Igor Berg: We are united by House of Friendship, where we create common world of concord
More than 130 ethnic minors live in our country in peace and concord. They came to the territory of Kazakhstan due to various circumstances. Today, each of them makes its own contribution to the development of the common home - the Republic of Kazakhstan. And one of the ethnoses contributing to the establishment of international relations are the Germans.
Thanks to the wise and far-sighted policy of Elbasy, all conditions have been created in our state for each ethnic minors to study their native language, culture and history. So the public association "Community of Germans of Kazakhstan" is a kind of bridge of friendship of two countries - Kazakhstan and Germany.
Igor Berg, Chairman of "Association of Germans "Wiedergeburt" in Astana and Akmola region, told about the work of the cultural center, as well as the role of society in the preservation of peace and concord in the country.
—Could you tell us about yourself?
—I have been the head of Public Association "Association of Germans "Revival" in Astana and Akmola region. And this is my life! Of course, I have my beloved family, and the association has become, in fact, my second beloved home. My ancestors, as well as many Germans living in Kazakhstan, were not deported to Kazakhstan by their own will. In my opinion, it is my duty to remember and honor the traditions of my ancestors, to know my roots. I chose this way to help ethnic Germans and all those who are interested in our culture, traditions and language. Every member of our Society is a member of our great friendly family!
—You are head of "Association of Germans "Wiedergeburt". What activities are held in the Center? What events are organized? What holidays are celebrated?
—The doors of our cultural centre are open to all. For everyone who is interested in the culture, traditions and customs of the German people, who is passionate about the German language, who wants to spend time learning something new and interesting. We have no age limits, everyone can find something to do. Today there are various clubs: "Basteln" is a handicraft workshop, a vocal choral circle, a family club – for those of all ages. "Kreativerklub" – for children of 7-13 years old, "Wunderkind" Center – for children from 4 to 6 years old, there is a Sunday school for children from 7 to 14 years old, as well as a school for primary school children, youth club "Diamant", Choreography and a theatre studio for young people aged 14 to 30, a vocal choral circle for seniors, everyone knows our famous team "SpatteBlumen" and recently we have organized a computer literacy circle for the older generation.
We hold various events, workshops and master classes, academies, linguistic camps and platforms with ethno-components. We celebrate national German holidays: "Fasching" carnival, "Osretn" - Easter, "Octoberfest" - a well-known holiday, "Weihnachten" - Magical Christmas, and of course, we honor the memory on Victory Day, Deportation Day, celebrate our beloved Nauryz, the Day of Unity of the People of Kazakhstan and many other holidays.
—Could you tell us about the international cooperation of "Wiedergeburt"?
—The most important task of "Wiedergeburt" centre is preservation of national identity, native language and cultural heritage of our ancestors. It is very important to be kept as an ethnos of Germans of Kazakhstan. For this purpose various programs are carried out, as well as the portal http://wiedergeburt.kz/ which unites all Germans and supports in different spheres of activity is created, the programs which open prospects for youth and development of business, the social help are developed, we give possibility of free studying of German language.
—Germans are known for their love of order, accuracy, organization and hard work. Have these features survived among the Kazakh representatives of the German ethnos?
—Thank you, you have noticed the qualities inherent in our people very clearly, of course, they have been preserved by the Kazakh representatives of the German ethnos, but also supplemented by the qualities of our Kazakh people, such as hospitality.
—As it is known, there are many different educational programs established by German foundations and embassies. How real is it for a Kazakhstani to receive a scholarship to study in Germany? Are there any successful examples among your Sunday school students?
—Everything is possible, if you have a desire, and there are many opportunities now. To date, there are many programs that can also be found on our website.
Many students, graduates of Sunday school, youth club received a ticket to life, received a good education, a decent job. There are those who have studied in Russia, Germany, there are people who have returned to Astana after graduating from universities and continue to work in our organization.
—German language courses are often attended by representatives of other ethnic minors. What do you connect the popularity of the German language with?
—It's no secret that many Kazakhstani Germans learn the language to migrate to Germany to reunite their families, someone goes to their historical homeland, but there are also people who study the language at the call of the heart among the participants of the German language courses. People of different ethnicities and nationalities study the language. You probably know German people who have made an integral contribution to the world heritage of science, inventions, culture, music, medicine, cinema, sports and other spheres. So, many people want to read and know their works in the original, listen, read, understand speech. German is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and most of Europe is open with knowledge of German. And, of course, one more fact is that German is taught very interestingly in our society - each generation has its own approach to it!
—What is the role of the cultural centre in the preservation of peace and concord in the country?
—We live in a multi-ethnic state where more than 100 nationalities live in peace and concord. Each ethnic minor has the right to study its own language, to create community groups where the history, customs and traditions of its ancestors are passed down from generation to generation, and to write our common history of the Kazakh people. The strength of the people is in unity, in cohesion. We have already become famous as a state in which many nationalities live under one shanyrak in peace and friendship - and this is our strength! And cultural centers help not to lose identity, not to lose language skills, not to lose traditions and customs of that people to which the person belongs. Thanks to the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, we are united by our House of Friendship, in which together we create our common world of friendship and concord!
—What do you consider your main achievement?
—My children are wonderful and I am proud of them.