ASTANA – Approximately 200 people from 40 countries convened at the Otandastar Forum, which took place in the Kazakh capital on Oct. 11, reported the Otandastar Foundation’s press service.
Delivering a welcome message from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, his advisor Malik Otarbayev conveyed his congratulations on the event of particular importance for fellow compatriots.
The President stressed the need to enhance comprehensive ties with Kazakhs overseas, popularize national values and discuss other pressing issues. He also highlighted that ancestors traditionally tackled state issues during such gatherings.
“Wherever Kazakhs live, Kazakhstan remains their only homeland,” he said.
Tokayev announced simplified procedures for obtaining Kazakh citizenship and the Kandas (ethnic Kazakh) status. Additionally, the Ata Zholy (Ancestors’ Path) card, which grants a 10-year residence permit, has been introduced. He emphasized that the nation is committed to enhancing conditions for those wishing to return to their ancestral homeland.
Initiated in 2019, this year’s Otandastar Forum, its second iteration, attracted researchers, educators, cultural and business figures, media and political representatives, as well as those with Kazakh roots or ties.
Notable attendees included writer Akbar Mazhit, who translated Abai Kunanbaiuly’s works into Chinese, Rasul Kusherbayev, Advisor to the Uzbek Minister of Natural Resources, and Yeşim Savaş, Deputy Mayor of the French city of Creil.
After nearly 13 years working in France, Savaş, now vying for a French senatorial seat, highlighted the crucial role of youth in society. She emphasized their potential to reshape history, influence politics, and foster a better world.
She proposed to take a systematic approach to the solution of the problem related to obtaining the Ata Zholy card and Kazakh citizenship, as many compatriots living abroad cannot validate their ethnicity.
The forum comprised four plenary sessions, focusing on the role of Kandas people in Kazakhstan’s advancement, the development of Kazakh culture abroad, media and its latest trends, and the pressing matter of the Kazakh language.
Saule Teikesheva, Chairwoman of the International Kazakh Language Center’s branch in Russia and a five-year resident of the neighboring country, pointed out the increasing interest in the Kazakh language, even among other ethnic groups who aim to learn it for business.
Anara Baizhanova, the president of the Turkistan international platform for the Kazakh diaspora based in Istanbul, Türkiye, highlighted proactive support provided for fellow compatriots living abroad, noting that the community voluntarily engage in missions to help Turkish citizens affected by earthquakes.
Otandastar Foundation President, Abzal Saparbekuly, said the forum’s goal is to foster connections between local structures and Kandas individuals abroad. This is achieved by addressing pressing concerns, sharing solutions and ongoing projects, and exchanging experiences.