Rukhani Zhangyru: a program where modernization celebrates tradition


We live in the world of global corporations and enhanced communication technologies, where various tech advances have played a role in making the world a smaller place. It opens a wide array of opportunities for economies and businesses, but it also poses a challenge for cultures and traditions. It raises a question of how nations can preserve their cultures while adapting to the changing environment and benefiting from it.

Fully cognizant of these challenges, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed a strategic program aimed at modernizing Kazakhstan’s national identity. In April 2017, he launched the Rukhani Zhangyru program (Modernization of National Identity). This initiative complements the already existing processes of political and economic modernization in Kazakhstan and will become the cornerstone of major reforms in Kazakhstan.

The Rukhani Zhangyru program consists of six components:

  1. Tugan Zher is a project that seeks to strengthen the ties of Kazakh citizens with their homeland. It aims to cultivate a feeling of belonging and a special attitude towards the Kazakh heritage.
  2. Sacred Geography of Kazakhstan aims to raise awareness of unique cultural and historical attractions that exude the nation’s rich history and identity. The spiritual shrines of Kazakhstan include the mausoleums of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and Arystan Baba in Turkestan, ancient monuments of Taraz, the Beket-Ata Underground mosque and many more.
  3. Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Sport to introduce the global community to the modern Kazakh culture. A selection of Kazakh novels and books will be translated to the six official languages of the United Nations. Also, exhibitions of Kazakh art and theater performances will be held all over the world.
  4. 100 New Books is a project that will help to improve the quality of education in Kazakh. It proposes to select 100 world’s best textbooks on history, political science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, etc. and translate them into Kazakh. The first result of this program is expected as early as 5-6 years after books become available to Kazakh students.
  5. **100 New Faces **will showcase individual stories of 100 Kazakh citizens that succeeded professionally. These stories will serve as examples to others and will help reveal how the country has transformed in recent decades.
  6. Switch to the Latin Alphabet will help open new opportunities for Kazakh and foreign investors in business, science and education. Kazakhstan plans to introduce the new alphabet by 2025. This comprehensive initiative is crucial for Kazakhstan’s development. It will enable the country to preserve its cultural legacy and identity while keeping pace with modernity and technological advances. The trailblazing program will help Kazakhstan forge a unique way forward, where tradition blends with modernity, and national customs remain intact.

Sources: mfa.gov.kz, astanatimes.com, ruh.kz