On May 19-20, 2023, the staff of the Chokan Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology Kurmanalina N.N., Mukanova G.K. and Bayzhumanova Z.B. took part in the International Seminar «Manuscript Collections in Kazakhstan: Preservation and Research» organized by the Egyptian University of Islamic Culture «Nur-Mubarak» and Research Centre For Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA, Turkey).

The program of the International Seminar includes plenary and breakout sessions with reports, debates and answers to speakers’ questions. Topics of discussion: problems and prospects of research of archival sources, handwritten collections of old printed books, Arabic and Persian epigraphy, miniatures and epitaphs, cartography, codification and digitization, restoration and conservation. Modern digitization capabilities give a chance to integrate national written and material values for the first time in the centuries-old history of the Kazakhs.

The opening ceremony of the Seminar was attended by: Chairman of the Duma of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Dr. N.T.Otpenov, Rector of Nur-Mubarak University Muhammad ash-Shahat Abdulhamid Muhammad al-Jindi, Dr. Zhengiz Tomar (IRSIKA, Istanbul), and others. The participants of the event: leading researchers, historians, orientalists, Arabists, employees of museum and archival institutions, young scientists and professors of universities of Kazakhstan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan exchanged views and got acquainted with the exhibition of works of the winners of the international competition on the topic: «Irsika graduates of calligraphers».

Among the 32 sectional and 22 poster presentations at the Seminar (moderated by the famous Arabist, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor A.K. Muminov) was a presentation by the staff of the Institute of History and Ethnology named after Ch. Valikhanov on the topic «Rare funds and calendars on Arabic graphics in Kazakhstan: measures for cataloging and preservation», aroused genuine interest of listeners. Slides of the rare Orenburg edition of the Alash intelligentsia «Kyrgyz Calendar for 1923» were demonstrated, which was discovered and introduced into scientific circulation a hundred years later by Ph.D., Professor Gulnar Kayrollinovna Mukanova in February 2023 in the Rare Fund of the National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The participants of the Seminar came to a unanimous opinion on the need for coordination on the part of the state of the work carried out by enthusiasts on the integration and digitization of existing Arabic and Persian-language sources, systematic training of Arabists, organization of free access of researchers in the future to a single database. The issue will be submitted to the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, because the nation’s heritage needs care and preservation for future generations.