09ASTANA353, KAZAKHSTAN: CHIEF MUFTI’S OFFICE EXPRESSES INTEREST IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA353 2009-02-27 01:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4085
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK
RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0353 0580153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270153Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4739
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1257
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0639
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1345
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0340
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0089
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2174
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2502
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0818
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0734
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS ASTANA 000353 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, IIP, DRL/IRF, ECA/A/L, NEA/PPD 
 
E.O.  12958:  N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI KISL KIRF KPAO EG KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  CHIEF MUFTI'S OFFICE EXPRESSES INTEREST IN 
ENGLISH LANGUAGE FELLOWS AT ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY 
 
REF:  ASTANA 0249 
 
1.    (U)  Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.    (SBU)  SUMMARY:  As a follow-up to the Ambassador's recent 
discussion with Chief Mufti and Head of the Spiritual Association of 
Muslims in Kazakhstan (SAMK) Abasasttar Derbisali (see reftel), 
Regional English Language Officer (RELO) and Branch Public Affairs 
Officer (BPAO) met with Nurzhan Makhanov, Chief of External 
Relations and Protocol for SAMK, on February 19.  After much 
discussion, Makhanov agreed that the best place to put English 
Language Fellows would be at the Islamic University of Almaty. 
Pending the Chief Mufti's approval, Makhanov suggested the Embassy 
meet with the rector of the Islamic University.  The Embassy 
believes that this is a positive sign.  END SUMMARY. 
 
INITIAL RESISTANCE 
 
3.   (SBU)  Makhanov began by summarizing the meeting between the 
Chief Mufti and the Ambassador.  He said that after much 
consideration, he did not support putting English Language Fellows 
at the three major madrassas for two reasons.  First, the students 
at the madrassas already study Russian, Kazakh, and Arabic, and 
would be overburdened by adding English. Second, Russian or 
Kazakh-speaking English teachers would be necessary.  In response, 
RELO and BPAO said that perhaps English could be offered as an 
extra-curricular subject to motivated, talented language-learners 
and not as a mandatory part of the curriculum.  They also strongly 
made the case that English needs to be taught only in English. 
 
ENGLISH LANGUAGE FELLOWS AT ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY 
 
4.    (SBU)  Makhanov then suggested that the Islamic University 
would be a better fit for English Language Fellows -- an idea that 
had already occurred to PAS.  Emboffs mentioned how Al Azhar 
University in Cairo, Egypt, has hosted English Language Fellows for 
several years; is the most respected and oldest Islamic University 
in the world; and also helped establish the Islamic University in 
Almaty.  This information seemed to please Makhanov, and the meeting 
quickly became much more positive and collegial.  RELO and BPAO also 
noted that PAS Cairo had helped Al Azhar set up an English Language 
Resource Center, and that establishing such a center in Kazakhstan 
would allow students at the Islamic University and SAMK staff to 
study English.  This idea was greeted warmly by Makhanov, and he 
mentioned that he would like to participate in such training. 
 
NEXT STEPS 
 
5.    (SBU)  The meeting concluded by Makhanov stating that he would 
contact his colleagues at Al Azhar to find out more about their 
experiences with the English Language Fellows program. He said that 
if the Chief Mufti agrees, the Embassy should next meet with the 
rector of the Islamic University.  We believe this is a positive 
development. 
 
HOAGLAND

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