A Kyrgyz Corner at ELTE University

A collection of books and publications presenting the values and culture of the Kyrgyz society was ceremoniously opened at the Department of Turkish Philology of ELTE University.

It was during the first Forum of Hungarian – Kyrgyz Rectors at the end of February that Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Mambetakunov Ulanbek Esenbekovich announced that Bishkek wishes to support the development of the relations between Hungary and Kyrgyzstan by establishing a Kyrgyz Corner. His Ministry, together with the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policies, has compiled a collection of books that offers a colorful picture of the history, the culture, the traditions and customs of the Kyrgyz people, and especially their life today.

The opening ceremony took place on March 28 in the presence of the ambassadors of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakistan to Budapest. In his remarks, H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Talantbek Kushchubekov underlined that by handing over the books and publications they would like to contribute to more and more people in Hungary getting acquainted with the Republic of Kyrgyzstan and its traditions.

The Rector of ELTE, László Borhy put the stress on the project developing the international relations of the University. As he said, “the Kyrgyz Corner is an important milestone in strengthening our relations with Kyrgyzstan.”

The Head of the Department of Turkish Philology, Benedek Péri said that “the inauguration of the Corner is the first stage of implementing the plans of the Department. Our goal is to make our students have an appetite for getting acquainted with the Turkic world today. We would like to set up a program that trains experts who will liaise with the Turkic partner countries that are so important to Hungary. To train Turkologist who are familiar with one given country or a larger region, experts who can speak the local Turkic languages and can assist the decision-making and the maintenance of contacts of the Hungarian government, the economic organizations and entrepreneurs in our country.”

The Kyrgyz Corner may become a unique example for the other Turkic countries which could cooperate with the Department of Turkish Philology in implementing its objectives by establishing similar corners. Besides Azerbaijani, ELTE would – in the future – like to launch the teaching of the Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Uzbek languages. At present, in the framework of the scholarship program Stipendium Hungaricum, four students are participating in MA and PhD studies at the Department of Turkology. They are already taking part in teaching the Azerbaijani language. If everything goes well, next year a student will arrive also from Azerbaijan and Kazakistan. The Rector and the Head of the Department expressed their thanks to all those who had assisted to making this event happen.

The opening ceremony was concluded by a performance of Kyrgyz folk songs.

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