Kazakhstan, Almaty

UNESCO Chair in International Journalism and Media in Society
(UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication)


Description and Mandate of the Chair

The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at Kazak State University was founded in May 1996. The head of the Chair is doctor of philology, Professor Nazgul Shyngysova.

The UNESCO Chair performs the following duties:

  • Implements international projects IPDC, UN Women in Kazakhstan.
  • Conducts researches.
  • Publishes academic journals.
  • Teaches English and Mass Media courses.
  • Conducts conferences.
  • Performs multimedia and distance education training.

UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication (al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan) works in the scientific, methodological, educational areas in close cooperation with the UNESCO and ISESCO National Commission in the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, with international organizations, governmental, public and business structures. Within the framework of South-South and North-South cooperation, the Chair closely cooperates with the UNESCO Chairs from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Russia.

What are the benefits of such cooperation? Firstly, within the framework of the UN Project “International Decade for the Convergence of Cultures”, members of the Chair actively work in international and republican organizations. For example, Professor N.T. Shyngyssova – current expert, member of the Council of “PF Center for Supporting Journalists “Minber”, PF “Foundation of Turkic-speaking journalists”. Professor L.S. Akhmetova is a member of the Assembly of the Peoples of Eurasia, she is also an expert of the PF “Eurasian Commonwealth”; PF “World of Eurasia”, project “Central Asia”. Associate Professor A.A. Niyazgulova is an academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio (Russia).

Lecturers, who have received an international educational scholarship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Bolashak” are working at the Chair. The availability of scholarships allowed them to complete one year or three-year internships at leading foreign universities: Oklahoma State University, Columbia University, Reading University, Boston University, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, University of Nottingham, A. Mickiewicz University. (Poznan, Poland), etc.

The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communications is actively working in the field of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Almost all issues are solved jointly with the UNESCO Cluster Office.

The Chair carried out projects on media and information literacy, on the development of a national model of Kazakh media education, as well as information technologies to stimulate sustainable personal development on the introduction of international standards of UNESCO journalism and education for sustainable development.

Based on relevant UNESCO publications and improving the qualifications of teachers in the framework of the IPDC activities The Chair started activities to introduce gender-related topics in journalism into educational programs of universities on journalism. In November 2018, The Chair implemented an international project of the UNESCO / UN IPDC “Strengthening the curriculum on gender journalism in Kazakhstan”. The experience and practice of the participating teachers made it possible to understand in what aspect and how deeply the discipline “Gender and the media” can be introduced in journalism departments of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The project allowed teachers of journalism to reduce the stereotypical perception of women and men roles in society, gender stereotypes and gender bias in accordance with international practice.

The UNESCO project considered the priority area of the IPRC on gender equality through the media and improving the competence of journalism teachers in this area. The training allowed expanding the range of understanding the role of gender in society and the information space of the country. During the training, UNESCO documents and publications were used. As a result of the project, the conference participants introduced disciplines related to gender journalism into the educational process, which are based on UNESCO standards in the field of education. Currently, The Chair uses all the possibilities of digital technologies to teach these subjects online. The leading scientists of The UNESCO Chair are also engaged in research in the field of sustainable development Goals. In this regard, The Chair plans to create a training and consulting center “Gender Balance and the Media” as the part of the continuation of the IPRC Project “Strengthening the curriculum on gender journalism in Kazakhstan”.

In 2019, The Chair implemented the Project UNWKAZRFP 2019-003 of the UN-Women structure “Media and Sustainable Development Goals” to conduct training seminars for increasing the capacity of media and press services of local executive bodies in covering gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within the framework of the project, The Chair organized monitoring of the content of media organizations in West Kazakhstan and Kostanay regions for gender sustainability and correlation with the SDGs, conducted a preliminary (entrance) questionnaire, systematized the basic resource materials of the UN, UN-Women, UNESCO, updated the research of The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication of the Journalism Faculty of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University for the participants of the training seminar. Training seminars were held on October 22, 2019 in Uralsk, on October 29 in Kostanay. In November 2019 the final evaluation of the organization of training seminars, monitoring of publications published on their results, permanent links with photos and materials about project were created.

The UN Women mission in Kazakhstan in partnership with The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication of the Journalism Faculty of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University, specified the tasks and indicators of the gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) until 2030 and expanded practical skills to maintain gender equality in the content and management of the media at one-day training seminars in two regions of Kazakhstan with journalists, bloggers, press service employees, NGOs’ representatives.

Explaining Sustainable Development Goals through the media and communication channels contributes to the involvement of the population in the development of society based on three main points of view: economic, social and environmental. The transformation of the gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by representatives of the media industry makes it possible to overcome the information gap in the daily reflection of social reality. Therefore, it is so important to enrich the competencies of journalists, bloggers, press service employees and NGOs that broadcast and support the global interests of society, equality of opportunities, optimal use of resources and the use of environmentally friendly technologies.

Tools: training seminars to explain the gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strengthen professional competencies in the field of gender were held using presentations, business games, discussions, answers to questions, workshops, solving cases using media materials, NGOs, TV programs and feature films, brainstorming sessions, traditional and interactive tests.

The project manager is doctor of philology, Professor Shyngysova N. T., the trainers of the seminar are teachers of The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University – N. Shyngysova, E. Dudinova, A. Rozhkov, E. Veskina.

Based on the materials and publications of the UN, UN Women and UNESCO the trainers explained the history of the SDGs, showed the difference between gender and role reversal, demonstrated traditional and new tools for covering this topic in the media, explained the methods of gender-weighted formation of information occasions when preparing press releases and other information materials, compared individual goals and demonstrated the importance of their constant consideration.

During the seminar, to increase the interest of the participants, the trainers presented material in different forms: presentations, videos, fragments of TV programs, screenshots of articles, messages, diagrams.

All participants of the training seminar received complete folders with materials of the UN-Women structure, UNESCO, the al-Farabi Kazakh National University, press releases, links to the most important electronic resources on gender-related Sustainable Development Goals for further work. Using the knowledge gained at the seminars, regional journalists published high-quality materials on gender issues on the media pages.

Conducting these training seminars showed that in the regions the issues of gender equality, understanding of the goals and ways of world development are most acute; media representatives work with these topics occasionally and need regular professional development and exchange of experience.

Secondly, such cooperation is always useful for students, undergraduates and PhD-students. For example, in 2018 students from the al-Farabi Kazakh National University came to New York as a part of the educational process, specifically the exchange program coordinated by Columbia University, SIPA. During the visit, they were engaged with leading practitioners and scholars in several disciplines.

Many workshops, brainstorming sessions, contests, student competitions were conducted at the Chair by well-known media professionals, employers, heads of governmental agencies, commercial enterprises, consulting structures, exhibition companies, as well as foreign teachers from Europe, USA, Turkey, winners of state and public awards and prizes, holders of the title “The best teacher of Kazakhstan.” There is a constant correlation of educational practice with the latest global trends, academic mobility in the CIS countries and far abroad.

The Chair holds regular consulting meetings with international organizations and domestic partners: the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty around Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the UN Department of Public Information, INTERNEWS the international non-profit organization, the “Adil Soz” international fund for the protection of speech, the PF center support of journalists “Minber”, the Union of Journalists in Kazakhstan, the International Center for Journalism MediaNet, PF “Foundation of Turkic Journalists”, etc.

As practice has shown, such global and regional cooperation and maximum openness to innovations bring considerable results not only for the Chair, but also for the education system of Kazakhstan as a whole.

Since 1996, the UNESCO Chair has been publishing the scientific journal “Bulletin of KazNU: Journalism Series” in Kazakh, English and Russian.

One of the directions of the research activity of The Chair is the organization and holding of international conferences.

The traditional conference of The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication of  the al-Farabi Kazakh National University “Models of Teaching International Journalism for Sustainable Development” (MTIJ) annually gathers media professionals from all over the world. In 2021, with the support of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, the fifth conference was held in five languages and brought together more than a hundred scientists, teachers, journalists, representatives of the international community from 9 countries: the United States, Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and others.

Currently, The Chair uses the opportunities of this conference as a platform for discussing the problems and development of international journalism and it fulfills a great mission in training highly qualified journalists. Every year, the directions of the conference acquire a new meaning. In 2021, journalism education was considered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the UNESCO Representative in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Director of the UNESCO Office in Almaty, Christa Pikat, the conference participants were welcomed by Sergey Karpov, Specialist of the Communication and Information Department of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty. In his speech, he presented to the participants a training manual for training journalists developed by UNESCO.

The head of the UN Information Office of the UN Department of Global Communications in Kazakhstan, Vlastimil Samek, in his greeting noted the importance of the meeting for the goals of sustainable development, prosperity of humanity, all UN countries, and specifically, Kazakhstan. He stressed the importance and responsibility of journalists for providing high-quality, correct and verified information.

Head of The UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication of the al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Professor N. T. Shyngysova shared her experience in promoting the SDGs in the educational process. “The mission of this conference is international consultations on journalistic education in the period of COVID-19, the development of distance learning algorithms,” N. Shyngysova noted.

Foreign scientists: Jatin Srivastava – Professor at Ohio University (USA), Rafis Abazov – Professor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University (New York, USA), Haji Ahmet Shimshek-Professor at Kastamonu University, Director of the Center for Applied Research of the Turkic World (Turkey), Suat Kolukirik – Professor at Akdeniz University (Turkey); Lidia Malygina – PhD, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia), Nadezhda Lebedeva – Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Cultural Studies, Professor of Philosophy at the International Personnel Academy (Kiev, Ukraine): presented their vision of the situation and shared their invaluable experience in solving the problems of modern education.

Great interest was aroused by the performances of students from foreign universities: Madiyar Rakymzhan (State University of New York in Plattsburg, USA) and Moldir Shyngys (State University of Hong Kong). The students told about the organization of distance and mixed learning in their universities, ensuring the safety of visiting the campus and classrooms. The conference participants were presented the results of the international study “Migration and Sustainable Development: challenge for political tool or opportunity for prosperity”, conducted jointly by scientists from different universities: Ranjbar Meshkin Daniil (RUDN, Moscow), Mukan Saken and Elmira Saudabekova (Narkhoz, Kazakhstan).

The conference, which lasted almost five hours, was held in one breath, the participants enthusiastically shared their experience and knowledge, feelings from the change of the usual lifestyle and the incredible speed of media technologies development, talked about the problems, the new projects, difficulties of changing the usual algorithms of work.

The Chair takes an active part in all events held under the auspices of UNESCO and the UN. Also, in order to systematize and study the main factors of media influence in the formation of the political architecture of Kazakhstan, priorities and values of democracy, a constant dialogue is held with foreign scientists in the field of strategic communications, strengthening aspects of media education and media literacy in the educational programs of journalism faculties.

To introduce high-quality information about the Sustainable Development Goals in the content of educational programs on journalism, it plans to translate UNESCO documents and other studies in the field of media education and media literacy into Kazakh and Russian.

To date, The Chair has done a lot of work related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Chair is actively working on 4, 5, 15, 16, 17 Goals that are priority for the Journalism Faculty. In line with this work, various events are held annually, such as seasonal Schools, media schools, round tables. In the nearest future these types of activities will just grow.

(UNESCO No. 1996KZ0122)
(Ver. 06-2023)


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