From August 30 to September 4, 2010 the members of the Körber Network Foreign Policy went on a field trip to Kazakhstan. In 2010 this Central Asian country is celebrating the “Year of Germany in Kazakhstan,” and has taken over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The various meetings with numerous interlocutors centred on Kazakhstan’s foreign, security and economic policy priorities, and on questions related to “energy supply” and “water management” issues.
The two days in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, were dominated by interviews with representatives of the Kazakhstan government and parliament. The group was granted interviews by H.E. Karim Kashimkanovich Massimov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Konstantin Zhigalov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Kairat S. Sarybay, Adviser to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the participants had the opportunity of talking to H.E. Ambassador Askar Shakirov, National Ombudsman and Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan, and with members of the Committee on International Affairs, Defence and Security of the Kazakhstan parliament. At a meeting with Jeanette Kloetzer, Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana, the participants discussed issues related to the Kazakh chairmanship of the OSCE. A meeting with H.E. Sauat Mynbayev, Minister of Oil and Gas, and Kairgeldy Kabyldin, the Chairman of the Board of the Kazakh national energy company KazMunaiGaz, was devoted to Kazakhstan’s energy policy.
In Almaty the participants had the opportunity to talk with representatives of civil society organizations, academics, and representatives of various religious communities. The group met with members of the Legal Policy Research Centre and Dr. Tulegen Askarov, a business journalist and adviser to Transparency International. At the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies the participants talked about regional cooperation in Central Asia with the director, Dr. Bulat Klychbayevich Sultanov, and further research fellows. The programme also included meetings with members of the Council of Germans in Kazakhstan and with the Deputy Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan.
The trip ended with a guided walking tour to the Big Almaty Lake, where the participants were briefed on the subject of water management in Central Asia by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC).
“The choice of interlocutors was remarkably good and made a telling contribution to experiencing and understanding Kazakhstan at close hand, not only its political and economic system, but also its people, and how they live together.”
Olaf Böhnke, Member of the 2010 field trip, is a Foreign Policy Adviser
to Dietmar Nietan, MP, German Parliament.
As part of the activities of the Körber Network Foreign Policy, the Körber Foundation organizes a field trip once a year to one of the hot spots of German and European foreign policy.