My first contact with Kazakhstan was more than two years ago and during this time I had countless opportunities to visit this beautiful country, every time having the privilege of meeting wonderful people who proved to be extremely hospitable and opened to foreigners.
The country’s geographical surface is 10 times the one of Romania even though we have almost the same number of inhabitants. Kazakhstan means not only the natural riches or the steppe, but also a great heritage left to humanity, from the origin of the simple apple, until the space flights launched from Baikonur.
One of the things that fascinated me about Kazakhstan is the fact that there are numerous natural resources such as gas, coal, copper, iron, natural gas, gold, zinc that are being exploited in an efficient manner so as to ensure the country’s continuous industrial development. Kazakhstan is considered to be one of the largest uranium producers in the world. The Asian state owns 12% of global reserves and 36% of global production. If oil and uranium are seen as some of the things that the country has to offer to the world, there are surprises. For example, I think few people know that officially in Kazakhstan there is a community of 20.000 Romanians. Unofficially this number seems to be even higher, somewhere around 40.000.
One dear memory that I have about Kazakhstan is when I attended a show performed by the Romanians living in Karaganda. It was a great pleasure for me to discover such a large community of Romanians, who are managing to keep our national traditions so well in a country so far from our own.
During my travels to Kazakhstan, I had the opportunity to visit the capital city, Astana, which was a great experience. I consider this an excellent example of how a city can be modernized and grow exponentially while combining traditional Asian architecture with modern influences. I managed to visit the theatre, the opera, exquisite monuments and I had the chance to see, briefly, how real-estate projects are managed in Kazakhstan. Everything is done with careful planning and nothing is left to chance. One thing that comes to my mind is seeing unused parking places, that were there for the future real-estate projects that will be built.
The height of my visit was seeing the location where the “ASTANA – EXPO 2017” was held. Being an electrical engineer, with a technical professional background of many years, it was especially appealing to me to see an International Exposition, of such a magnitude that was aimed at creating a space for holding global debates between private companies, non-profit organizations and government institutions on the subject of “Future Energy”. This is a sensitive topic discussed world-wide and it was a great pleasure to see that a country such as Kazakhstan took the first steps in creating an area suitable for international organizations to discuss different issues and find common applicable solutions. This proves yet again that Kazakhstan’s intention is aimed at having a sustainable initiative regarding the country’s development and will hold a leading position in many areas, especially identifying innovative and practical solutions in the field of green energy.
It is a great honor for me to be appointed Honorary Consul for the Republic of Kazakhstan. I am very grateful of the trust laid in my experience and professional background.
The opening ceremony of the Honorary Consulate was attended by representatives from all Government institutions, some of the most important figures in the private business sector, but in the same time important cultural and sports figures. While organizing the opening ceremony I had the chance to meet several students from Kazakhstan who are studying at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. Even though they are in a foreign country, they were all more than happy to help with organizing the opening ceremony, showing once again the hospitality and friendliness of the Kazakh people.
It was a great pleasure for me to organize together with the opening ceremony of the Honorary Consulate, the First Kazakh Film Festival, which was held at Cinema Victoria. Having the support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan we managed to give Romanian viewers an opportunity to taste the history and culture of the Kazakh people while celebrating 25 years of Romanian-Kazakh partnership. At the Gala-opening of the festival, the final part of the epic “A Leader’s Way” – “So the stars aligned” was screened and during the following days, films such as “Kazakh Khanate: Diamond Sword”, “Gift to Stalin”, “Nomad”, “The old man” were shown. We had the pleasure to have as a special guest, during the days of the Film Festival, Ms. Ingkar Abdirash, who starred in the film “Kazakh Khanate: Diamond Sword”.
Next to the Official Delegation from the Embassy of Kazakhstan we had with us an Official Delegation from the city of Karaganda, considered to be one of the largest industrial, scientific and cultural centers of the country. Since the city has the largest community of Romanians living in Kazakhstan, the Cluj-Napoca City-Hall was opened to signing an agreement for twining the relations between the two cities. As Honorary Consul, I will focus on improving the relations between Romania and Kazakhstan, especially since this country has an immense development potential and we are in a position in which we can grow outside our borders implementing projects from different fields of activity.
Next to the business opportunities that Kazakhstan has to offer, there is a lot of interest expressed by both countries to implement business-related joint projects, but also to establish relations in areas such as culture, sports and education. One example of a successful collaboration was the participation of Florin Estefan, the General Director of the Cluj-Napoca Opera, who attended together with Mr. Cristian Mogoșan, the VIIth edition of the DocStar International Opera Festival held in Kazakhstan.
I believe that we can learn from each other a great deal, something that will be mutually beneficial for both our countries.
This is one of the first steps taken towards the implementation of projects between the two regions. All the government institutions, but also Babes-Bolyai University, one of the major universities in Cluj-Napoca expressed their interest to establishing projects that will enhance the business, cultural and academic collaborations.
During the days in which we had in Cluj the two Official Delegations from the Kazakhstan Embassy and Karaganda, we managed to have several fruitful meetings with the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, City Hall representatives, one of the largest IT Clusters in Cluj but also with the most important business representatives from our city, who all were opened to the wide range of collaboration opportunities that can be established from now on.
I believe that the first meetings that we had during these days, between representatives from both countries are in line with the new development strategies established by the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, that emphasizes competitiveness, pragmatism, preserving the national identity, the cult of knowledge, an evolutionist development and an open attitude.