On April 27th, the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the plenary session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan (APK) saying that the Assembly implements the principles of coexistence and interaction of different cultures, as reported by the Akorda press service. It has become the most urgent challenge facing our modern world, Tokayev said during the 32nd session of the APK.
The Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is a unique civil society organization that brings together representatives of over 100 ethnic groups in Kazakhstan. The theme of this year’s session was “Fair Kazakhstan: unity, stability, development”. In his speech, Tokayev focused on the fundamental importance of interethnic harmony and unity for building a nation, as well as on the key role of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan. He underlined the development of a national identity in a natural-historical way on the basis of socio-political, economic and spiritual community.
For Tokayev, the Assembly has proven to be an essential institution in embodying and implementing genuine democratic ideas and values. He noted that all conflicts and wars come from national arrogance, an unwillingness to see a friend in another ethnic group.
Patriotism should never be confused with national arrogance.Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan
Since the country’s independence in 1991, its first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, fostered dialogue and a mutual understanding of cultures and religions. He championed the creation of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, now into its 7th edition. In September of 2001, he welcomed John Paul II, during the 10th Anniversary of the country’s independence.
1. 135 ethnic groups and 18 denominations
For Kazakh society, religious traditions of various ethnic groups have become a bridge that unites diverse communities and builds cohesion across the country. This attitude has nourished mutual respect and tolerance toward each other. With a population of nearly 19 million, the word Kazakhstan means home for more than 135 ethnic groups and 18 denominations.
Roughly 65% of Kazakhs are Muslims, most of whom are Sunni following the Hanafi school of teaching. 30% are Christian Orthodox, and the remaining 5% follow the Catholic faith, Judaism or other beliefs.
The Assembly has played an important role in the political modernization of the country and the strengthening of national unity. It has contributed to the involvement of all ethnic groups in state’s development. The Assembly implements the principles of coexistence between different cultures, which has become an urgent challenge facing the modern world.
Without unity and stability, political and economic reforms cannot be implemented.Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan
Political reforms have created a new foundation for integrating all ethnic groups into a single nation. Past election campaigns, he noted, were “free of ethnic or other constrained preferences and archaic stereotypes.” At the root of recent elections were general civic motivations for voting, reflecting genuine political competition and diverse views and ideas.
2. Importance of Kazakhstan’s territorial integrity and language
Tokayev emphasized the importance of Kazakhstan’s independence and territorial integrity. “Our people understand firsthand the true meaning of unity and peace,” he said. “These are lasting values for members of all ethnic groups who have survived difficult times and found refuge in Kazakhstan. Our people live in peace because these ideals are recognized and respected.”
He emphasized that knowledge of the Kazakh language remains a crucial component of the country’s policy. He stressed that the Kazakh language should become a means of introducing the best achievements of scientific progress and education.
“Citizens who have not studied the state language and do not know it as required should never be infringed,” he said. “At the same time, learning the state language and striving to master it must become an everyday norm in our society.”
The President urged all citizens to resist the agenda of hate and not become involved in foreign information wars or ideological disputes. “Yes to pluralism and no to radicalism, he said. “Our digital space and public realm should be dominated by an atmosphere of peace and harmony, constructive dialogue, and creative interaction.”
Tokayev ended his speech by saying that each ethnic group makes an invaluable contribution to strengthening friendship and harmony, and Kazakh citizens should be steadfast in their commitment to the country’s core ideals.