Navigation Menu+

Sayasat Nurbek: The Geopolitics of Kazakhstan #069

Posted on Dec 7, 2017 by in Podcast |

In this interview we speak with Sayasat Nurbek who is the managing director of the Astana International Financial Center and the director of the Public Policy Institute which is associated with the Kazakh government’s “Nur Otan” political party. We discuss the geopolitics of Kazakhstan and what it’s future looks like as it integrates into the global economy with a new stock exchange, cryptocurrency and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Show Notes

Understanding Kazakhstan’s Politics

This is America with Dennis Wholey and Sayasat Nurbek, Nur Otan Political Party


About Sayasat Nurbek

At a very young age, Sayasat Nurbek has been fortunate in achieving significant heights in education and career. A graduate of educational institutions in the United States, Italy and Kazakhstan, he held internships and various training courses in public administration and public policy, HR management, management of technology in the USA, Singapore, Belgium, Japan, the UK and the Netherlands. In 2000-01, he worked as an assistant to Congressman Mark Smith (USA) and was employed by the Government of the State of Iowa (USA). In 2006-2009, Sayasat worked in the Investment Projects department of the Sustainable Development Fund Kazyna, and held positions of Head of the HR Policy Division of the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan, Vice-Rector of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan, Executive Director and Department Director of HR policy of National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna. In 2009, he was appointed Director of the National School of Public Policy. The President of Kazakhstan has decorated Sayasat Nurbek with several medals and commendation letters.

Sayasat was elected as a young leader and member of various councils and state committees on youth policy, public service and human capital development. He represents Kazakhstan in the Bologna Process Working Group on Mobility and Internationalization where he contributed to the implementation of the EHEA Mobility for Better Learning Strategy. He is an active member of the Youth Policy Council under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan where he took part in formulating youth policy and implementation of youth-oriented projects. Since 2007, he has been on the board of the National Expert Commission, a body in charge of selecting top candidates for the Bolashak scholarship. As a long-term member of the Expert Council of Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Civil Service Affairs, he participated in the new reform of civil service currently implemented in Kazakhstan. He is also an active member of the Alumni Association of President’s Bolashak International Scholarship. In 2012, he succeeded in launching the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community hub which brought significant social change to the development of Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan.

As President of the Center for International Programs for three years (2010-2013), Sayasat was entitled to administer the Bolashak international scholarship programme – one of the most successful strategic initiatives of President Nazarbayev. He managed to reshape the Bolashak program and carry it to the next level of perfecting the leadership skills of its scholars. The programme’s impact on a national level is profound. Many graduates have also reshaped the national policies through their work in important ministries, governors’ offices and national companies. In 2012, Kazakhstan’s rank in the Global Competitiveness Index jumped from 72 to 51, and numerous Bolashak scholars have contributed to this growth. In addition to accumulated knowledge, the programme has also brought about a social multiplying effect in Kazakhstan. Bolashak scholars are commonly viewed as agents of change. These talented and educated people generate new knowledge in their workplaces and bring sophisticated work ethics. Globally, Bolashak works towards preparing the next generation of leaders to be able to act as ethical global citizens in the face of daunting challenges that will be thrown upon them in years to come. Using all his institutional power and policy tools at hand, he has been continuously passionate about helping identify young leaders with strong values and then support them to develop to their fullest potential.

He has recently completed and published a monograph on Bolashak Presidential Program and its impact on human capital formation of Kazakhstan.

In October 2013 Sayasat Nurbek was appointed as Director of the Institute of Public Policy – policy think tank affiliated with ruling Nur Otan Party. He was invited as Department Director of the Almaty City Government by Mr. Baibek since October 2015, and after almost a year of civil service has decided to switch to the corporate sector where he joined the new ambitious project of the President – the Astana International Financial Center as Member of the Board in charge of HR, Strategy and International Cooperation. ​

*Podcast intro music is from the song “The Queens Jig” by “Musicke & Mirth” from their album “Music for Two Lyra Viols”: (available on iTunes or Amazon)