Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia

Template:Infobox officeholder Kassym-Zhomart Kemeluly Tokayev (Template:Lang-kz, Qasım-Jomart Kemelulı Toqayev, قاسى-جومارت كەمەلۇلى توقايەۆ; born 17 May 1953) is a Kazakh politician and diplomat who has served as Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan since 16 October 2013. He previously held the same post from 11 January 2007 to 15 April 2011. Tokayev served as Prime Minister of Kazakhstan from 1 October 1999 to 28 January 2002 and as Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva from 12 March 2011 to 16 October 2013.

Career in Soviet Union

His father, Kemel Tokayev (1923-1986), was a veteran of the Second World War and a well-known Kazakh writer. His mother, Turar Shabarbayeva (1931–2000), worked at the Alma-Ata Institute of Foreign Languages. In 1970, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev joined the Moscow State Institute of International relations. In his fifth year, he was sent to the training courses at the USSR Embassay in China for six months. Upon graduation from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1975, Tokayev joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and was posted to the Soviet Embassy in the Republic of Singapore. In 1979, he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. In 1983, he went to the People’s Republic of China for training courses at the Beijing Language Institute. In 1984–1985, he served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was then posted to the Soviet Embassy in Beijing where he served until 1991 as Second Secretary, First Secretary, and Counsellor. In 1991, he enrolled at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in Moscow in a training course for senior diplomats.

Domestic policy

In 1992, Tokayev was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 1993, he became First Deputy Foreign Minister and in 1994 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. In March 1999, he was promoted to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. In October 1999, with the endorsement of the Parliament, he was appointed Prime Minister by Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In January 2002, he resigned and was subsequently appointed Secretary of State – Minister of Foreign Affairs. Tokayev continued to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs until January 2007 when he was elected Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Tokayev held the post of Foreign Minister for ten years (1994–1999, 2002–2007).

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tokayev played an active role in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. In 1995 and 2005, he participated in the Review Conferences for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York. In 1996, he signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in New York, and in 2005 the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ) in Semipalatinsk. He was elected Chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Tokayev took part in ten sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

He holds the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

As Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Tokayev was elected in 2008 Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

His view on the political system of Kazakhstan: "Strong President, authoritative Parliament, accountable Government" (said at the Parliamentarian Conference in Astana, 24 November 2014).

With regard to the controversial amendments to the Land Code pertaining to lease and sale of land the Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said: “We should not only give assurances that agricultural lands will not be sold to foreigners. We must ensure the implementation of this important provision by legislative and other means so that nobody could come up with an idea of circumventing this requirement through various dodgy schemes. And most importantly, it is essential to carry out the President’s demand on the national jurisdiction over the land as well as its efficient and rational use”. Mr.Tokayev made these comments during the parliamentary hearings in the Senate on 29 April 2016.

Director General of the UN Office at Geneva

In March 2011, the Secretary-General of the United Nations announced the appointment of Tokayev as Under Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva,and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament. He serves as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. He is also the Designated Official for safety and security of UN personnel for Switzerland.

Tokayev holds a Doctorate in Political Science. He is the author of nine books and numerous articles on international affairs. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons at the Munich Conference on Security, an Honorary Professor of the Shenzhen University (PRC), an Honorary Professor and Doctor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, as well as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is also Honorary Dean of the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. As Director-General of UNOG, he received the "Academicus" award from the University of Geneva.

Personal life

He is fluent in Kazakh, Russian, English and Chinese and has knowledge of French. He is the recipient of several state awards from the Republic of Kazakhstan and other countries. He was President of the Table Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan for 13 years. In December 2016, Mr Tokayev was re-elected as President of the Table Tennis Federation. He is married and has a son, Timur Tokayev, born in Moscow in 1984, who graduated from the Collège du Léman and Webster University in Switzerland. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science. His wife, Nadejda Tokayeva, was born in 1957 and graduated from the Moscow State Institute for History and Archives.



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  • Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva [1]