Kazakh leader seeks globalization

Kazakh Ambassador Erlan Idrissov said his country is becoming more progressive in an effort to become a competitor in the global economy, during a speech Thursday at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Idrissov centered his evening address around the country’s potential, emphasizing its goal to “remain competitive and attractive to businesses,” while also maintaining favorable relations with neighboring Russia and China, as well as the U.S.

Idrissov touted the Eurasian country’s growing economy, natural resources and progressive education programs.

“We woke up one morning and discovered we were independent,” the ambassador said, explaining how Kazakhstan gained independence from the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

Since then, the country has improved drastically, Idrissov said, although he ceded, “there’s a lot to be done.”

Upon liberation two decades ago, Kazakhstan almost immediately moved forward by adopting capitalism and embracing free-society systems. Stimulating a booming economy was, and remains, one of the country’s top priorities, he said.

“Stability rests on a very sound economic system,” Idrissov said. In Kazakhstan’s case, it rests on metal-working, construction, budding tourism, building infrastructure and advancing agriculture and textiles.

Motivated by success, the ambassador said, “We want to find our own niche in the global economy.”

Idrissov noted his country’s natural resources, but said terminating resource dependency is a top priority. The country is also working to improve infrastructure, with the intent to develop tourism.

“Kazakhstan is a young nation that finds itself in a very challenging environment,” Idrissov said, but insisted the country will be successful.

“Kazakhstan is only going to continue to grow and improve, so, particularly as an undergraduate organization, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the ambassador forum and bring the ambassador to campus,” said Delta Phi Epsilon President Julie Bailey, whose organization hosted the event.

Students responded positively to Idrissov’s talk.

Sophomore Emily Johanson said she was particularly impressed.

“I thought he was a great speaker, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to hear him speak,” Johanson said.

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