Coming to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is located in the center of the Asian continent, and its ethnic and territorial composition reflects the continent’s diversity. Populated by representatives of over 130 different ethnic groups, the country boasts all kinds of natural scenery, from steppes to mountains and from lakes to deserts.
Kazakhstan is a land of steppes and nomads, the land through which the Great Silk Road passed, a land where cultures have mingled and interacted for centuries. Whether you are coming for a short visit or a longer stay, it is impossible not to be touched by Kazakhstan, its nature, its peoples and their cultures. If you fly into Almaty during daylight hours, you can’t help but be struck by the city’s dramatic setting. Located where the steppes meet the mountains, Almaty is enclosed by the snow-capped Tian Shan range to the South and to the North faces a vast plain that stretches all the way to Siberia. Nearby there are deep river gorges, lakes and hills crowned with apple orchards. This diversity of geography is representative of Kazakhstan as a whole. The country is as big as Western Europe, or half of the continental United States. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia in the North, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the South, China in the East, and Turkmenistan in the West. Given its geographic size, it should come as no surprise to find that Kazakhstan, with a population of over 16 million, is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Although it was a nomadic region for centuries, around 60% of Kazakhstan’s people now live in urban areas, with about 1.3 million living in Almaty alone.
Kazakhstan is home to significant numbers of ethnic Germans, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tatars, Belorussians, Uighurs and Koreans. The two largest ethnic groups, however, are Kazakhs and Russians. Kazakhs are a mix of Turkic and Mongol descent; they speak a Turkic language and are mostly Sunni Muslims. They have a lively traditional culture which includes colorful ethnic dress and a range of festivals, the most important of which is Nauryz (the Kazakh New Year). Russians are Slavic in origin and are for the most part Orthodox Christians. Kazakhstan is a secular state that promotes ethic and religious diversity and tolerance; freedom for people of all religions to believe and practice their faith is one of the key provisions made in the Constitution.
Today, Kazakhstan is beginning to reveal its economic potential. Market reforms have allowed the country to grow into a leading position within the CIS in economic terms. However, this rapid economic growth is still largely based on natural resources, which the country has in abundance. Kazakhstan is still a major recipient of FDI; most of this goes to the oil and gas industry. Only a few years after independence, Kazakhstan is already fast developing a cohesive national identity, expanding the development of the country’s vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers. Education and the training of specialists who will be able to work effectively in conditions of harsh international competition are among the key factors facilitating economic growth and
KIMEP was founded as an institute to educate specialists along international lines and give the
m experience and understanding of how to work in the international environment. Today KIMEP is the leading provider of modern business education to North American standards in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.