All roads led to the Student Center (W2) on Thursday evening as, for its penultimate event of this semester, KAIST-ONE featured the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan. Having first featured Pakistan followed by Zambia, the organizers were keen to build on the roaring success that the KAIST One Program has grown into. The emcees for the evening, namely Sanzhar Bakhtiyarov and Altinai Normanova, did not disappoint. They did an excellent job keeping the audience entertained even as they served everyone a hot steaming plate of knowledge peppered with good hearted humour and wit.
Founded in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union and led by President Nursultan Nazarbayev since then, the country boasts of a population of 17.04 million and extends some from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia, cumulatively some 2.75 million square kilometres that make it the ninth largest country on the planet. Its largest metropolis, Almaty, is a long-standing trading and cultural hub along the silk road.
Halfway through proceedings, members of the audience couldn’t help themselves when Yernazar Kairat took to the stage to perform an emotional version of a popular Kazakh love song. He was quickly followed by Temirlan Myrzakhmetov who played the dombra and left the crowd begging for more. A quick quiz in between proceedings kept the audience alert as Shynar Torekhan who was dressed in her country’s national garb glided up and down the aisle rewarding anyone who answered a question correctly with Kazakh trinkets.
The highlight of the evening came when four dashing lads performed the Kara-Zhorga - a form of Kazakh folk dance that imitates the movements and techniques of horse-racing. At the end of the fest, all in attendance were treated to a scrumptious meal which fortunately or unfortunately, did not contain horse meat. This was washed down with the vast array of soft drinks that the organizers had supplied to quench the audience’s thirst.
For its fourth and last event for this semester, KAIST-ONE will feature the Central American country of Bolivia on November 24.