The 20th anniversary session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK) on April 24, 2013 was a milestone in the state’s multi-ethnic friendly policy. The main outcome of the APK session was the proclamation of social cohesion as the multi-ethnic nation’s way of life.
The concept of social cohesion has a wide application in labour relations, civil peace, policy of peace and harmony in inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations and intercultural dialogue.
The concept of social cohesion was developed in President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s most recent state-of-the-nation address in December 2012 entitled “Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy: A New Policy of the Established State.”
President Nazarbayev specified the socioeconomic basis of social cohesion: He said it was essential for the success of the innovation economy and for the growth of the middle class which was a crucial bulwark of social stability. Social cohesion also ensured a clear outlook, confidence in the future and all opportunities for professional growth. The basis for this social stability and economic growth is being laid through the State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID). Social stability provides stable investments in the economy and sustains the financial and labour markets.
National unity is an integral feature of multi-ethnic Kazakhstan and the main institution for maintaining it is the APK. The president said the APK has matured through the years into a major general civil institution providing a new format of general civil union for the multiethnic society of 17 million people of Kazakhstan.
The Assembly safeguards the interests of all ethnic groups, implementing the principle of “unity in diversity.” The people of Kazakhstan are the core and backbone of the whole organism. The territory of Kazakhstan is home to all the people of Kazakhstan irrespective of ethnic background.
The APK has reached a nationwide status, addressing the issues of national and civil values. It is engaged in the countrywide public outreach on the People’s IPO programme. Its 20th session marked a new stage in the development of the political philosophy of the nation. It identified short-term priority goals to work for and put them on the political agenda.
President Nazarbayev called on the people of Kazakhstan to set an example of unity, tolerance and patriotism and an example of selfless service to the state and society. We need a national historical consciousness that is holistic and positive to rally the people together. The national history of Kazakhs should be viewed as a single and continuous process of cultural and economic interaction with other peoples, as well as the contributions of various ethnic groups in the country’s history, and the Kazakh language as its mainstay.
Knowledge of the state language excludes a possibility of infringing on anyone’s rights on ethnic grounds. One of the speakers at the session, a businessperson rightly said, “If you want to run a successful business, learn the Kazakh language, this is the best business strategy.”
The 20th session also defined the role of the intelligentsia in rallying the nation.
In the years of independence, a new generation has emerged, focused on 21st century tasks while maintaining continuity with the humanitarian heritage and experience of previous centuries.
It is a proven practice throughout Kazakhstan’s independent history that the policy of peace and harmony has a direct economic effect. Future progress will depend not only on economic and technical solutions, but also on the level of conscious mobilisation of society, especially young people.
At the 20th session, the Assembly also discussed nurturing patriotism in young people, heroism and heroes of peacetime, social responsibility, motherhood and raising orphans and national sport achievements.
The APK session was held before May 1 – the day of Kazakhstan’s national unity when we look with confidence in the future, in peace and prosperity of our common country.
The author is Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and head of its secretariat.