Previous teams -
So you may ask: Where did it all begin? How was KazSociety born?
It all started at LSE in October 2002. LSE students Adil Shakirov (Bsc Economics 2004), together with Aliya Maulesheva (Bsc Geography and Economics 2004), Elvira Mami (Bsc Economics 2003) and Zhanara Rahmet(Bsc Government and Economics 2004), have started a first ever Kazakhsociety, registering it at LSE as a student society “Kazakh Society”.However, the four founders and many students have affectionatelyreferred to the society as “KazSociety”, and soon the name has caughton and was on the lips of many excited Kazakhstani students across theUK. The mission was promotion of Kazakh culture in the UK, andproviding support and events to Kazakhstani students in UK. This smallgroup were the only Kazakhstani students in LSE, and we have them tothank for giving birth to the society we are proud to serve.
Adil Shakirov describes the initial phase as frantic: «We designedthe logos in 2 days, and spent some time in the printing office inorder to print business cards for our members. We also scrambled tofind enough signatures from members in order to register our society atLSE, and to find sponsorship. We approached Mittal, a large miningcompany active in Kazakhstan, but without success. However, in the endwe secured the LSE registration and received funds from LSE. Weovercame the difficulties, and started things rolling»
The first events came soon after the creation, with help of UCLstudent Aldiyar Balzhanov. At LSE, the Adil, Aliya, Elvira and Zhanarahave promoted Kazakh national cuisine at an LSE student society event.Each of the four officers of KazSociety has cooked whatever they could,and were proud to display Kazakh food delicasies to enthusiasticstudents and staff at LSE.
The Embassy of Kazakhstan in United Kingdom, headed by Mr ErlanIdrissov, was a powerful and supportive force in the creation andgrowth of KazSociety. Mr Idrissov has for years provided advice and
support to KazSociety. He hosted regular meetings at the Embassy withstudents. KazSociety, in turn has strived to assist the Embassy in anyway possible, and has helped organise the World Travel Market at theExcel centres in 2002 and 2003, promoting Kazakh culture with nationalcostumes and music. With the help of the embassy, KazSociety has hostedfamous musician Asylbek Ensepov at LSE’s old theatre, resulting in asuccessful event promoting Kazakh culture and attracting students. Overthe years, Batyrhan Shukenov, Ulitau and Orda have all also performedfor KazSociety, and KazSociety hosted free film evenings withdistinguished director Serik Aprimov displaying his film «ThreeBrothers» at LSE’s St Clemens theatre, and KazSociety has also hostedfilm «Abai».
The organization grew quickly, attracting hundreds of students toentertainment events at the now defunct ‘Tokyo Joe’s’ nightclub, andthe ‘Millenium’ Nightclub. Adil describes the planning and organizationof these events as «difficult» and «exciting», but he was overjoyed bythe positive energy and support the students have provided each other,and the enthusiasm with which these events were met by the students.
Even though the four founders have registed KazSociety as an LSEstudent society, they were conscious of the need to expand theactivities beyond LSE and think big. The society needed to promoteKazakhstan not only in London but across the whole of UK, and hostevents for Kazakhstani students all across the country. In 2003,KazSociety has affiliated itself with ‘KazAKT’, an informal group ofKazakh students from other universities who could not become members ofthe KazSociety because they were not students of LSE, due to LSE unionregulations. KazAKT was headed by Aldiyar Balzhanov (UCL BSc SSEES2004), Baurzhan Sauranbekov and Bakhtiyar Balzhanov. Aldiyar Balzhanovhas played a very important role in KazSociety’s activities in 2003,and has supported KazSociety in many ways.
A New Level
The relentless passing of time has meant that the roster ofKazSociety was updated each year. By September 2004, the originalsuper-4 founding team has graduated, and new people have put themselvesforward, keen to keep KazSociety going. And in the following 5 years,the wheel of time kept turning, and the team kept growing and changing:
2004/05 and 2005/06, team: Yermek Zhanassov (LSE BSc EconomicHistory 2006), Karima Akayeva (LSE BSc Economics 2006), AskarBiskultanov (UCL BSc Economics 2006), Aldiyar Balzhanov (UCL SSEES2006), Vadim Lyu, Arthur Abdulin, Zhanbolat Kakishev (Beng King's College London 2008), External Affairs Officer (2005 - 2008)
2006/07 team: Adina Almas (LSE 2009 International Relations), AdilAlshimbaev (LSE 2009 Mathematics), Temujin Nukenov (Cass BusinessSchool BSc Business 2009), Elnar Adaibekov (KCL)
2007/08 team: as in 2006/07, + Saltanat Kusherbay (LSE BScManagement 2009), Azhar Safinova (LCF BSc Fashion Management 2009),Eywon Kang (AA Architecture 2011), Meruert Kalieva (UCL BSc History ofArt 2009), Alua Stamkulova (Cass BSc 2008), Nurzhan Marabayev (ICL BSc2009), Zhanar Smailova (UCL BSc Psychology 2009)
2008/09 team: Nurzhan Marabayev (ICL BSc 2009), Bekzhan Safinov(LSE BSc Politics and Economics 2009), Erik Karabayev (UCL BSc EasternEuropean Studies with Economics 2010), Aiganym Murzina (KCL BScEngineering 2010), Arsen Akhatov (LSE LLB Law 2011), Aiym Almas (LSEBSc Management 2011), Katya Hegai (LSE BSc Management 2011) ZhanTemerkhanov (LSS 2009), Aida Tashenova (UCL Bsc Engineering withFinance 2010)
In 2004, under the leadership of new members Yermek Zhanassov andKarima Akayeva, the society was registered across the whole of UK as“Kazakhstan Society in UK”, a non-profit student organization which wasa logical next step for KazSociety. Therefore, KazSociety has entered awhole new level, where it could more effectively serve the needs ofstudents. Thanks to a grant from KazMunaiGas Trade House and technicalsupport by PS Solutions, a new website was launched atwww.kazsociety.org.uk. The launch of the website was a crucialmilestone, allowing to a more efficient organization of events andinteraction with students. Ambassador Erlan Idrissov’s support has alsohelped KazSociety’s reputation to grow, and to invite Grigori Marchenko(Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Central Bank, and also of Halyk Bank) to givea highly-attended and very successful public speech at LSE in 2005,analyzing Kazakhstan’s development in the period of growth of financialmarkets.
So it is clear that what Adil, Aliya, Elvira and Zhanara havestarted back in 2002 just grew and grew and attracted many more membersinto the team since. KazSociety today is different than KazSocietybefore, and it will keep changing each year as members graduate andleave for home and new members arrive, fresh with new ideas. However,we aim to always remember how it all started and keep the spirit offriendship and mutual support which has been at KazSociety since itsinception.
We asked the founder Adil for his recollections on the society:
A good memory:
«I remember the first party not going as smoothly as planned. Ourstudents have waited outside the nightclub in very cold weather. Insidethe club, we didn’t get our hands on the microphone. But once the musicstarted, everyone just started jumping and chanting «Kazakhstan».Despite some problems with organization and planning of the event, thegood energy and excitement of the first ever «Kazakhparty» was there.
Another funny memory is the ‘sumatoha’ in our first week. We had 2days to design a logo and print membership cards for our students, andcreate a stand for the freshers week at LSE. We were scrambling aroundthe printing agency. It was frenetic and fun».
«Asylbek Ensepov performing at LSE Old Theatre after the WorldTravel Market. This was a good musical and cultural Kazakh showcase. Heintroduced the Dombyra to London. We hired people to wear traditionalnational Kazakh clothes, inlcuding the traditional wedding clothes. Itwas a very good feeling to be in the middle of your own culture whilstthousands of miles away abroad».
What do I miss the most:
«I miss my friends from that time. I miss the excitement ofdiscussing the society matters, and working towards uniting students».
«Searching for venues for our events. It was not easy to juggleKazSociety and my studies, but in the end the time spent on KazSocietywas very well worth it».
Why did I go back to Kazakhstan upon graduation:
«I lived abroad for a long time. Before UK, I also spent a longtime in India. I wanted to come home, to my roots. However, I wouldadvise current students to try and get some work experience in the UK;it is very beneficial. However, to our students in UK who areinterested in starting a business I would advise that it may be best tocome back to Kazakhstan straight after uni».
Where Are They Know?
So what did previous KazSociety members do after finishing?
Adil Shakirov: Adil has worked for Ernst and Young in Almaty, andis now engaged in business and investing in Kazakhstan, Almaty.
Elvira Mami: gone back to LSE to complete an MSc in DevelopmentEconomics in 2006, and worked for the World Bank and other agencies asan economist in Kazakhstan.
Zhanara Rahmet: is in Kazakhstan. Znahara is working for a Big Four consulting and audit firm.
Aliya Maulesheva: has lived in New York and Almaty, and completedan MSc in International Finance at Columbia University in the UnitedStates. Aliya has worked for Deutsche Bank in New York for two years,and is currently in the Middle East.
Yermek Zhanassov: has been active in the banking and energysectors, and is currently working for the Metallurgic Company ‘Ertai’.Yermek is in Kazakhstan.
Karima Akaeva: Karima has worked for Kazkommertsbank in Project Finance, and is currently a volunteer for UNDP in Kazakhstan.
Aldiyar Balzhanov: is in Kazakhstan. Aldiyar has worked for Visor Capital and KazMunaiGas Exploration&Production.
KazSociety was the first ever society for Kazakhstani students herein UK, but it was not the last. With the help and kind support of thehighly respected ex-Ambassador Erlan Abulfaizovich Idrissov, thegeneral environment for students and young Kazakhstanis in UK hasimproved dramatically, and public consciousness of KazSociety’sattempts to unite students has solidified. Mr Idrissov was verygenerous and approachable, and KazSociety owes him a large debt ofgratitude. Mr Idrissov is currently Kazakhstan’s Ambassador in USA, andwe extend him our warmest regards and wish him good luck on his newmission in the States.
Many more university societies have opened across the UK, and manyof them are affiliated with KazSociety. There are currently roughly3000 Kazakhstani students in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the greatwork done by previous KazSociety teams before us, many of those 3000students have been to at least one of KazSociety’s events or have heardof KazSociety.
KazSociety today is thriving, and constantly evolving. Our internalmotto is to “keep our heads down. instead of talking, keep doing”, andwe intend to do just that.
Today KazSociety is maintaining close links with the Embassy andAmbassador Kairat Abusseitov’s kind support has been unwavering. We arealso receiving a lot of support and encouragement from many formerstudents and KazSociety veterans Adil Shakirov, Karima Akayeva, ElviraMami and Aliya Maulesheva, as well as others. Nurlan Kiyassov, thefounder of Moscow Kazakhstani student society and a legend among manystudents in Russia, is also our advisor and has helped us in many ways.For all this, we are eternally grateful.
A New Chapter
And now it’s the turn of the new team. Soon we too will graduate,and fresh enthusiastic faces will replace us. We aim to keep doing thegood work which Adil, Elvira, Aliya and Zhanara have started all thoseyears ago, and to leave behind a legacy of satisfied students whovisited our events, and only bright memories of friendship and support.It is important for us, the current team, to recognise the contributionand sacrifices of each and every member of KazSociety before us, and tobe grateful for it. KazSociety exists only on the enthusiasm ofstudents who attend our events, and the unshakeable belief ofteam-members that they can make lives of Kazakhstani students in UK alittle brighter, and that they can promote Kazakhstan in a lasting andpositive way.
We want to leave behind something that lasts, and ensure thatKazSociety lives forever, and that future teams of KazSociety neverforget where it all started.
a proud member of KazSociety
UCL MSc Economics 2010