Dutch Specialist in Multiculturalism Gets Honorary ENU Professorship

ASTANA – Professor László Marácz of the Department of European Studies of the University of Amsterdam was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of Gumilyov Eurasian National University (ENU) on April 26.

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The title was granted to him by the rector of ENU, Professor Yerlan Sydykov. The ceremony took place in the boardroom of the rectorship in the main building of the university in the presence of Marácz’ colleagues, students and Ph.D. students. 

After a formal ceremony chaired by Sydykov, a lively debate on the social aspects of the trilingual language policy (Kazakh, Russian and English) recently introduced in Kazakhstan by President Nursultan Nazarbayev took place. The newly inaugurated honorary professor, who is of Magyar ancestry and is involved in a Europe-wide research project on multiculturalism, spoke about multilingualism in a global world and discussed his findings with his colleagues from ENU. 

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The title of ENU honorary professor has recently been awarded to Nobel laureates including John Forbes Nash, Yisrael Aumann, Roger Kornberg and Sir James Mirrlees, and to prominent statesmen including former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State and current U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  

Sydykov credited Marácz for his scientific research activities and courses in the domain of the humanities and social sciences, including philology, linguistics, Turkology, regional and international studies, history and cultural studies, among other disciplines. He said those activities were contributing to innovations in education and research at his university. 

“As an honorary professor, Marácz can continue his work at our university, as he prefers,” Sydykov said. 

Marácz expressed his gratitude at being granted the title. “Such a title is not for free-riding, but implies responsibilities and commitments,” he noted. 

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The honorary professor, who was educated in the West, sees his main task as supporting Kazakh students in completing their master and Ph.D. theses and in helping them publish articles in peer-reviewed journals of high standing. In the field of research, he wants to intensify cooperation with his Kazakh colleagues from ENU, like Professor Sholpan Zharkynbekova, expert in Kazakh multilingualism; Professor Baibek Somzhurek, a specialist on regional studies and international relations; Professor Nurila Shaimerdinova, prominent Turkologist; Professor Raikhan Tashtemkhanova of the Academy of Social Sciences of Kazakhstan, Professor Aibolat Kushkumbayev, specialist in geopolitics and the ancient history of Central Asia. 

At present, Marácz is preparing a monograph on the Turkic-Hungarian linguistic and cultural relations that locates the early contacts between the forefathers of the Turkic peoples and the Magyars in Central Asia, in the south of present-day Kazakhstan and northern Iran. 

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