ASTANA, July 11, 2018 – Kazakhstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kazakhstan's Chief Editors Club have announced the winners of the Fifth International “Kazakhstan through the Eyes of Foreign Media" contest. 85 entries from more than 20 countries competed in this year's contest, with five regional prizes awarded to journalists.
The editorial staff of the Uzbekistan National News Agency (UzA), who actively reported on Kazakh-Uzbek relations during 2017-18, were announced as the winners from the CIS and Baltic region. UzA is one of Uzbekistan's leading news agencies. Its readership includes not only those from other newspapers and magazines, television and radio, but also the staff of embassies, ministries and companies in Uzbekistan and abroad.
UzA submitted eight pieces to the contest. The jury remarked positively on the article “Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan: in celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations," UzA's article on the Velomarathon of friendship, and a piece which focused on the Days of the Almaty region in Uzbekistan.
2018 is the year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. The opening ceremony took place in Astana with the participation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the eve of the traditional Nauryz holiday. This celebration also coincided with the first consultative meeting of the Central Asian Heads of State.
Journalist Gilly Pickup of Great Britain was announced as the European winner. Her article “One Steppe Beyond" was published in “Country and Townhouse" and describes her journey to Kazakhstan.
An article by American authors Stephan Rabimov and Alexander Lipovtsev, “Seven Wonders of Kazakhstan: Why Fashion Tourism Is Booming in Central Asia" published in Forbes was awarded best publication among journalists from the Americas.
From Asia, Australia and Oceania, the jury chose Inderveer Singh of India for his article “Astana: the capital has its own charms and pleasures" published in Business Central Asia magazine. The article describes the architecture of Astana, a brief history of some the city's landmarks, and provides details about the city's dynamic growth.
The winner from the Middle East and African region was Ayman Abdelhafez al-Zaban from Jordan. Mr. Al-Zaban was awarded the prize for his series of articles on Kazakhstan's economic development, foreign policy and the 20th anniversary of Astana.
Al-Zaban's works were published in the Al-Urdun al-Arabi, (“Arabian Jordan") and Ed Dustur (“The Constitution") magazines and covers Kazakhstan's initiatives during its non-permanent membership and presidency of the United Nations Security Council. Al-Zaban's articles also provide perspectives of the five social initiatives announced by President Nazarbayev. His other works covered the outcomes of the economic reforms which allowed Kazakhstan to transform itself into a regional financial hub.
The experience and feedback of travelers and journalists who have submitted applications,highlights the growing interest of visitors to Kazakhstan. “People-to-people diplomacy" is developing partly thanks to the high-quality and reliable articles which are published about Kazakhstan and the lives of local people.
This year, for the first time, video programs also participated in the competition, among them were the popular television show “The Mole" (The Netherlands). One of the episodes was shot in Almaty and broadcast in early 2018 during prime time on the First National Channel of Holland (NPO1).
Each year, the jury finds it increasingly difficult to select only five winners. It is impossible not to mention authors from Russia, Poland, France, Malaysia and the Middle East, who have vividly presented Kazakhstan to their readers.
Apart from the overall winners, authors with outstanding publications each representing one of the five regions have been selected to receive the Kazakh Foreign Minister's Certificate of Appreciation.
The jury included Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and President of the Chief Editors Club Yerlan Bekkhozhin.
According to competition rules, the five overall winners will be awarded a trip to Kazakhstan in August this year. Journalists will visit the cities of Astana and Almaty, as well as the Burabai resort. The winners will visit cultural and historical sites and will have an opportunity to interview senior government officials, local experts, journalists and representatives from the cultural, sporting and tourism sectors.
The Foreign Minister noted that this kind of competition is not just an opportunity to raise Kazakhstan's profile abroad and promote Kazakhstan's initiatives internationally, but it also contributes to the development of bilateral and multilateral relations with the countries where the contestant's works are published.
Organized in cooperation with Kazakhstan's Chief Editors Club, this year's “Kazakhstan through the Eyes of the Foreign Media" competition – the fifth of its kind – is made possible thanks to the generous support ofthe “Kazakhstan TemirZholy" JSC National Railways Company, Rixos President Astana, Rixos Borovoe, & Rixos Almaty--the luxury hotel chain, and Argymak Transportation Company.
The Foreign Ministry is also pleased to collaborate with WizzAir, Central and Eastern Europe's largest low-cost airline which launched a new Budapest-Astana route in 2017, and Turkish Airlines, the largest carrier in the world by number of destinations.