In this issue
Today, we offer our readers three stories on what the people in and around Kazakhstan do to make Kazakhstan better known in America and bring our peoples closer. These stories are also telling about how different people in Kazakhstan and in the United States react to the upcoming movie “Borat”.
Take that, Borat: Sayat Announces Tours to ‘Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ Fashion Designers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Show Their Best in DC 4,000+ American Families with Children Adopted from Kazakhstan Personally Feel Impact of “Borat”
Take that, Borat: Sayat Announces Tours to
‘Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’
Following is an October 31 press release from Sayat Tour, a travel agency in Kazakhstan.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan – Sayat Tour, a leading Kazakh tour operator, announced today several new tours for Americans and others who are willing to travel to Kazakhstan and see for themselves what the real country, not the Borat’s version, is really like.
The tours, called “Kazakhstan vs. Boratistan” and “Jagzhemash!!! See the Real Kazakhstan”, include visits to the cosmopolitan Almaty and its beautiful surroundings, tours of ancient sites such as the Hodja Akhmed Yassaui Mausoleum in Turkestan, as well as plentiful opportunities to meet and interact with the real Kazakhs. In addition to sightseeing, tours also include visits to local colorful bazaars, artifact shops and high fashion boutiques, as well as trying kumyss, the deliciously tasting Kazakh traditional drink made from fermented horse milk.
Marianna Tolekenova, Sayat’s Executive Director, said: “With the release of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, we are hoping many Americans will want to engage in ‘cultural learnings’ of that unknown ‘glorious nation’ for their own ‘make benefit.’ That is why we are launching these new tours and hoping the Americans will come visit us.”
Earlier in October 2006, a high ranking Kazakh official said the creator of Borat, British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, would be welcome in Kazakhstan. First Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhat Aliyev said, “His trip could yield a lot of discoveries -- that women not only travel inside buses but also drive their own cars, that we make wine from grapes, that Jews can freely attend synagogues and so on.”
Sayat Director Inna Ray said, “Sayat has been a major player on the tourism market in Kazakhstan since 1993 providing high quality service and the unforgettable experience to our guests. Our new tours will show the real Kazakhstan, and hopefully bring our peoples closer together.”
Fashion Designers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Uzbekistan Show Their Best in Washington, DC
Following is a November 1 press release from the Central Asian Cultural Exchange
Contact: Ms. Tokjan Balderston, CACE Vice President, 202 319 7850, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC – Some Americans have either never heard of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other ‘stans’ or have a wildly distorted picture of life in these countries thanks to Borat, a fictional movie character created by a British comedian. Yet, life in these countries is so much different from that represented, or rather misrepresented, in the movie.
To show the beauty and reality of true Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian Cultural Exchange (CACE) is pleased to present the Contemporary Central Asian Fashion Design Show in collaboration with the Meridian International Center and the Washington-based embassies of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan. The show will take place at Meridian International Center, 1630 Crescent Place, NW, Washington, DC, on November 9, 2006 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and will be followed by a reception.
The show, which took more than a year to put together, will feature stunning works by some of the trendiest fashion show designers from Central Asia: Saida Azikhan from Kazakhstan, Lola Babayeva from Uzbekistan, and Baktybek Tulparov from Kyrgyzstan.
Tokjan Balderston, CACE Vice President said, “The show is really going to astonish those in America who will see it. The designers’ collections are created for women who have been creative and dynamic, and especially sophisticated educated and modern. They combine a strong Western orientation with an equally strong Asian tradition. This show should make Americans wonder first, and then make them want to explore this fascinating part of the world.”
The colorful and joyful work of Saida Azikhan can be seen in billboards all over Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. Its very subtle Asian nuances represent an emerging trend of Kazakh haute couture. Indeed, Miss Kazakhstan wore an Azikhan dress when she won her crown in October 2006.
Lola Babayeva has shown her collections in eight foreign countries, including the United States. Babayeva uses handmade silk fabrics embroidered with traditional Uzbek designs to create a unique synthesis of antiquity and modernity.
Baktybek Tulparov was named the best couturier of Kyrgyzstan in 2005. His new collection, Eastern Palette, presented by Asal Art Salon, was designed for the contemporary Eastern woman. Made by hand from natural fibers, Tulparov’s creations evoke the nomadic traditions of his people while his designs recall motifs found on traditional Kyrgyz felt work.
In addition to presenting their unique and exquisite Central Asian designs at the Fashion Show, the artists will be conducting a Master class at Marymount University on November 14 with Senior Fashion Design Students.
The collaborating Embassies are sponsoring the artists’ visas and providing the sumptuous traditional Central Asian delicacies that will be served at the reception.
The Central Asian Cultural Exchange (CACE) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to promoting the mutual understanding of the cultural and artistic heritage of contemporary Central Asia through exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs. For more information, see our website at www.cace.us.
Tickets for the show are $40.00. To purchase your ticket(s), please send your check to Richard Dana, Treasurer, CACE, 4600 Chase Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814 no later than November 6, 2006.
Note to Editors: Saida Azikhan will be available for interviews November 6 through 8. Please direct interview requests to Ms. Balderston at the numbers above.
4,000+ American Families with Children Adopted from Kazakhstan Personally Feel Impact of Borat”
Following is a November 1 press release from the Kazakh Aul of the U.S.
PROVIDENCE, RI - Since 1998, American families have adopted more than 4,000 children from Kazakhstan, and the numbers continue to grow. The impending major theatrical release of the movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is already impacting some families in negative ways.
The Kazakh Aul of the U.S., Association for American & Kazakh Families, is a nonprofit organization with members in 27 states. We recognize that Sascha Baron Cohen’s movie is a vehicle for satire and many people - including some of our own members – enjoy his humor. Nonetheless, our members also comprise children who do not yet have the adult skills to understand and separate their young identities from those of the Kazakhstanis who are portrayed by Cohen.
For example, one mother reported that she and her 9-year-old daughter from Kazakhstan recently viewed a television interview with Mr. Cohen as Borat in which he described how one would not want to marry a Kazakh woman because they are ugly, and in the background a scene was panned with peasant women in a very poor village. Another adoptive mother described her children watching an announcer on VH1 segue from a story on Madonna’s recent adoption of an African boy to a story on Borat, saying something along the lines of, “And, now, a country you wouldn’t want to adopt from, Kazakhstan…” The woman’s 7-year-old Kazakh daughter burst into tears.
These two examples demonstrate what Kazakhstan adoptive families in the U.S. are dealing with in response to this movie. Given that the film will live on for years on DVD, its impact upon Kazakh adoptive families, their friends, and their school mates, may be felt for years to come.
We ask that viewers of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” understand that the portrayal of Kazakhs in the movie is not true to life, and to be sensitive to the very real feelings of Kazakh children here in the U.S.
The Kazakh Aul of the United States, Association for American & Kazakh Families, is incorporated in Rhode Island, and our mission includes providing a sense of community for American families with children adopted from Kazakhstan. Through heritage camps & festivals we educate and strive to meet the cultural needs of families.
Things to Watch:
- The Embassy has uploaded on YouTube.com a 30-second TV spot which was aired on ABC and featured in stories on ABC News Nightline, CBS and NPR earlier in September and October. You can watch the spot by clicking here.
News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA and Canada
(Compiled from own sources and agency reports)
Contact person: Roman Vassilenko
1401 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
Tel.: 202 232 5488, ext. 104, Fax: 202 232 5845