Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, left, and Lee Sang-kyun, chairperson of the Shinil Education Foundation, pose for photos during the unveiling ceremony of the bust of Abai Qunanbaiuly on Seoul Cyber University’s campus in Gangbuk District, Seoul, Tuesday. Courtesy of Seoul Cyber University
By Lee Hyo-jin A bust of Abai Qunanbaiuly, a prominent Kazakh poet and philosopher, has been unveiled on Seoul Cyber University’s campus, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the relationship between Korea and Kazakhstan next year, according to the university, Tuesday. The poet, philosopher and composer of the 19th century is a renowned figure revered for his contribution to Kazakh culture, folklore and literature. Praised as the founding father of Kazakh-language literature, Abai’s books have been translated into many languages, and his works can be found in many countries.The statue unveiling ceremony, which came during Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s two-day visit to Seoul, was held on the campus of Seoul Cyber University, based in Gangbuk District, northeastern Seoul. On hand for the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tleuberdi Mukhtar, Deputy Prime Minister Sklyar Roman Vasilyevich, Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov and Kazakhstan Ambassador to Korea Bakyt Dyussenbayev.Also attending the event were Koo Hong-seok, Korean Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Lee Sang-kyun, chairperson of the Shinil Education Foundation, Kang In, president of Seoul Cyber University, and Jang Yoon-geum, president of Sookymung Women’s University. The statue has been dedicated on the campus at the request of the Kazakhstan government, recognizing the university’s leading role in strengthening cultural and arts exchange between the two countries, according to the university. “Abai is a pioneer, well known for his beautiful and touching works which became hope and light to the lives and souls of ‘Koryoin,’ (ethnic Koreans in the former Soviet Union) who were forced to migrate to Central Asia in the mid-20th century,” said Lee Sang-kyun, chairperson of the Shinil Education Foundation, the foundation that runs the university. “It is very meaningful that the statue of Abai Qunanbaiuly has been installed at Seoul Cyber University’s campus at this point of time, as next year marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Kazakhstan,” Lee added.Bilateral ties between the two countries are expected to develop further, with President Moon Jae-in and his counterpart having agreed to expand their strategic partnership during the summit held earlier in the day. While Moon stressed that Kazakhstan is Korea’s largest trading partner and investment destination in Central Asia, Tokayev expressed high hopes for further economic cooperation, calling Korea one of the most important partners for his country. They have agreed to expand coverage of their economic cooperation program, called “Fresh Wind,” which was launched in April 2019 during Moon’s visit to Kazakhstan.