Speeches

4 September 2019
Statement by the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the First Forum of Asian countries’ writers

Dear writers!

Dear Forum participants!

 

The initiative to hold the First Forum of Asian Countries’ Writers belongs to the First President of Kazakhstan - Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Our people have always attached special importance to the respect for spiritual heritage, the deep study of national history, and the support of culture.

These principles have gained a new meaning in an independent Kazakhstan.

Kazakh literature is inextricably linked with the centuries-old history of our nation.

Our literature’s roots go back to the common heritage of all Turks - the poems “Kultegin”, “Tonyukuk”, “Bilge Kagan” and “Book of Korkyt ata”.

During the Islamic Renaissance, the achievements of the Turks became known to the whole world thanks to the works of such great personalities as al-Farabi and Ahmet Yassawi.

The poetry of zhyrau, which arose in the era of the Golden Horde, is still developing today.

The blossoming of our literature is closely connected with the wisdom of the great thinker Abai.

His works are a spiritual heritage for all of humanity.

Today, the borders of our literature are expanding and entering into a global literary space.

Thanks to the works of Kazakh writers, the world community is learning our national culture.

The works of 30 Kazakh writers and 31 poets will be translated and published in six UN languages.

Their works will now be available to 2.5 billion readers in more than ninety countries on five continents.

This is an unprecedented event in the history of Kazakh literature.

 

The Great Steppe has witnessed diverse civilisations and cultures.

Our country is located at the junction of roads connecting the west and the east, and the south and the north of a vast continent.

We are a people that have preserved the Turkic identity, who originate from the Great Turkic Kaganate.

It is on the great heritage of those times that the achievements of today's Turkic peoples are founded.

Asia is a continent that has witnessed great civilisations emerge, achieve power and disappear into the annuals of history.

It is impossible to imagine the history of humankind without Arab, Persian, Chinese and Indian civilisations.

Despite all the differences, oriental cultures have always had much in common.

The main secret of the harmonious development of the peoples of Asia is their mutual interaction, avoiding the clash of civilisations.

Over the past half century, Asia has revived and developed dynamically.

The states of the east have taken strong positions among the leading powers of the planet.

Today, I would like to dwell on several relevant topics that will be at the center of discussions at the Forum.

First. The eastern tradition of globalisation is expanding and acquiring concrete forms.

Many still consider the Great Silk Road only in an economic context.

But in fact, as in antiquity, the Silk Road is turning into a powerful force uniting civilisations.

The growth of the Asian economy is accompanied by a rapid rise in literature, art, and the education system.

Asian literature is diverse and has deep origins.

Evidence of writing found in Sumeria, in China and Egypt is vivid proof of this.

Numerous ancient Turkic, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and Persian manuscripts have survived the test of time and are present today.

What is the value of this heritage?

The universal values ​​underlying the most ancient monuments have become globally popular thanks to literature.

Such works contain the answers and solutions to questions concerning global problems.

Second. The scope of Asian literature is expanding significantly.

Writers from Asia have gained worldwide recognition.

At the same time, I believe that another important task of the Forum is to popularise Asian literature in the world.

I think that the continuity of the traditions of eastern wisdom will continue through your works.

Third. In an era facing the challenges of globalisation, Asia retains its unique features, giving a deserving reply to such challenges.

Western technology, combined with the spirituality of Asia, has developed a model of eastern modernisation.

A new Asian creative class has emerged in the cities, advocating for the preservation of the identity of eastern societies.

The expansion of spiritual ties is the key to uniting the peoples of Asia in modern times.

We must support this process and contribute to strengthening the unity of the peoples in the world.

Fourth. Asia has recreated cultural and historical relationships that were once nearly lost.

The confrontation between the two systems of the twentieth century touched Asia too, splitting the once common culture.

Central Asia was surrounded by “iron curtains”, peoples and states were separated.

But we have managed to preserve common values.

Once the artificial barriers were removed, we again felt like one world.

Family and social traditions, diligence and desire for knowledge are noble qualities inherent in Asian peoples.

“The harmony of diversity” - this is how you can concisely and figuratively characterise the harmony in the formation of our cultures.

That is what the great Abai taught through his edifying words: "Love all mankind as your brother."

Asia is becoming united. The revival of the Great Silk Road is a clear example of this.

 

Dear participants!

 

The Kazakh steppe in the heart of Eurasia is not only a corridor connecting West and East.

The country of the Great Steppe has always been a place where civilisations met, where there was an exchange of knowledge and scientific achievements.

Today’s Forum shows that current trends serve to strengthen human potential.

Progress without raising the level of spirituality is not only impossible, but also has no meaning.

At the same time, your writings make a significant contribution to the revival of the great culture of Asia.

For the further development of Asian literature, we need to pay attention to the following important issues.

First of all, the Forum of Asian writers should become an important dialogue platform for the creative community.

I believe that this important event should be held on a permanent basis in Asia.

Such events should highlight the complex issues of concern for humanity.

Of particular importance is the development of Asia as a world center of spiritual development.

Therefore, the creation of conditions for the modernisation of literary processes is one of the main tasks.

To this end, the “Asia alyby” International Literary Prize should be established.

We must make efforts to increase the prestige of this award, as well as making it a world-famous one.

It is high time to create a single electronic library of works by Asian writers.

It will become an invaluable treasury, thanks to which the world will be able to learn a unique Asian worldview.

I am sure that the work on the implementation of such initiatives will unite the writers and take Asian literature to a new level.

I wish you success in the work of today’s Forum!


All speeches
 
Other speeches and addresses
All speeches and addresses