Kazakh Foreign Ministry Launches Goodwill Ambassadors Project

ASTANA—The Kazakh Foreign Ministry hosted a ceremony on June 6 to award Kazakhstan’s Goodwill Ambassadors, the ministry’s pioneering project to recognize and honor citizens who have made remarkable contributions to enhancing Kazakhstan’s image abroad. Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister – Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu personally handed the awards. 

The award recipients pose for a group photo with Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu. Photo credit: Assel Satubaldina / The Astana Times

Among the inaugural recipients are a diverse group of distinguished artists, researchers, doctors and athletes, all of whom have significantly elevated the nation’s profile on the global stage.

They include Marat Bisengaliev, a renowned Kazakh violinist and orchestra conductor, Alexandr Vinokurov, Olympic champion and professional cyclist, Karipbek Kuyukov, an artist and activist of the anti-nuclear movement, pop singer Mirhidai Mirfarukh, known by his stage name Adam, prominent cardiac surgeon Yuriy Pya, researcher of historical maps Mukhit-Ardager Sydyknazarov, chief conductor of Otyrar Sazy orchestra Dinara Tlendieva, and Sergei Tsyrulnikov, a prominent Kazakh athlete known for his achievements in strength sports, particularly in powerlifting and strongman competitions. 

Minister Nurtleu addresses the ceremony. Photo credit: Assel Satubaldina / The Astana Times

“Your active participation in charity events, modesty, and lack of self-promotion deserve special attention, emphasizing your high moral qualities. I am convinced that being a Goodwill Ambassador will increase your motivation and enthusiasm,” said Murat Nurtleu addressing the ceremony. 

“Thanks to your victories and brilliant performances on world stages, arenas, and conferences, the turquoise flag of our country is raised in different parts of the world, and our national anthem resounds proudly,” added Nurtleu. 

Expressing his feelings about receiving the award, Marat Bisengaliev, who has achieved international acclaim for his virtuoso violin performances, said it was unexpected. Bisengaliev is a founding music director at the Symphony Orchestra of India. He also founded the West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003 and the Almaty Symphony Orchestra in 2012. 

Marat Bisengaliev receives the award from Minister Murat Nurtleu. Photo credit: Assel Satubaldina / The Astana Times

“I have to say this is very unexpected but very pleasant. I am very happy to receive this award. (…) It means a lot to me. It is recognition and quite a big reward for someone who probably not so often in Kazakhstan, but I represent Kazakhstan as a Kazakh citizen wherever I go,”  Bisengaliev told The Astana Times. 

He said he has worked extensively with the Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai. 

“It is going very well. We are doing a lot of tours and recordings. It takes a lot of time. The recent tour to England was really successful and we plan to do more of that around the world,” he said.

Alexander Vinokurov, now the general manager of the Astana Qazaqstan Team, a professional road cycling team based in Kazakhstan, described the award as a great honor.

Alexander Vinokurov and Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu. Photo credit: Assel Satubaldina / The Astana Times

“This status is an even greater incentive for me to work for the benefit of the nation. I will try to keep the bar,” Vinokurov told The Astana Times. 

He noted that the team is preparing for the main events of the season—the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, where they have secured three road race licenses.

“The Tour de France is the premier event for professional riders, second only to the Olympic Games. Having both events in one year presents an incredible opportunity. If we win a stage at the tour and secure a medal at the Olympics, it will be an outstanding season,” said Vinokurov. 

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