The work in the Scientific and Expert Council is meaningful to me, Elmira Suleimenova
Elmira Suleimenova is a member of Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan. She has devoted most of her life to academic activity at university. Elmira Dyusenovna told about her work in the council and shared her plans for the future.
—Could you tell about yourself? How and when did you start your scientific activity?
—For almost 50 years I have been working at al-Farabi Kazakh National University. I have passed all stages of pedagogical and scientific career at my university: in 1969 I came there as a very young Candidate of Philological Sciences and started to work as a senior lecturer, then associate professor; after thesis defense of PhD in 1992 I became a professor. Both dissertations were defended in Moscow: Candidate – at Moscow Linguistic University, PhD – at M.V. Lomonossov Moscow State University.
Being a full-time employee of al-Farabi Kazakh National University, I worked at other universities: in 1984-1987 I studied post-doctoral programme of General Linguistics of M.V. Lomonossov Moscow State University and in 1993-1994 I worked as a professor of School of Slavistics at University of Maryland (USA).
In different years I participated and actively participate in the activities of numerous public and professional organizations, commissions and working groups: expert and member of the Scientific Council of INTAS (1996-2006); member of the Public Council of Base organization on languages and culture of the states-participants of the CIS (2000-2010), one of the developers of the Model law "On languages in the Commonwealth of Independent States"; member of the Commission under the Prime Minister "Memlekettik til sayasatyn odan ari zhetildiru zhonindegi" (2006-2008); Vice-President of IATRL (International Association of Teachers of Russian language and Literature); member of the Scientific Advisory Council of Assembly of people of Kazakhstan (since 2011); member of the working group of MES and SEC APK on concept development and creation of National corpus of the Kazakh language (2013) and other.
At meetings, sessions and conferences of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community, Standing Committee of the IPA CIS on culture, information, tourism and sports, Basic organization for languages and culture of the CIS member states, Scientific and Expert Council of the APK, and others I presented reports and proposals on language policy and harmonization of national legislation, status and prospects of forming the unified post-Soviet educational space with an analysis of the various types of motivation of language learning, on problems of creation of common educational standards in the conditions of reforming of the education system in the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union.
I am involved in editorial work in authoritative international journals: "Russian Language Journal" (USA);"Cuadernos de rusística española" (Spain);"Russian language abroad", "Philological Sciences. High school reports", "Polylingualism and transcultural practices" (Russia) and other.
The main direction of my scientific activity is still general and contrastive linguistics, sociolinguistics, theory and practice of textbooks of the first and second languages. Monitoring of ethnodemographic processes directly related to the language situation in our country, analysis of problems and assessment of the prospects of the ongoing language policy – this is what especially close to my work in the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan.
—What activities are carried out by you in the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan?
—For almost ten years, my scientific work has been closely connected with the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan.
There was general public perception for some time that the activities of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan was focused around “songs and dances”. However, this is not true! The Assembly of people of Kazakhstan is a serious political and scientific institution with a special and high status. It is enough to look at the website of the APK and you can easily see the wide range and variety of responsible and significant scientific projects, international conferences, symposia, meetings and various events that are held by the Scientific and Expert Council and receive a significant response in the Kazakh society.
As a member of the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, I participated in many studies on national policy. Books and dictionaries, among them "Kazakhstan respublikasy memlekettik etnosayasatynyn imperativteri" and "Imperativy gosudarstvennoi etnonatsionalnoi politiki Respubliki Kazakhstan" (2012); "Etnosayasi sozdik. Kazakhstannyn kogamdyk and etnosaralyk toleranttylyk sayasaty zhane praktikasy terminderi men ugymdary" and "Etni-politichesky slovar. Terminy i ponyatiya kazakhstanskoi politiki I praktiki v sfere obschestvennogo soglasiya I mezhetnicheskoi tolerantnosti" (2014), which explained the basic principles and terms of Kazakhstan's ethnic policy were published together with E.L. Togzhanov, A.K. Saduakassova, N.Zh. Shaimerdenova in two languages. I took an active part in the creation and edition of the encyclopedia in the Kazakh and Russian languages: "Kazakhstan khalky" and "Narod Kazakhstana" (2016), where unique materials on the diversity of customs, traditions, cultural and spiritual values of the united people of our country, reflecting the role of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan as the organizer of many initiatives that strengthen the unity of the people and consent in the Kazakh society were collected and systematized.
During several years we carry out the work on the collection and analysis of new materials on the theme "Yazyk kak myagkaya sila", the main geopolitical factors of influence interested in the use of soft power of the language in Kazakhstan, its main components and tools are considered. It is proposed to qualify the language not only as a tool of soft power, but much wider, as its most important and universal resource with inexhaustible and unique capabilities. One part of this work is the analysis of the activities of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan and its qualification as a soft power.
The theme of the soft power is very interesting and it is on the agenda of many countries. Therefore, a large audience of students and teachers at al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Almaty), Russian University of Friendship of People (Moscow), Pavlodar State Pedagogical University (Pavlodar), South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical University (Shymkent) pay attention to it. At the moment, the page making of the second edition of the monograph "Yazyk kak myagkaya sila" has been prepared, which presents a diverse panorama of the use of language as the most important resource of soft power in many spheres of life of modern Kazakhstan society, also the multilateral activities of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan is represented as one of the strongest and most authoritative internal factors of the influence of soft power.
It was decided to support systematically the creation of the national corpus of the Kazakh language at the extensive meeting of the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan on 20 September 2013 under the chairmanship of M. Tazhin (Secretary of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan at that time) in relation of the new tasks of scientific and expert work of state agencies, Scientific and Expert Council of the APK in the context of the Strategy "Kazakhstan-2050", the concept of development of the APK until 2020, the idea of creating a national corpus of the Kazakh language and its Concept have been developed by me for several years, numerous articles have been published, presentations have been made at various forums, training seminars and master classes have been organized and conducted. At the moment, the work on the creation of the national corpus of the Kazakh language, which remained on the agenda of the SEC is part of the work of the National Scientific Council on the priority "Intellectual potential of the country" and is actively carried out at A. Baiturssynov Institute of Linguistics.
—What projects will you participate within the framework of SEC?
—Answering your question about the activities in the Scientific and Expert Council of the APK, I did not name one of the most interesting and resonant directions – these are the seasons of activities of the Framework Symposium "Era and Personality" that has been taking place since 2014 in the cities of Kazakhstan and abroad, the idea and conduction of which would be impossible without the creative energy and inspiration of a member of the Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan professor N.Zh. Shaimerdenova.
Seasons of events "Era and personality" are united by one theme and aimed at increasing of the socio-cultural significance of the work of famous scientists, cultural workers and artists of the Republic of Kazakhstan, whose activities are considered in the context of historical and cultural development of the state, implementation of the programme "Ruhani zhangyru", developed on the basis of the provisions of article N.A. Nazarbayev "Course towards the future: modernization of public consciousness". Any of the activities of the NES project "Era and personality" are important for me and I will be happy to work within its framework in the future.
Of course, I also hope to continue the work on the study of ethnic and linguistic processes in the country and to determine the prospects of language planning, including from the standpoint of Kazakhstan's model of social consent and national unity.
—What does the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan mean to you?
—Of course, participation in the work of the Scientific Expert Council of such an authoritative and recognized organization in the world as the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan is very important for me. In addition, I believe that I have been trusted and I am aware of the responsibility of my work in all activities of the SEC APK. Finally, the activity in the Scientific and Expert Council brings me satisfaction and pleasure from the fact that I see its necessity and relevance.
—What do you think about the Kazakhstan model of public accord and national unity?
—The work on the National analytical review devoted to the Kazakhstan model of public accord and unity for the 25th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, published by Scientific and Expert Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan in 2016 has taken a special place. I wrote the sections "Diversity of ethnoses and languages – a resource for creating a single society" and "Language policy and integration of Kazakhstan society". I would like to repeat some points from the book that directly answer your question from the point of view of the language policy implemented in the country, aimed at preserving social harmony, the integration of Kazakhstan's society and the creation of national unity.
Demographic processes of the last decades have fundamentally reshaped the ethnic and linguistic landscape of Kazakhstan, continue to have a strong impact on language processes (language choice, pressure on language transmission and other), change the results of identification processes (civil, ethnic, linguistic and other) and accordingly, resulted in the effectiveness of the integration of Kazakhstan's society.
Kazakhstan seeks to implement purposefully its integration and promote the cohesion of various linguistic communities by implementing policies aimed at both the linguistic majority and the linguistic minority and ensuring their full participation in the social, cultural and religious spheres of life of Kazakhstan's society.
Language policy and all its activities are the organizational basis for solving the problems of functioning and development of languages, creating conditions for the implementation of the principles based on the understanding of the state language as an important consolidating element of political, economic and cultural life of the country and ensuring the national integrity and national security of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is quite optimistic and can serve as an example of a country that implements various and to a certain extent, very effective efforts, protecting the linguistic rights of citizens, promoting and supporting linguistic diversity and ensuring the promotion of the state language as a necessary and essential tool for the integration of a multilingual society from the point of view of support and preservation of multilingualism. Mobilization of national consciousness and self-consciousness, strengthening of conscious motivation to study the Kazakh language is carried out successfully. The full functioning of the state language is the most important factor in strengthening public accord and national unity while preserving the languages of all ethnoses living in Kazakhstan. This process is based on the recognition of common democratic values, patriotism, equal participation of all citizens of Kazakhstan in the political, economic and social life of the country.