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On 1 May, St. James's Palace hosted a reception marking the 15th anniversary of the British-Kazakh Society.
St. James's Palace, which has been a residence for the members of Royal Family for more than 100 years, occupies an honorable place among the UK's Royal palaces. Even to this day, foreign ambassadors are accredited to the Court of St James's.
The reception was attended by more than 150 guests, including members of the UK's Government and Parliament; heads of leading corporations; representatives of academic community, leading international experts, as well as members of the Kazakh diaspora, including students; members of the scientific and business communities and professionals working at leading British companies.
The reception was opened with a welcome address by the Honorary Patron of the Society, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York. He noted the active co-operation between the two countries across a range of bilateral issues integral to the strategic partnership. His Royal Highness stressed the growing potential of effective and fruitful co-operation between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. The Duke of York also placed a special emphasis on the importance of human contacts and 'folk diplomacy' to support friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries.
The Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK, Mr Erlan Idrissov, read a congratulatory message from the President of Kazakhstan, an Honorary Patron of the British-Kazakh Society, H.E. Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, which was sent by him to mark the special celebration.
The President's message said that since its inception, the Society had carried out fruitful and effective work aimed at promoting trade and investment, as well as fostering cultural and humanitarian relations between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. It has also strengthened the close ties between the citizens of the two countries. The President of Kazakhstan expressed his assurance that the Society would continue to actively support and contribute to the development and strengthening of the Kazakh-British partnership for the benefit of the people of both countries.
Ambassador Idrissov added that relations between Kazakhstan and the UK were characterised by the high level of strategic partnership. Economic and financial ties continue to develop dynamically and both sides are actively co-operating in the development of the Astana International Financial Centre. In addition, partnerships in education, the digital economy, energy and agriculture continue to grow and strengthen.
In turn, the Chairman of the British-Kazakh Society, Mr Rupert Goodman, said that over the last 15 years the Society had contributed to the development of a robust relationship between the UK and Kazakhstan. It took part in several key events, such as the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations; the success of the Astana EXPO 2017 and UK pavilion; the launch of AIFC and many others.
Traditional Kazakh music played for the first time at St. James's Palace during the reception. A singer of Kazakh traditional and folk songs, Mr Yerlan Ryskali, gave a special performance for the guests on the dombra – a traditional Kazakh instrument. Songs included 'Gaini' by composer Segiz Seri and the folk 'Song of Moldabai'
The British-Kazakh Society is a non-profit organisation established in 2003 to promote the development of friendly relations between Kazakhstan and United Kingdom. The Honorary Patrons of the Society include the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev and His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York.