Berlin as part of promotional tour through Europe

Wed, 2017-05-24 05:38

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A mobile EXPO caravan, which started its tour through Europe Feb. 28 in Madrid, is now headed from Berlin to the Baltic States. The promotional roadshow is hoping to raise awareness about the upcoming specialised international exposition in the Kazakh capital.

EXPO caravan in Berlin

The opening ceremony in the German capital was attended by representatives of the nation’s Foreign Ministry, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, EXPO 2017 General Commissariat’s office, Kazakh-German Association and Kazakh students at German universities, among many others.

“Future Energy, as the theme of the upcoming exposition in Astana, has aroused much interest among German companies,” said German Economy Eastern Committee regional director Edward Kinsbrunner, as quoted by kazinform.kz.

As part of his speech, Kinsbrunner added Germany’s participation will provide “added momentum to the development of bilateral commercial and economic relations.”

Kazakh embassies are assisting the caravan in spreading news about the EXPO to locals.

Kazakh Ambassador to Germany Bolat Nussupov told the audience about the socio-economic and political reforms happening in Kazakhstan. He also stressed the successful cooperation between the countries in the preparation process.

The caravan has a variety of interactive entertainment options available for visitors, such as the alternative energy zone, virtual reality zone, interactive map of Kazakhstan, cinema, 3D printer, children’s creativity zone and electric bikes. Exhibition tickets are also offered for sale.

EXPO caravan in Madrid

“In view of the EXPO 2017 theme importance and timeliness for all mankind, Kazakhstan is making its contribution to one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century,” said German Bundestag committee for tourism head Jürgen Klimke.

EXPO caravan Project Coordinator Florian Berend noted the purpose of the tour is to convince people to visit Kazakhstan.

“We can sell tickets online for EXPO in Astana or book a hotel online. We have a large smartphone, which is connected to the Internet. We tell the visitors about different tourist routes, because besides the exhibition there are many beautiful places to see in Kazakhstan and this is another reason to pay a visit to the country,” he said.

The caravan has been on the road for months, staying three-four days in every city it visits. To date, it has crossed through Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague and Berlin. Next up are Warsaw, Vilnius and Helsinki, ending the tour in the Finnish capital June 9 on the eve of the exhibition kickoff.

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Mangystau archaeologist makes geoglyph gallery to stimulate local tourism

Wed, 2017-05-24 04:42

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Mangystau archaeologist and historian Andrei Astafiyev has made a gallery of geoglyphs reflecting nomadic arts, the first in the region’s Airakty-Shomanai mountain valley and in Kazakhstan.

 

“I always consider natural sights from a perspective of a tourist attraction. The Airakty table (a flat-topped) mountain is a unique phenomenon for Mangystau,” he said in an interview with The Astana Times.

One can climb Airakty Mountain; it has a good panoramic view, but there is not much to see. As a result, Astafiyev devised the idea of creating geoglyphs two years ago when a question arose about ways to attract more visitors the Adai Ata historic and cultural centre and the peak of the Otpan Tau Mountain.

“Why doesn’t our desert have geoglyphs? Why not make them in the Airakty-Shomanai valley? It has a spacy and a free area and a natural observation deck. I decided on the drawings very long ago and was always attracted to the genius simplicity and ease of plot lines of the petroglyphs of local nomads,” he said.

The drawing of a Sacred Argali. Photo credit-lada.kz.

The selection of drawings was not random, as it went “through the prism of my conscious and subconscious vision of the world,” he added. Astafiyev put together several past nomadic symbols of universal semantics in one plot line.

The 150×110-metre drawing of a sacred argali (mountain sheep) is based on another drawing on the wall of the Beltoran necropolis, a 17th century mausoleum.

“Kazakhs and Turkmen consider this animal as sacred. Bringing argali’s horns to a grave of a holy [person] was considered a charitable deed. Specifically, the horns of this animal are an essential element of Asian ornament. Drawings of an argali are one of the favourite subjects of Mangystau’s petroglyph arts,” he said.

Astafiyev also included drawings of the mythical creature centaur of the steppes based on an illustration on the wall of the Kenty Baba necropolis. The 330×280-metre drawing served as the prototype for the Mangystau region logo.

Ancestor’s palm

A 270X350-metre sunshiny camel, the main symbol of Mangystau nomads, is based on a rock carving in Airakty Shomanai valley and on the wall of the Kalipan necropolis. The area also includes a drawing of a shanyrak (a symbol of home).

Based on a sketch of a portal arch at Shakpak Ata rock mosque, the 150X160-metre ancestor’s palm is the fourth geoglyph in the gallery. The cosmogonic (foundational) deity, measuring 415×170 metres, is the last geoglyph on the list. It is based on a drawing in the 19th century Karashashty Aulie necropolis.

“Everyone has his or her own world and universe and has a right to unveil the hidden context of geoglyphs or not do that,” said Astafiyev.

The drawings are symbols of Mangystau, Kazakhstan and the great steppe. There are not many geoglyphs in the world and those that exist have become tourist attractions.

Centaur of the steppes.

“They are memorial signs facing the future. Generations change, signs remain… In Kazakhstan, only the Turgai swastika is known from real historic geoglyphs. Airakty geoglyphs are a product of the modern age, but with the propaganda of historic-cultural heritage of our region and country,” noted Astafiyev.

To create the gallery of geoglyphs, the archaeologist applied a navigation system, special orientation, quad copter for adjustment, car, some appliances for churning vegetation and a plain shovel. The drawing process took nearly five months, while the process of creating a stable line required a minimum of six folds of a brush passing the same spot.

“We tried teamwork when making the first drawings. My son, Artyom, was one of my main assistants. But further experience has shown one person has access to the creative process as well. The total length of the car run on one of the big drawings amounted to 30 kilometres,” said Astafiyev.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Astana Arlans reach WSB semi-finals

Wed, 2017-05-24 04:36

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Astana Arlans boxing club of Kazakhstan recently defeated the Russian Patriot Boxing Team after two matches and reached the World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-finals. A week earlier, the Arlans took a 3-2 win in Kemerovo. The return quarterfinal match took place in Karaganda and again ended with the Kazakh victory.

Photo credit: astanaarlans.kz.

The first three fights were enough for the Arlans to secure a berth in the tournament’s next round. First, Olzhas Sattibayev (up to 52 kg) beat Ivan Abramov. Then Zakir Safiullin (60 kg) defeated Shahrier Ahmedov and Aslanbek Shymbergenov (69 kg) beat Shahabas Mahmudov.

The 81kg bout was particularly difficult between Arman Rysbek and Imam Hataev. Both boxers showed spectacular boxing with many blows. In a close competition, the home team’s boxer clinched the win. In the end, the Russian team only managed to win one bout. Patriot boxer Artem Suslenkov defeated Dmitry Zisko of Kazakhstan, who made his debut. Thus, Arlans reached the tournament semi-finals, where they will fight the British Lionhearts. The semi-finals will take place June 2-3 and 9-10.

“We imagined it wouldn’t be easy. I want to thank our guys for the good job. They had a good fight and deserved the win. Our experienced boxers Olzhas Sattybayev, Zakir Safiullin and Aslanbek Shymbergenov met the expectations. So did Arman Rysbek, who showed a great desire to win. As for Dmitry Zisko, it was his debut in WSB and his opponent was very strong, so it was very hard to win. Soon we will compete against the British team, which didn’t let us into the finals last year, and we wish to take our revenge for the last season’s defeat,” said Astana Arlans’ head coach Nurlan Akurpekov.

WSB is a league that sees the world’s best amateur boxers competing in teams without headgear and using the scoring system of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA). According to the WSB website, the appearance of the league “reunited the broader boxing world and its grassroots amateur foundation by providing a bridge between Olympic Boxing and a future professional programme within the AIBA family.”

AIBA wholly owns WSB. All WSB boxers are registered with AIBA and all referees and officials working WSB matches are specifically certified for the competition. Franchises have a national identity and are formed by national federations. Teams are allowed a quota of overseas boxers: a maximum of eight and no more than three of the same nationality.

Teams compete in the 10 AIBA standard weight categories. The regular season takes the form of a league phase, with the teams facing each other home and away in alternating weight categories. The top teams continue to the playoff stages. Teams representing franchises across the globe compete in a league format leading to playoffs and a final. The boxers compete in five three-minute rounds and five bouts per match.

The Astana Arlans club was founded in 2010. In the first season, the club’s boxers proved themselves as one of the strongest teams in the world. The team is a two-time WSB champion. It won the third season in 2012-2013 and the fifth season in 2014-2015. With two titles apiece, Arlans and Cuba’s Domadores lead the league in titles won.

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EXPO caravan stops in Berlin as part of promotional tour through Europe

Wed, 2017-05-24 04:31

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A mobile EXPO caravan, which started its tour through Europe Feb. 28 in Madrid, is now headed from Berlin to the Baltic States. The promotional roadshow is hoping to raise awareness about the upcoming specialised international exposition in the Kazakh capital.

EXPO caravan in Berlin.

The opening ceremony in the German capital was attended by representatives of the nation’s Foreign Ministry, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, EXPO 2017 General Commissariat’s office, Kazakh-German Association and Kazakh students at German universities, among many others.

“Future Energy, as the theme of the upcoming exposition in Astana, has aroused much interest among German companies,” said German Economy Eastern Committee regional director Edward Kinsbrunner, as quoted by kazinform.kz.

As part of his speech, Kinsbrunner added Germany’s participation will provide “added momentum to the development of bilateral commercial and economic relations.”

Kazakh embassies are assisting the caravan in spreading news about the EXPO to locals.

Kazakh Ambassador to Germany Bolat Nussupov told the audience about the socio-economic and political reforms happening in Kazakhstan. He also stressed the successful cooperation between the countries in the preparation process.

EXPO caravan in Madrid

The caravan has a variety of interactive entertainment options available for visitors, such as the alternative energy zone, virtual reality zone, interactive map of Kazakhstan, cinema, 3D printer, children’s creativity zone and electric bikes. Exhibition tickets are also offered for sale.

“In view of the EXPO 2017 theme importance and timeliness for all mankind, Kazakhstan is making its contribution to one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century,” said German Bundestag committee for tourism head Jürgen Klimke.

EXPO caravan Project Coordinator Florian Berend noted the purpose of the tour is to convince people to visit Kazakhstan.

“We can sell tickets online for EXPO in Astana or book a hotel online. We have a large smartphone, which is connected to the Internet. We tell the visitors about different tourist routes, because besides the exhibition there are many beautiful places to see in Kazakhstan and this is another reason to pay a visit to the country,” he said.

The caravan has been on the road for months, staying three-four days in every city it visits. To date, it has crossed through Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague and Berlin. Next up are Warsaw, Vilnius and Helsinki, ending the tour in the Finnish capital June 9 on the eve of the exhibition kickoff.

 

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Social entrepreneurship develops in Karaganda

Wed, 2017-05-24 04:26

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Radost, (“Joy”), a charity shop in Karaganda, is one of the brightest examples of social entrepreneurship in the country. Its founder, Meruyert Argimbayeva, started her business more than three years ago. She still puts all her efforts towards developing direction in her region and is referred to as the heart, soul and brain of the project on the shop’s Facebook page.

“Radost is a traditional charity shop. We receive items from the people, almost everything except books and audio and video production. Then, we sort them. Mostly, second-hand items are in good condition, including bed linens, towels, medicaments and dishes distributed for free. Radost covers a few thousand families in the Karaganda region. Even though a big part of the items is given free-of-charge, there are products that are absolutely new. They were received from boutiques that are closing or things that do not fit their owners or, for example, rare, interesting things or items in perfect condition – they are sold in the shop,” said Argimbayeva in an interview with The Astana Times.

Prices in the shop are three-four times lower than market. For example, new jeans cost 4,000 tenge (US$12.80), second-hand jeans 2,000 tenge (US$6.40) while a beautiful evening dress is up for 8,000 tenge (US$25.60). The shop sells only clothing, souvenirs, handmade items, jewellery, shoes, toys and bed linens.

Radost transfers its net profit to seriously ill children.

“We have worked with We Help charity fund for a long time now. Their base has around 100 children with diseases of the brain and central nervous system. Our principal position is to help children only from Karaganda and the Karaganda region and from that list,” said Argimbayeva.

Although the first charity shops appeared around 50 years ago, Argimbayeva was one of the few who brought the idea to Kazakhstan. She decided to take the risk three and a-half years ago.

“I had an opportunity to go through a special course on social entrepreneurship at the St. Petersburg School of Economics and Management. Also, I have read a lot of related sources,” she said.

After the decision comes action, and the young entrepreneur faced several issues on the way.

“Karaganda is almost a third city in Kazakhstan, but in fact it is a provincial and miners’ city. Salaries are not high, with a harsh climate and poorly developed logistics. People had no idea at all what a charity shop and social entrepreneurship were. People think charity is when everything is given out for free by rich people to poor. I decided to promote a format of social entrepreneurship and I was the first in the region. No one knew what it was except me. I had difficulties, mainly due to the mindset of people. Today, some people still do not understand how a charity organisation can earn money by trade and can be financially independent,” she said.

Another difficulty was positioning.

“Before that I was a classic volunteer, helping deaf and dumb children to find sponsors and resolving their issues. Also, we were organising charity events almost every month to collect money for seriously ill children. In addition, we were helping the poor families of disabled people. So, I had to determine what I wanted and what I had a right for. It is hard to accept the fact that I am a social entrepreneur now, that I receive a salary and charity is my profession now,” added Argimbayeva.

Each month Radost posts a mini financial report on its social network pages. In the last months the shop failed to generate a net profit, since it had to move to a bigger premise and the rent and utilities are more expensive. When the heating season is over, Radost is likely to become profitable again, she said.

The project inspired many social entrepreneurs not only in Kazakhstan, but also in Russia. Argimbayeva has assisted several of them by sharing her experience in the business.

“The social shop allows me and my team to be engaged in charity every day without being distracted by earning money for a living. Profit is not its main goal. Most importantly, it is about saving the ecology by providing secondary consumption and about help to poor families. The charity shop provides constant opportunity for different companies and sponsors to provide help. We can advise them where to give funds. We work as intermediaries,” she said.

Argimbayeva plans to open one or two branches in the remote area of Karaganda.

“I think it is a good idea to put the net profits of those branches to the needs of those areas. Maybe development of the local sport. As for big plans, I intend to make Radost a network of successful charity shops with profits so we can withstand any period. My ambitious plan is to make Radost financially successful and make it an example of the fact that a charity shop can effectively work in a province and be successful both socially and financially,” she added.

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UAE to establish 30-day visa-free regime for Kazakh citizens

Wed, 2017-05-24 04:20

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA –Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan signed an agreement here May 23 establishing a one-month visa free regime for Kazakh citizens travelling to the Emirates.

Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (L) and Kairat Abdrakhmanov. Photo credit: mfa.kz.

The foreign ministries agreed to establish a mechanism to exchange information on emergencies with citizens requiring consular and legal protection.

The two ministers also discussed implementing agreements reached during the January visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Abu Dhabi as well as trade, economic and investment cooperation and international issues, including the Syrian crisis, the situation in Yemen, Libya and Iraq.

They also expressed a desire to cooperate within regional and international organisations, including the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

Photo credit: mfa.kz.

“We have made a significant breakthrough in our bilateral negotiations on consular issues. The geography of our tourist destinations is being significantly expanded. The UAE is one of the most popular destinations among our tourists,” Abdrakhmanov said. According to statistics provided by the UAE minister, around 100,000 Kazakh citizens visit the Emirates annually. In its turn, Kazakhstan has been offering visa free travel to the UAE citizens since 2014 for 15 days, and beginning this year – for 30 days on each visit.

Sheikh Abdullah also met with Nazarbayev and Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev earlier in the day.

“At a meeting with President Nazarbayev, I was able to convey to him greetings from the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.  The current state of relations is achieved thanks to our great efforts. It is expected that the concluded agreement will give an impetus to the development of tourism, trade and investment spheres,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

“I am glad that the UAE pavilion will be presented at the international specialised exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana. Our country will host EXPO 2020 in Dubai. We will learn Kazakhstan’s experience in preparation for this event,” he added.

Sheikh Abdullah also thanked Abdrakhmanov for supporting the Syrian people and hosting the Astana Process talks on ending the violence in the six-year old conflict in that country. He expressed hope for an early settlement of the Syria crisis.

Photo credit: mfa.kz.

Abdrakhmanov invited his colleague to attend the Sept. 10-11 OIC Summit on Science and Technology in Astana and noted the importance of opening the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) on the premises of EXPO 2017.

Earlier on May 22, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry hosted the first meeting of the Joint Commission on Consular Issues between Kazakhstan and the UAE.

The meeting discussed consular and legal relations between the two countries, cooperation in protecting the rights and interests of citizens, legal assistance to individuals and legal entities, as well a sEXPO 2017 in Astana.

First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tleuberdi said the two states are able to have an open dialogue on bilateral cooperation and international issues.

 

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Shanyrak social enterprise attracts orphanage graduates to entrepreneurial activities, solves employment issues

Tue, 2017-05-23 23:54

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

Gennady Frank

ASTANA – The Uralsk-based Shanyrak social enterprise supports orphanage graduates in career guidance, education and employment.

The profitable organisation has trained 92 graduates and provided jobs for 39 of them though its recruitment company, 38 attended the vocational training school, seven became individual entrepreneurs and 13 are involved in careers at the enterprise.

Shanyrak founder Gennady Frank feels there are numerous opportunities for a social entrepreneur. He noted the most important way to be profitable and competitive when running an organisation that helps solve the problems faced by socially-vulnerable groups is to do business the same way as any other company does when striving for true success.

“When becoming a social entrepreneur, you should bear in mind that just as in any other business, you will face problems and challenges and no excuses will be accepted by state regulators, competitors or clients. But you will definitely feel good about yourself, because you are doing good deeds for others,” he said in an interview for this story.

Shanyrak’s mission is to create a platform for orphanage and boarding school graduates to help them realise their potential. Today, the enterprise is engaged in manufacturing, training, recruiting and other services.

Game modules for children created by Shanyrak graduates.

“We analysed why orphanage graduates have problems with workplace adaptation and the problem was that they are not aware of labour discipline. They do not follow the dress code and they do not observe subordination,” he said.

A lawyer, Frank registered as an individual entrepreneur and started his first business on the grounds of a foster house in 2010. Formerly known as the Nur Public Association, the West Kazakhstan Union of Orphanage and Boarding School Graduates was established in 2013 and Shanyrak was founded the next year.

“Initially, the head of the house of youth asked me to help young people who wanted to start businesses. We opened a workshop and all conditions for work were created in 2000. Orphanage students had a chance to earn money there. This was like an initiative project. When more people began to come, we asked the local authorities to provide premises that were empty for our activities. There was a need to open a public association with the purpose of employment,” he said.

Shanyrak’s non-profit activities have been transferred to the Nur association, which is in line with the latter’s mission. By doing so, the enterprise reduced its workload and focused on its profitable businesses, making the Shanyrak structure and operations and the association more effective. This proved to be a successful model of collaboration, with the association responsible for fundraising and addressing social needs and the enterprise generating a profit to finance the association’s operations and social programmes.

“We are now working to increase sales. Job creation depends on the sale of products. Our products include equipment for kindergartens and soft sports, furniture and game modules for children,” he said.

The practical training school aims to provide graduates with vocational guidance and includes the entrepreneurial school and specialised production-practical training. Those involved with the former receive assistance in developing a business plan and grants as a starting package; the latter is conducted at the Shanyrak production workshops.

“We provide non-repayable services. We organise trainings for young people and send them to work at the plants or enterprises. Most importantly, they acquire knowledge that allows them to adapt at work. They study labour discipline and legislation. At first, the aim of the public association was to promote entrepreneurial initiatives to graduates of orphanages. Then, we decided to develop employment and work initiatives,” he said.

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Foreign and Kazakh professors discuss challenges of academic integrity

Tue, 2017-05-23 23:50

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – KAZGUU University’s (Kazakh Humanities and Law Institute) Higher School of Economics hosted the second international scientific conference May 19-20 titled “Academic Integrity and University Governance.”

Representatives of the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, professors and researchers from universities and major academic centres in the United States, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Russia and Kazakhstan took part in the event.

The conference was aimed at a comprehensive discussion of academic integrity challenges in Kazakhstan to develop and adopt rules for student, teacher and administrative personnel conduct in the academic environment.

Opening the session, KAZGUU University Rector Talgat Narikbayev urged participants to openly share opinions and offer ideas.

“Our schools and universities are not only educational institutions. Young people that are studying there are the country’s future. The latter depends on how children are perceiving this world now. The future of Kazakhstan is described by things and values that universities and schools show children. Particularly, we are talking about integrity and deceit. Our educational institutions are a time machine that show us the future. Unfortunately, we do not conduct enough work in this area, so the current conference is aimed at paying attention to this existing problem, because this problem is extremely important for our country,” he said.

The basic assumption of social constructivism in education is that knowledge is socially constructed and for being effective, the process of learning needs to be meaningful and active, said Alisher Faizullaev, a professor in the Department of Practical Diplomacy and Director of the Negotiation Laboratory at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“The construction of knowledge takes place in social interaction among learners and the teacher mostly acts as a facilitator and mediator rather than an authoritative instructor and giver of knowledge. Through interaction – debates, simulations, role playing, games and other social activities, – learners create a so-called knowledge community which provides a stimulating environment for the meaningful and active learning process,” he said.

“A constructivist approach to education helps to integrate teaching, learning and research. The integration of teaching, learning and research promotes academic integrity. There is no place for plagiarism in an effective knowledge community, because the genuine motivation for knowledge is stronger than the motivation of cheating. Joint construction of knowledge embodies an innovative activity,” he added.

Appreciating individual differences and respecting the personalities of students and teachers are essential for ensuring a constructivist atmosphere in the school or university as a larger knowledge community, noted Faizullaev.

Luk Van Langenhove, research professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Warwick (U.K.), spoke about the challenges of achieving academic excellence in a turbulent world. Geopolitical changes that are altering the world order, technological revolutions that strengthen globalisation and global problems that need deep understanding of the current atmosphere and what can be done force universities around the world to reinvent themselves, he noted.

“Universities should think strategically about their brand. Not just a few Latin words and a fancy logo, but a real culture that shapes the way you behave and communicate, inspiring a desire to participate. The university brand should also be able to explain itself in terms of what it is not, by making clear choices about what it will or will not do or say. For instance, in the steps towards research excellence, it is important to set priorities and invest in certain areas, as it is impossible to be the absolute top in everything,” said Van Langenhove.

Conference participants also discussed a wide range of topical issues related to the internal and external functions of university top management, administering the academic process and forming a culture of professional scientific research.

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