From Kazakhstan to Egypt: The Medal of International Elitist Union of Public Diplomacy

Rustamov presenting the medal to Ashraf

Bakhit Rustamov presenting the medal to Ashraf Aboul-Yazid

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid
President, Asia Journalists Association

CAIRO: The Kazakh writer and translator, Bakhit Rustamov, combines being a writer outside the local borders and a practitioner of popular diplomacy – acting an important role in friendship between the peoples of the world. I met him personally for the first time in Turkey at the Eurasian International Literary Festival (LIFFT), 2021.

Bakhit Rustamov came from an Asian country with a population not exceeding 20 million people to become one of the few in the modern Turkish world who enjoy recognition and success all over the world.

His books are in major libraries, from Russia to the American Library of Congress, as well as the libraries of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Cuba, Poland, Mongolia, and in a number of Arab countries, as well as scientific and diplomatic centers. Bakhit Rustamov has done a lot of work, whether in writing, in staging exhibitions, or in international diplomacy.

From 2008 to 2018, he was the first Vice-President of the Kazakhstan-Cuban Friendship Association at the embassy of the Republic of Cuba, Kazakhstan. His mission was to bring the cultures of Kazakhstan and Cuba closer together. He wrote four books on Cuba, three in Kazakh and one in Russian. During the years of the country’s independence, he was the first Kazakh officially invited to visit Cuba.

Some call him the founder of the Kazakh international press. Kazakhstan was an outskirt of a large Soviet country, bordering China, Mongolia and other countries. The USSR was a closed country, not everyone can travel freely abroad, but journalists and writers could travel from the capital, Moscow.

It was only after Kazakhstan gained independence that the Kazakhs began to travel to other countries, for the first time, and had the opportunity to write about different countries. Many people are involved in the international (journalistic) writing business. If they write their articles dedicated to certain dates and occasions, three or five times a year, but for him, he writes articles and books about the countries of the world on a regular and systematic basis. In one year, on average, he publishes three books.


Likewise, Kazakh journalists discovered his creative work with its new directions (international journalism – political and translation), which were not present in the cultural life of the Kazakh people before. Basically, foreign scholars, writers, media people, journalists and readers call him the founder of the international press in Kazakhstan, putting him on a par with world-famous writers; because for the first time they saw him on global social networks, or read his books, before they got to know him personally.

Bakhit Rustamov wrote 30 books. He published more than 50 scientific papers, which were published in more than three thousand publications among newspapers and magazines. The volume of his publications in all publications amounted to more than 10 thousand pages. He also writes in three languages: Kazakh, Uzbek and Russian. He recently published in London his book in English under the title “The Earth is Our Home”.

Much has been written. He began collecting his essays much later than he began writing. These total numbers do not include essays written in the school and army years. It was also published in Moscow and elsewhere.

Of course, it’s not about quantity, it’s about the questions he raised in his articles or about what he’s talking about or who he talked to. He loves history subjects, including world history, and reads the international press. He is interested in the political and social dynamics and the global economy.

He knows about the works of the Egyptian writer Abbas Mahmoud Al-Akkad, the contemporary writer Jamal Al-Ghitani, the writer and actress Rose El-Youssef, the translator and poet Muhammad Othman Jalal, the writer, the traveler, the historian Ibn Arab Shah, the writer Mustafa Lutfi Al-Manfaluti, the playwright Ibrahim Ramzi among others.

Rustamov has translated prose, poetry and journalism in Latin America. As for the poems specifically, they were spoken in the Kazakh language, which is one of the main languages in the Turkic world, for example, the poetry of Jorge Andrade (Ecuador), Gabriela Mistral (Nobel Prize Laurate, Chile), Juan de Ibarburo (Uruguay), Jose Santos Chocano (Peru), Ruben Dario (Nicaragua), Enrique González Martinez (Mexico), Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize Laurate, Colombia), Guillermo Valencia (Colombia), Miguel Angel Asturias (Guatemala), Ricardo James Freire (Bolivia), Julio Cortázar (Argentina), Leopoldo Luganes (Argentina), Antonio Scarmeta, Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), Alfredo Varela, Juan Rulfo (Mexico), Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize Laurate, Chile), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), Early Herrera, Jesus Diaz, Julio Travesa (Cuba ), Jose Marti (Cuba), Alejo Carpentier (Nobel Prize, Cuba), Jose Lizama Lima, Hugo Chenia (Cuba) and others.


For the first time in the history of Kazakhstan, some of the works of Pakistani poets and writers were translated into the Kazakh language, and reports were made about their works.

They are Muhammad Iqbal, Khoshkal Khan Khatak, Bola Shah, Sultan Bahu, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Zafer Rahman, Syed Warish Shah Saadat Hassan Manto, Fadl Haq Shaida, Ahmed Nadeem Qasim, Sher Muhammad Marei, Muhammad Nawaz Tahir, Hijab Imtiaz Ali, Murad Sakhir, Zaytoun Banu, Abdul Razzaq Rifaat Afzal Ahsan Randhwa, Anwar Sajjad, Masoud Al Mufti, Zahida Khina, Noor Al Huda Shah , and others. His main goal was to bring together the cultures (literature) of the peoples of the world. He is the first Kazakh from Asia and the first from the Islamic world, in the history of Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian culture, who was elected as a member of the jury of literary competitions in these countries for years.

As the president of the “International Commonwealth of People’s Diplomacy” (ISND) Kazakhstan, from 2020 to the present, he has carried out diplomatic activities in his country and abroad, the goal of his association is the rapprochement of cultures within multinational Kazakhstan, the rapprochement of the cultures of the peoples of the world through literature, music, sports and other domains. The association’s motto is “Peace, Friendship, and Solidarity”.

Bakhit Rustamov informed me of the decision of the International Elite Union of Public Diplomacy, Kazakhstan, to award me the gold medal, and that he would visit Egypt, to present it to me personally, in recognition of my cultural role in building cultural bridges between peoples, and my own achievement at the international level.


It was a warm visit in which he presented souvenirs to my wife, Fatima Zahraa Hassan, the director at the Egyptian TV, and my two daughters, Hoda and Fadwa.

He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Roshan, his daughter Saeeda, and her husband, the Moroccan diplomat Si Mohamed.

I add this special honorary medal with great fondness to my previous awards; Shield of the Cultural Personality of the Year, Republic of Tatarstan, (Russian Federation), 2012, Manhae Prize in Literature (South Korea), 2014, the Arab Press Award in Culture (United Arab Emirates), 2015., Creativity Shield of Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian Embassy, State Kuwait, 2015, the Medal of the General Authority for Culture Palaces, Ministry of Culture, Egypt, 2017, the Gold Medal, Eurasian Literary Festival LIFFT, Istanbul, Turkey, 2021, and the Medal of the Most Prominent Patrons of Literature, Pan African Writers Association, Ibadan, Nigeria, 2022.

Yet, it remains that the most important award came in the presence of my family.

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