Year: 2019

February triumph of Kazakhstan national tennis teams in the Davis Cup and in the Fed Cup

February 2019 became a signature month for the Kazakhstani tennis. Both teams at once – men’s and women’s – won victories in the capital of Kazakhstan, in the President’s sight, and were qualified for the final stage of the Davis Cup World Group and for the play-off of the Fed Cup. For the first time in history, Kazakhstan hosted rivals of both national teams at home in Astana and won two bright victories at a blow within one week, having satisfied all expectations of their fans. On 1 February the men’s national team of Kazakhstan stood against the Portuguese team. Kazakhstanis were favourites because historically they almost always won in the Davis Cup battles in their motherland. That was the case this year too. A sensational victory was won right on the first day of the series by a 21-old Alexander Boublik, a debutant of the Davis Cup. He played against the renowned Joao Sousa – the experienced leader of the Portuguese team and number 39 in the world rating. For the second match, leader of the Kazakhstani team Mikhail Kukushkin was entering the court against number two in the Portuguese team with an already gained advantage and has won very unsurprisingly.
Pictured: Mikhail Kukushkin is getting a special ITF award for the allegiance to his country from the Chair of the International Tennis Federation.
The second day of the matchup turned out to be a little bit more challenging, but the Kazakhstani team still managed to clinch the win of the series with the 3:1 score in their favour. The fifth meet was not needed after Mikhail Kukushkin hammered Joao Sousa with the 6:4, 6:1 scores. This enabled Kazakhstan to reach the final stage of the Davis Cup World Group – the largest and the most prestigious of the team tournaments in the world of men’s tennis. Thanks to this victory Kazakhstan joined the ranks of 18 national teams which will compete for reaching the Cup’s quarterfinal in November 2019 in Madrid.
Pictured: men’s national tennis team of Kazakhstan
It was not quite the end of victories won by Kazakhstanis in tennis. On the heels of the Davis Cup, the Fed Cup came – the similar largest and the most prestigious of the team tournaments in women’s tennis. The Asian qualification series were divided into two groups: in one of them Kazakhstan had to meet Thailand and India, and in the other one China stood opposite Indonesia, South Korea and Oceania. However, the core struggle for the world stage play-off ticket had to take place in the final between the teams of Kazakhstan and China. Such was the case indeed.
Pictured: Zarina Dias
Like in the men’s team, there were no favourites, but China put together the stacked, almost the strongest, team. In the first match Zarina Dias, number 96 in the world, met with number 42 Saisai Zheng. In the second one, leader of the Kazakhstani team Yulia Putintseva played against renowned Zhuai Zhang who has just recently won the Australian Open. After two matches, there was one point in each team’s collection, therefore everything had to be resolved in the doubles third match. Our Anna Danilina and Galina Voskoboyeva played together for the first time; furthermore, 23-old Anna Danilina made her first appearance at the Fed Cup. The teams struggled in the first set, but in the second one the Kazakhstanis lost no single game to the Chinese women.
Pictured: women’s national team of Kazakhstan after their victory over China
The battle finished ahead of time after Danilina and Voskoboyeva won. In full view of fans, Kazakhstan, for the third time in history, reached the play-off of the second World Group of the Fed Cup. Now our girls will await to face with Great Britain on 20-21 April, where they will compete for the opportunity to reach the semifinal. It was very important to win the victory in the homeland in front of the capacity crowd of fans, to satisfy their expectations, and our female tennis players have successfully accomplished this task.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation will put 150 million tenge into the project of popularisation of a healthy lifestyle for Kazakhstani children

The “Balaman” project was presented on 31 January in Almaty. This is a platform with educational and entertainment content for children about a healthy lifestyle in the Russian, Kazakh and English languages. The project idea was offered to the Preventive Medicine Academy of Kazakhstan in 2017 by Almaz Sharman – a doctor and an expert in the field of biomedical and demographic health research. The project name comes from a Kazakh proverb “Bala aman – el aman”, that means “Healthy child – healthy nation”.  In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation took a decision to support this project aimed at the improvement of health of the rising generation of Kazakhstanis. A year earlier the Foundation set a clear course for multiplicity, thus considerably expanding the scope of its projects. The new trends include: the large-scale project of reconstruction of the Botanical Garden in Almaty; support of cultural projects through partnership with the Batyrkhan Shukeyev Foundation; humanitarian aid, jointly with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan, to Kazakhstanis stricken by river floods; and the WeArt project to support vulnerable groups of youth in Almaty. The Foundation also did not overlook its own projects related to health care and support of individual vulnerable groups of population, which have been implemented for several years now – first of all it is expansion of the network of Assyl Miras autism centres, and the new level of holding the annual Burabike charity festival. The next target group which will receive support of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is children of Kazakhstan. It is exactly the group the educational work of the “Balaman” platform will be aimed at. The heart of this project will be use of modern technologies and social media for a successful communication with the new generation who cannot imagine their lives without Internet and gadgets. Its purpose is to cultivate healthier habits in children in everything that relates to prevention of diseases and popularisation of the healthy lifestyle: nutrition, physical exercises, day routine, communication with age-mates and first aid treatment. “Balaman” has already been backed by children’s ambassadors: blogger Aminka-Vitaminka, whose YouTube audience is 2.7 million subscribers, and Daneliya Tuleshova, participant of the Junior Eurovision-2015 song contest. Last year the Foundation allocated 22 million tenge for the development of the “Balaman” project. Marat Aitmagambetov says that the management plans to spend about 150 million tenge for the first three years of cooperation. And founder Bulat Utemuratov himself and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees intend to render long-term support for the formation of a healthier generation of Kazakhstanis. The fundamental role in this process is played by the healthy childhood and every Kazakhstani child is entitled to it.

How does Haileybury educate socially responsible Kazakhstanis?

Schoolchildren of international private schools Haileybury Almaty and Haileybury Astana are taught using the British system unique for Kazakhstan. The school administration has a comprehensive approach to education: children study not only traditional school disciplines but also put a lot of time into informal-learning settings including charity initiatives and social responsibility. The general idea in Haileybury is that this is an integral part of upbringing a future responsible citizen of Kazakhstan. Haileybury Schools in Almaty and Astana in and of themselves are social projects of Kazakhstani businessmen and philanthropists. Both schools are non-commercial organisations generating a zero profit – all money left after payment of expenditures are reinvested in the development and in scholarships for gifted children. That way children get an opportunity to complete expensive A-Level и International Baccalaureate (IB) international qualification programmes free of charge. Over one third of students in the 12-13 grades in the Astana school study at the expense of grants, in Almaty over 50 children received similar grants between 2011 and 2018.
“Our shareholders do not demand profits from us because Haileybury is a social project. We have an opportunity to reinvest a part of revenues in the development of the Kazakhstani society through scholarships for gifted children whose parents cannot pay for their education at our school”, says Lynne Oldfield, Haileybury Director.
Kazakhstani schoolchildren can get competition-based grants from the age of 16. Candidates pass intelligence appraisal tests, demonstrate motivation and leadership qualities. Interestingly, the school has no limits for the number of grants – they are given to those who demonstrated true individuality, talent, high academic scores and knowledge of the English language. Why are grants given to children entering the 12 and 13 grades? This gives them an opportunity to get diplomas of expensive IB or A-level international programmes. And this is a direct way to the best higher education institutions in the world. The school continues supporting school-leavers financially upon their graduation if they are admitted to one of the best world universities. Many Haileybury leavers study in prestigious foreign universities, and from 2016 education at such universities became available for those schoolchildren who received grants. In 2016 four Grant Programme students got offers from the University College London (10th place in the world rating list according to the QS World University Rankings), and the shareholders decided to render financial support to them and paid up the university tuition fees. In 2017 Artur Turaliyev, who studied under the Haileybury Grant Programme, was awarded a partial grant at the Loughborough University, and in 2018 Aishabibi Ashimbekova was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley, Department of Astophysics (admission to this University is successful for 17% of applicants only). The school shareholders and philanthropists continued to sponsor Aishabibi’s studies at the University too. The Haileybury Grant Programme is a manifestation of social responsibility of the school shareholders. But the school staff, parents and students also take part in charity and social initiatives. This is an important part of out-of-school curriculum of children, as teachers and the administration believe. The Haileybury Almaty schoolchildren, for example, for the third running year now have been arranging New Year presents and food treats for orphanage children because they want these children to feel the festive spirit too. Through their joint efforts teachers, students and parents hold the Winter Festival which allows to collect about 1.5 million of sponsor funds for charity purposes annually. And the Astana school community, in their turn, annually organise the ArtSportsFest inclusion festival devoted to Kazakhstani children with special needs. At the end of September 2018, when the news passed round the world that the Sulawesi island in Indonesia suffered from the devastating tsunami and subsequent volcanic explosion, students of the Almaty school put on clothes in the colours of the Indonesian flag (white and red) instead of their uniforms and organised a fair where they sold baked foods made with their own hands. Proceeds – about 1,500 US dollars – were sent to support the victims of that disaster. Charity fairs are quite common at the Astana school too. For example, on the World Book Day the school traditionally holds the book fair, and the money which they manage to raise are donated for the benefit of orphan children. The Almaty school houses an action group – a platform consolidating school representatives, parents and students for the common activity in assisting the single mothers shelter. The group provides an integrated support to the shelter: if the need be, undertakes repairs, pleases with gifts and treats, organises birthday celebrations, competitions and events. Haileybury Astana, in its turn, works together with the Ayalan Alan Foundation. They jointly contribute to the creation of an educational centre for children from the vulnerable strata of population, and fit district centre schools with equipment. Recently they implemented projects to equip classrooms in Aksai town and a special school for children with hearing disorders in Astana. Haileybury schools in Kazakhstan actively cooperate with large charity organisations which implement initiatives in various areas, such as Dara, Special Olympics, the Red Crescent Society, the Biodiversity Conservation Fund of Kazakhstan and many others. From 2013, Haileybury Almaty has been cooperating with the United World Schools and has built an operating school for rural children in one of the remote areas of Cambodia within the frameworks of its charity support. Schoolchildren can be socially active also within the walls of the school. They can voluntarily help teachers play with younger children, practice engaging games with them, put forward ideas for organisation of charity projects, and to develop innovative social responsibility concepts within the school curriculum. 

What results did the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation achieve in 2018?

As for 2018, Kazakhstan had 244 courts where 7,000 sportsmen trained. Bulat Utemuratov became the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation in 2007. Issues of development of the tennis infrastructure and children’s tennis came up the most urgent then. The first five-year programme of development was designed in 2007. It was agreed with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Since then the programme has been renewed every five years, and every year from two to four tennis centres have been commissioned in various regions of Kazakhstan. The following projects were launched: “Tennis under 10”, the Team Kazakhstan Academy for gifted sportsmen, a programme of certification of trainers, a training programme for judges, concepts of national and international tournaments. The Kazakhstani federation joined the Asian and International Tennis Federations, and Bulat Utemuratov took the position of a member of the Board of Directors.

In line with the plan, four infrastructural projects were underway in 2018.

Dias Doskarayev, Vice President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, shared that Kazakhstan strives to develop both amateur and professional tennis – for the health of the nation and for the highest achievements at the international level. In both cases a developed infrastructure is needed which would allow for systematisation of processes and creation of favourable conditions for sportsmen. The first infrastructure project of 2018 was extension of the National Tennis Centre in Shymkent and construction of a hotel affiliated with it. Then came the construction of the Ace Tennis Centre in Almaty. It was opened personally by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Several months later, one can see about 500 children attending it. From the financing point of view, tennis centres launched by the Federation in 2018 in cities of Aktobe and Petropavlovsk turned out to be quite special. They were built within the framework of public-private partnership. The Petropavlovsk tennis centre will welcome its first international tournament – the ITF G4 competition among boys and girls under 18 – in the first quarter of 2019.

The Federation has large-scale plans for 2019 too.

In 2019 the Federation plans to build new centres in Astana, Karaganda, Aktau and Almaty, and a training centre in Lisakovsk town, Kostanay Oblast. The Federation builds new facilities where there is a splash of popularity of tennis among children, where queues gather and the demand outpaces the supply of current tennis centres. This monitoring work is carried out by the Federation branches in every region, data are entered to the single database, and the management then plans the work to build an infrastructure for three-four years ahead. Facilities in Kostanay, Taraz, Kyzylorda, Shymkent and the Turkestan Oblast are up next. Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk also need new centres.

Another field of activities of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation led by Bulat Utemuratov is organisation of tournaments.

“We have held over 100 tournaments of the republican and international level for the year of 2018. Besides, there is a separate programme of tournaments for children under 10 years of age.  We have held 154 more tournaments within the children’s programme,” says the Vice President of the Federation, – “Our international tournaments amount exactly to 40”.
In July 2018 the Federation traditionally held the President’s Cup – one of the most prestigious tournaments in Kazakhstan where sportsmen from 20 countries came together. The winners’ pot of the President’s Cup is 205,000 dollars. The Cup falls within the preparation series of hard flooring tournaments which precede the US Open Grand Slam tournament. Prestigious tournaments of the ATP Challenger series traditionally take place in Almaty and Shymkent. The winners’ pot is 50,000 dollars, and the players of the top-100 world rating come together there. The Federation management notes that the tournament geography expands every year in Kazakhstan. Large international competitions now take place not only in Almaty, Astana and Shymkent, but also in smaller cities, such as Aktobe, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Uralsk, and this year tournaments will be held for the first time in Petropavlovsk and Karaganda. International competitions enable sportsmen from regions, trainers and parents to watch the competitive players who come to Kazakhstan from in average 16 countries of the near and far abroad, as well as to raise recognition and image of the Kazakhstani tennis at the global level.

 “Our children were our biggest joy in 2018”

Professional results of the national tennis team of Kazakhstan were persistently good in 2018. The men’s team reached the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup World Group, entered the top-8, that is believed to be very prestigious at the global level. But the outstanding success was demonstrated by the young charges of the Federation, those under the age of 12 years. Many of them placed high at European and Asian tournaments. We heard new names: Aiya Nupbay and Karina Dzhumadzhanova won the tournament of the Tennis Europe ProWin Saarland Junior Open series in the Neunkirchen town in Germany, Zhanel Ospanova reached the Tennis Europe final in Minsk. Yerassyl Murat won the ITF G5 Tirana Open tournament, and Sandugash Kenzhibayeva and Yerassyl Yerdilda became the first Kazakhstanis in history who managed to qualify for the prestigious Les Petits As tournament (unofficial world championship for players under 14) to be held at the end of 2019 in Tarbes, France. Dostanbek Tashbulatov, for the first time in the history of Kazakhstani tennis, took part in the Youth Olympic Games-2018 in Buenos Aires. Kazakhstani fans were pleased with trainees of the Team Kazakhstan Academy which was established to support the most promising children tennis players and creation of the country’s tennis reserve to take part in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup world competitions. Anna Danilina, Denis Yevseyev, Gozal Ainitdinova won medals of various ranks at the Asiad. They took part in the Asiad for the first time. All these achievements of 2018 give a sense of how tennis has been developing in Kazakhstan for the recent 10 years: we have opened up our own stars – talented children from large and small cities and towns of Kazakhstan who won medals at international tournaments, we have our own trainers and judges, own competitions which attract the world’s leading tennis players. It is safe to say that Kazakhstan won a decent place on the global map of professional tennis and became a serious rival of the world’s best tennis national teams.

Media business of Bulat Utemuratov: what was achieved in 2018 and the 31 Channel have much more in common than one could see at the first sight. This is not only the echoing brand names – and the news programme “Informburo” on the 31 Channel which are sometimes got confused by readers and TV audience, but also high professional journalist standards communicated, inter alia, by the founder – Verny Capital parent company, where Bulat Utemuratov is the key shareholder. In 2018 the 31 Channel turned 25, and – three. For both projects, the previous period was rich in honourable awards and important new projects. In 2018 was recognised as “The Best Online Media” according to the “Urker” National Award. And journalists Nikolay Enelane and Zholdas Orisbayev became nominees of the award in categories “The Best Analytics” and “The Best International Analytics”. “This is an important award because its’s a recognition by the professional community,” says Mikhail Dorofeyev, Editor-in-Chief of
Pictured: team at the «Urker» awards ceremony in Astana
And on 26 June 2018 Mikhail Dorofeyev himself merited an honourable award on behalf of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, which was established the day before the professional journalist holiday. A public commission selected 8 best Kazakhstani journalists, including the Editor-in-Chief of, out of 61 candidates, and on 28 June Dorofeyev took part in the “Interview” programme where he spoke about the principles of the work and the modern Kazakhstani journalism. According to him, one of the major trends is constructive journalism or journalism of decisions which has been introducing throughout the recent year, however not turning away from traditional news and investigative journalism. There are things which should be explained to people and not just reported, such as laws, codes, state programmes: “Reporters not only reveal problems but also splash into what solution options might be. This is one more way of development of the civil society,” commented Mikhail Dorofeyev. Speaking about qualitative and quantitative features of the audience, in 2018 managed to twice become the winner of the “Mediator” international award in “The Most Widely-Read” category among federal news outlets. This category is for awarding the media which publications readers spend the most time on. “Why are we proud of this award? Because the “Mediator” participants include both Kazakhstani and Russian media. We outcompeted quite large and well-known Russian brands,” Mikhail Dorofeyev commented on awards. In Mikhail Dorofeyev’s opinion, apart from unbiased presentation of information and fairness, the high professional standards of are also proved by division of editorial and commercial materials, and honesty towards readers. “In 2018 we managed to form our commercial editorial office and to finish building a wall between the informational and commercial editorial teams. Now everyone minds their own work».
Pictured: Mikhail Dorofeyev, Kuat Bakhridinov and Rodion Skryabin during the panel discussion at the “TSEKH”(“Guild”) conference.
Conduction of the sectoral media conference “TSEKH” (“Guild”) became one more novation in the work of It was held twice in 2018: in March and end October. Speakers were local media managers and renowned foreign guests including Iliya Krasilshchik (the then Meduza publisher), Rodion Skryabin (Business Development Director, Lifehacker), Sasha Rai (publisher, Tinkoff Journal) and Ayan Mittra (Texas Tribune) who have never yet come to Kazakhstan. They spoke on the native advertising, survey of the audience and content distribution. “Our guess is that the conferences were successful, they caused a lot of interest among the professional audience, there were good comments. In general, this positively influences development of the market where we work in,” says the Editor-in-Chief of The 31 Channel had none the less achievements in 2018. The company turned 25 years old. For this time the channel managed to become the “Prime family TV channel” in the Kazakhstani media market thanks to the management and producers who try to diversify the broadcast schedule so that every member of a family could find something interesting and useful. The team is especially proud of the self-made products – news broadcasts, comedy and reality shows. They truly have something to be proud of. “Informburo” – the 31 Channel’s news programme – deserved its second statuette of the Kazakhstani television award “Tumar” in “The best information programme” nomination in 2018. Competition was provided by 355 Kazakhstani projects also nominated for this award.
Pictured: 31 Channel staff during the “Tumar” award 2017 ceremony.
According to Gulzhan Mukusheva, Information Broadcasting Director, “Informburo” News Programme Department, journalists are moving away from the classical scheme of news broadcasting like “presenter’s lead-in, footage” towards live broadcasts, social polls, guests in the studio, direct communication with speakers by all possible means. The 31 Channel team does not cover bloody or hype topics in all details in the pursuit of ratings, but prefer to take into account the interests of their viewers, even of the youngest of them, therefore they cover many consumer subjects and talk to TV viewers in a common understandable and safe language. Each and all “Informburo” presenters are active writing journalists who have high standards of fairness in their profession, there is not any “talking head”. Journalists not only gather information and write news pieces themselves but also assemble videos for their footages, sort out audio tracks and texts for newscasters. In addition to the TV channel, the content generated by the “Informburo” programme can be found on YouTube and the application because the audience turns to the information repeatedly. Mukusheva says that “Informburo” frequently appears in the top 10 Kazakhstani YouTube channels. In 2018 the international society highly appreciated the 31 Channel’s anchor project – a new studio where the “Informburo” news programme is filmed. It was a joint project implemented by DIAS, Acis Distribution and Polymedia companies, thanks to which the 31 Channel became a laureate of the TKT Awards International 2018. Projects from 15 countries were traditionally presented for the award. This is not the only evidence of the international recognition of the TV channel which is a part of media assets of businessman Bulat Utemuratov. The businessman has an international partner in the 31 Channel – Russian company CTC Media which entered into exclusive agreements for purchase of licensing rights for on the air movie broadcasting with international giants Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and The Walt Disney Company CIS. Large-scale talent show of the 31 Channel “I’m singer” is broadcasted in six countries with the total coverage of the audience of 200 million viewers.
Pictured: new studio of “Informburo”
Besides, the 31 Channel was about to have important personnel reshuffle. A new Director General of the company was announced at the end of 2018. It was Yury Brodsky. Previously he worked as Director of the Non-News Broadcasting Directorate at the RTVI TV channel, the CTC Channel Prime Broadcasting Directorate and General Producer at the 31 Channel. Brodsky led on the launch of such highly rated Kazakhstani projects as the “House-Scales” reality show and the “Narxoz” sitcom.

“Future business leaders”: how Bulat Utemuratov’s scholarship supports talented youth of Kazakhstan

In 2016 Kazakhstani high school students for the first time heard of the large-scale Republican competition Narxoz Challenge. It covered all cities and regions of our country. 105 winners of this completion got an opportunity to study at the Narxoz University. “In 2016 a scholarship programme funded by JSC Verny Capital jointly with ForteBank through involvement of Bulat Utemuratov was announced. Each of the companies allocated 50 grants for talented applicants, and 5 grants were given by Bulat Utemuratov personally for those who won the first five awards,” says Victoriya Tsai, Vice Rector for Strategic Development and International Relations, Narxoz University. “To find deserving candidates, we, for the third year now, have been holding the Narxoz Challenge competition in various cities of Kazakhstan. For this period of time the number of participants has increased from 4,200 to 7,000. The first stage – an IQ test – includes questions in mathematics and logics. This test is passed by 10-12% of the total number of participants.”   Bulat Utemuratov’s personal scholarships “Future Business Leaders”, in addition to 100 per cent coverage of expenses for education, provide 10 to 50% social discounts to students. “After the IQ test, we passed the UNT, its results were also taken into consideration, and then it was necessary to make a video essay and to publish it on YouTube. There were two topics to choose from: “A person who inspires you” and “About myself”. I chose the second topic. The video was made by myself – I started learning editing at that time,” says Madina Shompanova, holder of the personal scholarship “Future Business Leaders” and the third course student at the Narxoz University. The determining factors for the allocation of scholarships, in Madina’s words, were the IQ test results, the UNT score and the depth and virality of the video essay published on the YouTube social media. The best ten candidates were also to have an interview with the University management and ForteBank and Verny Capital representatives. Bulat Utemuratov’s scholarship holders are required to observe two conditions. First, they need to keep up high academic performance: the average grade must be not lower than 3.5 out of the 4 greatest possible. The other condition of the scholarship is an active student life: participation in student initiatives and even promotion of own ideas and projects. According to Temirlan Zhaksylyk, one more scholar, “there are almost no differences in studies, but the grant motivates you to be pro-active and not just be a burden for your parents and wait that the life itself would give you something.” The grant advantages include such things important for students as free accommodation at the University residence hall and the monthly stipend in the amount of 60,000 tenge. The grant also covers expenses for participation in summer international programmes. “Having completed the first year we went to the Coventry University in the UK and spent several weeks there studying business English. It was my first trip to the West, to an English-speaking country,” says Madina Shompanova. After the second year the scholars have salaried practical training in one of the companies of the Verny Capital holding in accordance with their speciality and sphere of interest. Madina had her practical training in the editorial office of the information and analysis website, and Temirlan – in the non-air promo department at the 31 Channel. Both scholars study marketing as their major, but it was not at once that they came to this. Madina studied biology in her first year, and Temirlan – information technologies. One rarely gets to make the right choice at once, but the scholarship rules allow for changing the majors – the important thing here is to demonstrate academic achievements. “I am currently in my third year studying marketing as the major. But originally I studied IT. I chose the technical profession just because my fifth UNT subject was physics, but I always truly liked economics and psychology, and both these sectors of knowledge are united in marketing. Having completed the first semester of my first year, I went to the marketing division of our University, had practical training there, became absolutely clear about my choice being right, and transferred in my second year,” Temirlan Zhaksylyk told. Mentors out of the top management of the Narxoz University help scholars to take decisions on their professional development and personal growth. Madina’s and Temirlan’s mentor originally was Krzysztof Rybiński who has been holding the Rector’s position from 2015 up to 2018 when he was replaced by Andrew Wachtel. The latter became the new mentor of the scholars. Besides, the initiators of the scholarship programme arrange meetings of participants with philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. “He listens very attentively to our comments on the work of the University: what we like and what – don’t. Last time we said that we would like the University to upgrade the equipment in the maths room – it’s a room where we take our exams. Now everything is brand new there,” says Madina Shompanova.

“Zhomart Zhurek” and “Altyn Zhurek”: Why was Bulat Utemuratov chosen the benefactor of the year?

At the end of 2018 Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov received several awards at once for his contribution to the charity culture of the country and philanthropic projects which he was implementing through his personal charitable foundation. He was named as the “Benefactor of the Year» according to the rating of the national public award “Altyn Zhurek” (“Gold Heart”) which has been held for 12 years now. This award rested on the charitable initiatives of the businessman – just as ambitious as his entrepreneurship projects. The largest of them are: “Autism. One world for all” project; annual charity festival Burabike to support equipping of children’s medical institutions; support of the Batyrkhan Shukenov Foundation, the ARDI Association of Parents of Children with ICP, Aruzhan Sain’s DOM Foundation, the VitAlem Coalition of Active and Healthy Longevity, the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan; reconstruction of the Central Botanical Garden in Almaty. In 2018, within the “Rukhani Zhangyru” (“Spiritual Enlightenment”) programme implemented in Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Public Development established the “Zhomart Zhurek” (“Generous Heart”) award to popularise the culture of charity in the country among entrepreneurs, philanthropists, NGOs and volunteers. The organisers are striving to first of all involve benefactors in solving social problems at the regional level. At the end of 2018, the first “Zhomart Zhurek” award was given out in the West Kazakhstan Oblast, in the “From Heart to Heart” nomination, for opening the Assyl Miras Autism Centre in Uralsk. The Centre’s highly-skilled professionals diagnose and render timely assistance to children with the autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) within the frameworks of the “Autism. One world for all” project by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation using the most advanced, well-proven Western techniques and practices. In total, over 12.5 million dollars were allocated for the project where timely assistance was rendered to over 5,000 Kazakhstani children with ASD and their families. Overall, 6 Assyl Miras Autism Centres were opened in the country – in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kzylorda, Aktobe and Uralsk. Three more are coming in 2019 – in Shymkent, Pavlodar and Petropavlovsk. In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov was awarded “Zhomart Zhurek” in the East Kazakhstan Oblast too. Award in the “Zhyl Tulgasy” (“Person of the Year”) nomination symbolized gratitude of the oblast for the assistance rendered by the philanthropist to people through large charity projects. In particular, in 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, in cooperation with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan, implemented the “Aid Card” project to provide monetary targeted assistance to people affected by floods in the East Kazakhstan Oblast. ForteBank “Aid Cards” were given to inhabitants of 20 localities including Semey, Ayagoz, Zyryanoskiy District – in total 863 families have got 81.7 million tenge transferred to these cards. In December of the same year Bulat Utemuratov was again nominated for the “Zhomart Zhurek” award, but now at the national level and in the “Zhyl Tulgasy” nomination. Winners were selected through open voting on the website with 625,000 people taking part in this voting. Bakhytbek Smagul, member of Majilis, handed the heart-shaped statuette over to the director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation during the solemn award ceremony held in the capital. “Zhyl Tulgasy” nomination, in which Bulat Utemuratov won, is intended for benefactors with an active civil position who carry out large-scale charitable activities in various fields.
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