Cultural and humanitarian co-operation

Education is an important area of bilateral co-operation for Kazakhstan and the UK. British universities have adopted a leading role in educating students from the “Bolashak" scholarship programme. Currently, more than 600 Kazakh students are studying at UK universities as part of the programme.

In 2001, the Kazakh-British Technical University was established in Almaty. The university partners with four leading UK universities in the petroleum sector: Aberdeen, Robert Gordon, Herriot-Watt, and Westminster.

In 2014, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom signed a MoU on the Newton-Al-Farabi partnership programme, worth £12 million. The programme provides support to joint innovative and scientific research projects. Financing is carried out on a parity basis.

Nazarbayev University has been implementing a programme for preparation for university education and establishing the School of Engineering supported by University College London. With Britain's support, a scientific library was opened at the NU Centre for Energy Research in 2012. The facility offers scholarships to train NU Research and Innovation System staff.

On 3 November 2015, a forum of British and Kazakh universities – organised by Kazakhstan's Ministry of Education and Science, the British Council, and the UKTI – was held on the sidelines of President Nazarbayev's visit to London. The forum resulted in the signing of 13 documents between the universities.

New opportunities for co-operation in the civil service sector were established by a MoU signed in November 2015. The document outlines collaboration between both sides in training professional personnel in line with 'The Plan of the Nation – the 100 concrete steps to implement the five institutional reforms of the President of Kazakhstan'. The first visit by representatives of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Civil Service took place on 16-19 March 2016. This visit focused on ongoing trends in the UK's civil service, recruiting, simplification of the administrative procedures etc.

Historical and cultural co-operation between Kazakhstan and the UK is consistently strengthening. The visit of British architect and traveler Thomas Atkinson and his wife Lucy to Kazakhstan in the 19th century has become a cultural bridge between the two countries. The Atkinsons were some of the first British citizens to visit Kazakhstan. They left behind a number of diaries, notes and paintings, in which they described the everyday lives of Kazakh people, as well as their meetings with Kazakh officials.

In July 2016, descendants of Thomas Atkinson visited Kazakhstan. During their trip, a monument was unveiled in the village of Kapal, in the Almaty region. This village was the birthplace of Alatau Tamchiboulak Atkinson, Thomas and Lucy's son.

The story of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson, as well as the visit of their descendants to Kazakhstan 150 years later, was captured in the 'Kazakhstan. The history of great travels' documentary. The film was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence and aired on Kazakh TV channels, including 'Khabar', 'Kazakhstan', 'KTK' in both Kazakh and Russian. In addition, between 19 November and 16 December 2016, a documentary film entitled 'Kazakhstan – the heart of Eurasia. Amazing journey' to mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's Independence and the idea 'The Eternal Nation' was shown on the BBC World News.

On 14 September 2017, an exhibition entitled 'Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia' was unveiled at the British Museum. The exhibition explored the daily life, culture, and art of the Scythians. The National Museum of Kazakhstan has been a key contributor of the exhibition, having loaned 17 objects. There was great public interest in the Saka dagger of the “Golden man" from the Issyk excavation. Other objects loaned from the National Museum of Kazakhstan included a silver bowl (V-III cc. BC, the Issyk excavation); a bracelet made in an animal style (VI c. BC, the Taksay I barrow); and other unique archaeological finds from excavations in Taksay, Berel and Taldy.

In the first week of October 2017, London hosted the Kazakh Arts Festival. The festival was aimed at introducing the UK and global community to Kazakhstan's rich cultural and historic heritage. Throughout the week, actors from two Kazakh theatres, the Mukhtar Auezov Kazakh State Theatre of Drama and the Korean State Theatre of Musical Comedy, as well as London's Pajarito Theatre, performed plays by renowned Kazakh writer and playwright Dulat Issabekov. These included 'A Man on a Mission', 'The Actress', and 'Song of the Swans'. The performances were held at London's Stockwell Playhouse Theatre and Bridewell Theatre.

In December 2016, BBC's Top Gear travelled to Kazakhstan. Presenters Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid journeyed across South-Kazakhstan and the Kyzylorda region in a Mercedes E 220D, Volvo V70 and London Taxi. The trio visited Shymkent and Turkestan, as well as Kentau, Kyzylorda and Baikonur.

Top Gear's Kazakhstan road trip attracted millions of viewers, who learnt about Kazakhstan's rich culture. The programme ended with the presenters watching the launch of the Soyuz at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Relations between Kazakhstan and the UK in the field of media is developing actively. On 7 September 2017, Mr Dauren Abayev, Minister of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan, paid a working visit to London. As part of the visit a Memorandum of co-operation between the Ministry of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan and BBC Worldwide was signed. The MoU intends to implement joint projects aimed at holding roundtables, organisation of lectures for national and regional media, educational courses and seminars, as well as branding issues. The MoU also aims to create a task force, which will be focused predominantly on holding joint consultations on technical development of Kazakh TV-channels as part of their digital transformation, exchange information and experience.

Created at : 6.11.2016, 18:50, Updated at : 7.11.2016, 14:15