Director of the Department of Administration and Control of Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairperson of the Association of Kazakh Diplomats
About the Activity of the Association of Kazakh Diplomats
Mr. Kistafin, the second meeting of the Conference of the Association of Kazakh Diplomats (AKD) was held on May 31, 2017. Could you tell us about the outcome of this event?
The conference was one of the important events in our association. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the management staff of the foreign policy department and veterans of our diplomatic service, as well as colleagues who are members of our organisation but currently work in other agencies, took part in its work.
Abdrakhmanov noted that the establishment of the association in the beginning of last year was a logical continuation of the progressive transformation of the Foreign Ministry system during the years of independence of our country. He also stressed that along with addressing intra-corporate issues, there is a need to hold departmental events to involve the members of the association in social projects that are aimed at supporting the citizens in need and our talented youth. “The Kazakh diplomat should be actively involved in the life of the society, its concerns and needs," said the minister.
At the meeting, I presented the 2016 activity report including the financial indicators of revenue and expenditure items. In addition, we discussed a number of important issues related to the association, as well as identified promising areas of its work.
During the meeting, three new deputy chairpersons were elected and 20 new members of the council, which included representatives of the structural divisions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its subsidiary bodies, were approved.
Members of the association supported the proposals for introducing amendments to the charter. In particular, the area of our activities was complemented by such goals as assistance to national authority in implementing foreign policy and foreign economic policy; holding events in the field of charity, image-building and publishing activities; creating conditions for raising the professional level and qualifications of the members of the association; resolving labour disputes in pre-trial detention; addressing housing issues; etc.
Taking into account foreign experience, the draft charter also includes regulations regarding the possibility of admission to the association of persons with the status of honorary members. Honorary members of the association can be citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan who have contributed to the Kazakh diplomatic service and provide assistance to the association.
The new emblem and the flag of the association were approved at the meeting (photos attached).
In addition, the members of the association approved a schedule of events on the basis of the submitted proposals, as well as two drafts of the anthem submitted to the conference. Following discussions, a decision was made to create a working group for its detailed deliberation. As a result, in August last year the members of the council approved the text of the anthem authored by a member of the AKD, Mukhtar Karibay. Nowadays, the work on selection of music for the anthem is being carried out.
For further institutional development of the association, the decision to establish the Women's Committee was unanimously approved. The committee is designed for the active involvement of the spouses of diplomats and the financial assistance fund, which should be formed by transferring one day's wages of association members on a semi-annual basis.
It is encouraging to me that all the participants of the meeting were unanimous in that the events held within the framework of the association rally our collective, strengthen the corporate spirit and the connection between the generations of young diplomats and veterans of the diplomatic service, encourage our diplomats to participate in public life and provide support to those in need (citizens who are faced with difficult circumstances).
The overall outcome of the conference indicates our association has coped with its primary task. It has become an effective platform for open informal communication between our diplomats on the basis of common interests, giving an impetus to promote new ideas and initiatives that can improve the activities of the ministry. In general, the result of the events was an increase in the number of supporters of the association. Today, the association consists of 770 people and this is not the limit. Through the end of this year, we plan to increase the number of our supporters to 1,000 people.
Following the results of the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan awarded a number of Kazakh diplomats as the most active participants: Arnat Abeuov, Almaz Bayshygashev, Baurzhan Begalimov, Ardak Bekenova, Gulmira Dzhumasanova, Aida Ermekkaliyeva, Janiya Mukhadiyeva, Bolat Nurgaliyev, Ilyas Omarov, Saken Perdebekov, Perezat Salieva, Isatay Suleymanov, Sayazhan Tuyakova and Aidana Zhasuzak.
We know that the association has conducted different activities. Could you tell us about these activities?
In general, the members of the association organised and conducted more than 100 different events including sports competitions, meetings of young diplomats with veterans of the diplomatic service, visits to cultural events, charity events, including assistance to our colleagues who need material support, etc.
Within the framework of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Kazakh Diplomatic Service, competitions were organised among Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees for the best analytical work in the state language, as well as children's drawing contests on the theme “The World through the Eyes of Children."
In my opinion, sporting events are the most important direction in our work, which contribute to the creation of an informal platform for communication between our members and strengthening the cohesion of the collective and corporate spirit.
Within the framework of our schedule two conditional groups were formed: summer and winter series of competitions. In the summer there were organised tournaments for billiards, football, volleyball and arm wrestling. In the winter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the initiative of the head of state on convening the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), we held tournaments for football and volleyball. There were also competitions for bowling, table tennis and billiards.
On Constitution Day, competitions were held for chess among the staff of the Foreign Ministry and their children. The guest of honour at the tournament was Darmen Sadvakasov, who highly appreciated the level of diplomats in the intellectual game.
Regular collective visits to the Astana Opera, Astana Ballet, museums, exhibitions and football and hockey matches have become a good tradition. The members of the association take particularly great interest in the ongoing activities, in which 100-200 people are regularly involved.
Particular attention is paid to the preservation and strengthening of ties between the young generation of diplomats and veterans of the diplomatic service. On International Women's Day, the meeting with the first woman Ambassador and the first Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN Arystanbekova Akmaral took place. She spoke about the main stages of the formation of the foreign policy of independent Kazakhstan and shared interesting facts from her work activity. It must be recognised that frank conversation had aroused keen interest among young diplomats who had received valuable advice.
At the end of the year, the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the The Best Manager-2017 contest. Following the results of the closed ballot, the winner was the director of the Department of Consular Services Ardak Madiyev.
We try to follow the development of all issues related to the activities of the association. To discuss current and relevant issues, including the organisation of events every month, we hold meetings of the council within which we approve plans and identify responsible people for their implementation. At these meetings along with representatives of the council, all those who are indifferent to our social life can participate.
Could you tell us more about the charity events, including the action of 25 Good Deeds?
In fact, for the members of the association charity has become not a separate area of work, but part of our daily activities. Kazakh diplomats have done a lot of good deeds. We are talking not only about the cash transfers, but also about the personal participation and support of people faced with difficult circumstances, assistance to needy families, orphans and parents of sick children and other vulnerable groups of the population.
The charitable action 25 Good Deeds was initiated as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Diplomatic Service of Kazakhstan. During the year, we held and organised a variety of charity events. It is important for us that our goals fully coincide with the vision and desire of our colleagues to participate in these good deeds.
In April of last year, the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs listed one day's wages and personally handed over the packed things to the people who are being hard hit by the floods in the Atbasar district of Akmola region.
Victory Day help was rendered to veterans of the Second World War and the workers in the rear. We visited the workers in the rear – Malikzatova, Veretennikova, Panenko, Aliakhmetova – passing food baskets and necessary medicine.
On Children's Day, an open day was organised at the Foreign Ministry for children from low-income families. More than 30 high school students visited the Museum of Kazakhstan diplomacy and Kazakhstan and Astana halls of international negotiations and viewed the offices of the ministry staff. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov personally received our guests and at the meeting spoke about the history of Kazakhstan's diplomacy and its role and significance in the modern world, as well as the main qualities that a professional diplomat should possess. He also answered the questions of schoolchildren, advising the children to steadily expand their knowledge, supplement their knowledge, study foreign languages and be patriots of the Motherland.
In conclusion, the schoolchildren received a sweet diplomatic reception and we handed out souvenirs.
On Sept. 1 last year within the action My Choice – Help to Children, financial assistance was provided to children from large families living in the Semenovka village and Astana. A school uniform and shoes, as well as school bags and stationary supplies, are purchased for children in complete packages.
Together with the Shugyla Charity Fund for children of secondary schools No. 49 and No. 57, charity concerts with the participation of the artists of the capital circus, the musicians of the Zhastar Theatre and pupils of the karate section of the Alan Club were organised and the evening ended with the distribution of ice cream and sweets. Also we took part in the action of the Road to School Fund, within which funds were collected and school supplies were purchased for children from low-income families.
Together with the Meyrimdіlіk Charity Fund, we took part in the charity fair Let's Help the Children by providing financial assistance to the Children's Town of the LА-155/4 institution in Zhaugashty village (Ili district, Almaty region). On the eve of New Year, parties were held at a children's home for children with disabilities.
During the year, we provided financial assistance to more than 10 low-income and large families. T. Marat's family was taken under our patronage. Assistance was provided to the Seilov and Muteyev families affected by a fire. Monetary support is provided to sick children – F. Mazhit with Dandy-Walker syndrome and others.
Also, I would like to note the activities of our branch in Almaty where the members of the association are actively organised and held various events. By the Day of the Diplomatic Service, the Remembrance Day dedicated to deceased Kazakh diplomats was organised and a wreath-laying ceremony on the graves of Kazakh diplomats was held. The final part of the Remembrance Day was a memorial dinner, which in Kazakh language is called As. There was an impression that the holding of this event helped to bring together all the members of the association.
Our association is greatly supported by diplomats abroad. The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Finland created a real New Year's fairy tale for the Kazakh children of the Kun Bala Charity Fund by recording a special Santa Claus video message from Lapland, as well as handed over special educational toys. At the same time, I would like to note that this action was carried out by our colleagues for the second time and was called upon to draw the attention of our society to children suffering from Down syndrome, the importance of their socialisation and the active participation of such children in the life of modern Kazakhstan.
Our colleagues from the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Turkey sent a whole store of various clothes which were given to low-income families and a charity fund in Astana.
As you can see, we tried to do as many good things as possible and this is not the whole list of events. We plan to hold similar actions in the future.
What are the goals and objectives of the association for the current year?
First of all, the priority task is to solve the social and everyday problems of our diplomats. Due to the specifics of the diplomatic service, upon completion of post occupancy abroad our staff returns to Astana and faces problems related to kindergartens for their children, accommodation of children in schools and housing problems. In this regard, the main goal is to provide the most comfortable conditions for the adaptation of diplomats and their families upon their return home.
To improve the level of foreign language proficiency and study of rare languages by the staff of the Foreign Ministry, an agreement was reached with the Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages on holding special language courses. We are planning to start them in March of this year.
The institutionalisation of the Women's Committee and the early start of its work is also one of the main tasks. Our women have a lot of ideas that could be implemented in the framework of the association, promoting socially-oriented charity projects.
In general, we highly appreciate the potential of our association. Nowadays, it has become an effective platform for strengthening collective spirit and common victories. We certainly do not intend to rest on our accomplishments; there is a need to continue to work together to build up its potential. I am confident that our association can fully promote the implementation of foreign policy objectives and priorities, strengthen the continuity of generations of professional diplomats and protect the labor, professional and other rights and interests of its members in practice, as well as provide preventive measures to prevent the discrediting of such an important aspect as the integrity of employees of diplomatic service. In the medium term, we are quite able to reach a qualitatively new level, taking the leading place in the Kazakh society among other similar organisations.
Persons who are constantly interested in activities of the AKD are invited to subscribe to our pages in social networks such as Facebook and Instagram.
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