"Qurultay" means a congress, a meeting. This concept became widespread in the era of the Middle Ages, when the scattered nomadic tribes were united. Gradually Qurultay took an important place in the socio-political life of Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples.
With gaining independence before the Kazakhs who lived abroad, there was a real opportunity to return to their historical homeland - Independent Kazakhstan. In the spring of 1992, preparations for an important event began. August 27, 1992, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers "On the preparation and holding of the World Congress of Kazakhs" was adopted.
The meeting took on a broad state scale - all Kazakhstani people provided assistance in the organization, public and commercial organizations actively participated in the organization of the event.
Special for the event, a rich cultural program was developed. Guests from Turkey, Mongolia, Iran, the USA, Germany, Australia, and China came to the Qurultay. A total of more than 600 delegates from 30 countries took part in it.
N. Nazarbayev was elected chairman of the Congress, and the deputy chairman was a well-known public figure and writer Kaldarbek Naimanbayev.
During the meeting, scientific and practical conferences took place, in which Kazakhstanis and foreign guests took part. Documents were developed and adopted on the social protection of Kazakhs in the event of their return to their historical homeland.
Within the framework of the Qurultay, trips were made to the sacred places of Kazakhstan: in Turkestan they visited the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi, visited the sacred Ulytau, and the holy places of Zhambyl region.
But the main event was undoubtedly the solemn meeting held on September, 30 in the Palace of the Republic. The meeting was opened by the Chairman of the World Community of Kazakhs N.A. Nazarbayev. In his speech, the President stated that the direct duty of the country is to provide favorable conditions for the life of all Kazakhs, including abroad.
The result of the Qurultay was the creation of the World Association of Kazakhs, which contributed to the preservation of historical and cultural ties among representatives of one people.
Since 1992, five International Qurultays of Kazakhs have passed.
II International Qurultay of Kazakhs was held in October, 2002 in Turkestan. By this time about 200 thousand Kazakhs returned to Kazakhstan.
Three years later, in 2005, the third Qurultay of Kazakhs was held in Astana. The solemn part was held in the new Government House. Here was elected chairman of the presidium of the World Association of Kazakhs and his deputy. Nursultan Nazarbayev was re-elected unanimously by open vote, and Talgat Mamashev became his deputy.
IV Qurultay was held in the Palace of Independence in 2011. 660 delegates took part in it, among them there were representatives of creative, scientific and pedagogical intelligentsia, business, sports, state and public organizations, mass media.
V International Qurultay of Kazakhs was held in June, 2017. Representatives from 40 countries came to participate in it. At the meeting, the President of Kazakhstan announced plans to create a fund "Otandastar", which should facilitate the procedure for the return of Kazakhs to their historical homeland. Also they addressed the issue of the actual topic - transition of the state language from Cyrillic to Latin. Nazarbayev urged not to delay the change in Kazakh graphics.
Qurultay is of great importance for our country and all the Kazakhs of the whole world. The main purpose of these congresses is to restore the demographic balance in the republic, maintain historical and cultural ties with the representatives of the indigenous nationality, ensure a favorable environment for the life of Kazakhs here and abroad, and attract immigrants and their descendants to their historical homeland. Qurultay gives positive results: better conditions are being developed for repatriates, Qurultays have been held abroad even in countries with a small share of Kazakhs' living, the national self-consciousness of the Kazakh people is growing.
Translated by Raushan MAKHMETZHANOVA