Tokayev Calls for Promotion of National Interest, Women’s Rights Advancement at Kurultai

ASTANA — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the importance of eliminating destructive behavioral patterns during the third gathering of the National Kurultai (Congress) on March 15 in Atyrau, reported the Akorda press service.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivers remarks at the Fourth National Kurultai on March 15. Photo credit: Akorda. Photo credit: Akorda

Opening the meeting, Tokayev stated that this year, the Nauryz holiday coincides with the first days of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The meeting of the National Kurultai is also taking place on the eve of Nauryz.

“Kurultai has never been a platform for pompous meetings and useless conversations. This will not change in the future. At the previous two meetings, initiatives important for the country’s development were launched. Many of them have already been implemented. In general, positive changes are taking place in different areas and directions,” he said, focusing on several pressing topics in society.

People’s unity 

Tokayev underscored the strengthening of Kazakh citizens’ unity. According to him, in this endeavor, the intelligentsia, particularly representatives of the older generation, play a special role.

Photo credit: Akorda

“They must set an example and discuss truly significant and creative topics that contribute to strengthening the unity of the nation and the proper education of the younger generation,” he said, urging people to avoid unproductive and petty conversations that sow discord in society.

“People who put national interests above personal ones should serve as an example for our descendants and ourselves. This is especially true in the current geopolitical situation,” he added.

Kazakh language

Another priority is expanding the scope of use of the Kazakh language. The demand for the Kazakh language is growing every year in business, technology, and science. The best way to further the progressive development of the language is through education.

“We must instill in young people a love of reading. This is the only way we will become a reading nation. Books must be accessible to readers,” said Tokayev, reiterating the importance of building modern 24-hour libraries in Kazakhstan, notably in Almaty and Astana. The President also mentioned the initiative to establish a National Book Day.

Cultural heritage

Tokayev emphasized the significance of national history and cultural heritage during his address. He particularly underscored the symbolism inherent in the event occurring during the 800th anniversary of the establishment of the Ulus of Jochi, a pivotal milestone in Kazakhstan’s tradition of statehood.  “…because the past, present, and future of our country are closely intertwined with its historical heritage,” he said, adding that the Institute for the Study of Ulus Jochi was created in the country.

Photo credit: Akorda

Tokayev mentioned the significance of systematic efforts to write a comprehensive academic history of Kazakhstan, which spanned seven volumes and involved over 250 scholars, including 60 international specialists.

Following the country’s recent election as a member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Tokayev encouraged the meeting participants to work towards including the country’s unique natural and historical sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

National identity and discrimination of women

Strengthening Kazakhstan’s national identity is the most important task, said Tokayev. He proposed the adoption of wearing ethnic clothes, suggesting that it would make Kazakhstan recognizable globally.

He also urged in-depth study and popularization of the heritage of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, the founder of Turkic Sufism, who made a huge contribution to the spread and establishment of Islam in the Great Steppe. The President proposed to hold a special symposium with the invitation of domestic and foreign scientists.

Tokayev also addressed the issues of discrimination and oppression of women in families where Islamic canons are misinterpreted in an extremely distorted, dogmatic form.

“In such families, life is built on absurd prohibitions and orders that contradict the spirit of the 21st century with its achievements in science and technology. It seems that people are deliberately slipping into the morality and behavioral patterns of the Middle Ages,” Tokayev highlighted.

He emphasized that there are individuals in the country who, under the guise of purported national customs, seek to promote bride kidnapping. He argued that such overt obscurantism lacks justification and runs counter to the principles of a progressive society, wherein all individuals’ dignity, rights, and freedoms hold the utmost importance. He stressed that these occurrences warrant not just moral censure but also legal scrutiny. The President urged to counteract religious extremism and archaism and firmly adhere to the canons of traditional Islam, which is one of the main foundations of national identity.

“We must always proceed from our own understanding of the world and follow our unique cultural code,” he said.

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