Cornelia Pieper, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, leaves today (31 January) on a four-day trip to Kazakhstan. On Wednesday (3 February) she will inaugurate in Astana the Year of Germany in Kazakhstan 2010, a series of events that will kick off with a concert by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
The Year of Germany in Kazakhstan 2010 follows on from the Year of Kazakhstan in Germany 2009. Both programmes are a joint initiative of Federal President Köhler and President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, who also serve as patrons.
Over the months ahead the Year of Germany in Kazakhstan 2010 will seek to build new bridges between the two countries and provide insights into all aspects of life in contemporary Germany. Besides culture and the arts, the programme organized by Germany’s missions in Kazakhstan and the Goethe-Institut Almaty will focus on environmental and climate issues, education and society. The German-Kazakh University in Almaty and Kazakhstan’s German minority will also feature prominently.
The first leg of Minister of State Pieper’s trip will take her to Almaty, the former capital, where she will visit the German-Kazakh University and meet representatives of German business and cultural organizations as well as members of the Opposition in Kazakhstan.
In Astana she will hold talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Zhigalov, Speaker of the Kazakh Parliament Ural Muchamedshanow, Economic Affairs Minister Bachyt Sultanow and Culture and Information Minister Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed. In 2010 Kazakhstan assumed the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the first time a Central Asian country has taken on this role.