Factsheet on President Nazarbayev’s article

“Course towards the future: modernization of Kazakhstan’s identity”


The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stated that the large-scale economic efforts that Kazakhstan has started as part of the ‘Third Modernization of Kazakhstan’ should be complemented with advanced modernization of Kazakhstan’s identity. This will provide the core for political and economic modernization.

On national identity in the 21st century

President Nazarbayev has proposed several aspects of this modernization process:

  1. Competitiveness
  • Every Kazakh individual should have computer literacy, foreign language proficiency and cultural openness.
  • The Digital Kazakhstan program, the trilingual education program at schools and the policy of cultural and religious accord are parts of preparation of the nation for life in the contemporary world.
  1. Pragmatism
  • Pragmatism means an accurate knowledge of national and personal resources, the cost-effective use and the ability to plan for the individual’s and the country’s future.
  1. Maintaining national identity
  • The President stated that modernization is impossible without maintaining national culture.
  • However, to move forward, a nation must leave behind the elements of the past that hinder its development.
  1. The cult of knowledge
  • President Nazarbayev stressed that education should be the number one priority for the youngsters of Kazakhstan, especially as up to half of existing professions will cease to exist in the upcoming decades as a result of the technological revolution.
  • The President argued that only highly educated people with the ability to switch careers will be able to live successfully in such conditions.
  1. Evolutionary development of Kazakhstan
  • President Nazarbayev said that evolutionary development as a principle of ideology should be one of the benchmarks on a personal, individual level for every Kazakh.
  1. Open attitude
  • Having an open attitude has three main aspects: understanding what’s going on in the world, being open to the changes that the technological revolution brings and, finally, the ability to adopt and learn from the experience of other people and countries.

Agenda for the coming years

President Nazarbayev has proposed several concrete projects that should be started in the coming years:

  1. A roadmap for transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet
  • By 2025, Kazakhstan will start publishing workflows, periodicals, textbooks and everything else in the Latin alphabet.
  • This initiative is driven by the specific requirements of the modern technological environment, of communications and science and education in the 21st century.
  1. “New Humanitarian Knowledge. 100 New Textbooks in the Kazakh Language”
  • In the coming years, the government will translate the world’s 100 best textbooks on the humanities into the Kazakh language to enable youth to easily access this advanced knowledge.
  • These textbooks should already be in use in educating Kazakhstan’s students by the 2018/2019 school year.
  • To meet this timetable, a National Translation Bureau will be established, which by the order of the Government, will begin this work in summer 2017.
  1. “Tugan Zher” (“Homeland”)
  • The President stressed that it is necessary to conduct a serious study of local lore in the sphere of education, ecology and site improvement, study of regional history, restoration of cultural and historical monuments and cultural sites of local significance.
  • Different forms of support and social respect need to be created that will contribute to communities including a sponsor support mechanism.
  1. Spiritual Holy Sites of Kazakhstan
  • The idea is to unite, in the national consciousness, monuments surrounding the Ulytau and the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, ancient monuments of Taraz and Beket Ata burials, ancient compounds of East Kazakhstan and sacred sites of the Zhetysu (Semirechye) region and many other places. This will help shape Kazakhstan’s national identity.
  • This will also create a platform to boost domestic and international cultural tourism.
  1. Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World
  • President Nazarbayev stated that Kazakhstan should be known globally for its cultural achievements.
  • He stressed that it is necessary to make Kazakhstan’s modern domestic culture better known in the six official UN languages.
  • Modern methods and latest multimedia channels should be used to promote Kazakhstan’s modern culture
  1. “100 New Faces of Kazakhstan”
  • The project will tell the story of Kazakhstan’s achievements over the last 25 years through the individual lives of 100 citizens from different regions of different age groups and ethnic origins.
  • This project will address three objectives: to show the real faces of those who have created modern Kazakhstan through their intellect, hands and talent, to create new multimedia platforms to promote Kazakhstan’s outstanding contemporaries and, finally, to complement the national program with regional “100 New Faces” projects.