During their visit to Manchester, Mr Idrissov and Ms Godunova attended the Conservative Party Conference. They met with prominent UK MPs and politicians, including Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Chairman of the Conservative Party of the UK; Mr Alec Shelbrooke, Vice-Chairman (International) of the Conservative Party; Mr Bob Stuart, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Kazakhstan; Paul Scully MP; Mr Thomas Tugendhat, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee; among others. The meetings focused on co-operation between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom, as well as the strengthening relations between the Nur Otan Party and Conservative Party.
Ambassador Idrissov also met with Councillor Eddy Newman, Lord Mayor of Manchester, during which they discussed opportunities for expanding bilateral economic, cultural, and humanitarian co-operation. Specific issues included co-operation in the energy sector; use of advanced technologies; and advancements in innovation, logistics, and transport infrastructure. Manchester – the world's first industrial city and now the UK's largest hub for industries and engineering – is home to a wealth of experience in engineering; the textile, chemical, and light industries; renewable energy sources; and the digitisation of the economy.
In looking at ways to increase interaction between Kazakhstan and Britain, the two sides discussed developing business co-operation between the technological hubs of Manchester and Almaty, as well as strengthening co-operation in nuclear non-proliferation. Manchester is an active member of the 'Mayors for Peace' programme, a global initiative founded in 1982 to promote the idea of a nuclear-free world. Eddy Newman said he respected and appreciated President Nursultan Nazarbayev's stance towards nuclear safety and disarmament. Newman noted that the President's example has inspired supporters of a nuclear-free world around the globe.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester commended Kazakhstan's economic and social reforms, and emphasized the contribution of Kazakhstan in ensuring global nuclear safety.
Ambassador Idrissov also visited the University of Manchester, a leading UK university boasting 25 Nobel laureates among its past and present students and staff. Mr Idrissov attended the university's National Graphene Institute and met with Prof Luke Georghiou, Vice-President for Research and Innovation, and Prof Vladimir Falko, Research Director of the NGI.
Both sides noted opportunities for co-operation between the University of Manchester and Kazakh universities, and discussed possibilities for organising training courses for Kazakh specialists. University of Manchester representatives welcomed a number of Kazakh students who are studying at the university, and expressed a special interest in offering courses for Kazakh students and university staff across a range of programmes.
It is worth noting that in 2004, scientists from the University of Manchester discovered graphene - a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms and stronger than steel. Graphene, capable of radically changing the way energy is produced and consumed, was presented at the British pavilion at the international exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana.
The visit of Ambassador Idrissov and Ms Godunova to Manchester continued with a meeting with Kazakh students who are studying at the University of Manchester. Currently, approximately 100 Kazakh students are enrolled at the university.
Ambassador Idrissov also visited the Ribchester Museum, the home of the Ribchester tamga – a family symbol for the ancient Scythians, Sarmatians, and other nomadic tribes. Tamga, which was discovered during archaeological excavations in Ribchester in the 1970s, is constructed from lead and is bent into an elaborate and decorative shape. It is assumed that tamga was a symbol of kinship in one of the Sarmatian groups within the troops of the King Arthur in Ribchester. Tamga was considered a symbol of tribes, clans, and individual families.
Ambassador Idrissov noted the deep historic ties between the British Islands and the Great Steppe, and welcomed further expansion of cultural and humanitarian co-operation between the two countries.