Conference on Traditional Knowledge, 2006

The Second Conference: Putting Traditional Knowledge and Values in the Centre

Date: November, 6-9, 2006
Place: Karakol town, Yssyk-Kul oblast, Kyrgyzstan
Language: Kyrgyz

Goals:

  • Intention to link different dimensions of the same domain
  • To get a holistic perspective on traditional knowledge within the contemporary time.

Description:
Working out the model of the conference we based on the summer Rituals workshop experience and brought together a) highly educated and uneducated people; b) practitioners, bearers of the culture and learners, theorists, c) undergraduate students and administrators. We had the representatives of National State University, International University of Manas, Kyrgyz-Slavonic University, American University Central Asia, Pedagogical University named after Arabaev. Two advisers, Anvar Mokeev and Elena Molchanova, participated in the event.

There were diverse representatives of traditional knowledge: healers, clairvoyants, imams, shayikhs, manas tellers. Both male and female bearers of the culture worked alongside, what was important, taking into account that they often are divided by traditional responsibilities divisions. Also the conference became an event, where different generations of bearers and scholars as well as traditional practitioners from different regions and oblasts had a chance to meet and communicate.

There were used different methods and approached on the conference:

  • Individual presentations (a historian Anvar Mokeev, a mullah Alymbek Kultaev, an anthropologist  Daniel  Cartled),
  • Group presentations (Manas tellers, bubu and bakshy),
  • Thematic group work with further presentations (Maraz worshipping and women and othres)
  • Personal experience sharing
  • Aigine reports
  • Concluding the conference with one word from each participant.

What impressed me again was the capacity of the bearers, average age of which was about 65-70 years, to endure an intensive schedule of the conference as well as their openness to any questions and discussions. When the students became tired, the elders were active and curious. They literally absorbed information.

There was working atmosphere and reciprocity relations on the conference. Such type of events opens a possibility to link people preserve and create culture and researchers of culture.

There has been one thing, what I think should be mentioned. November 6 and 7 became the most dangerous days in Kyrgyz politics of 2006. There was a very aggressive conformation of President and Parliament; people were talking about threat of a civil war. At the end of first working day, November 7, the representative of NGO “Bata” (Blessing) Keneshbek asked the facilitator to apply to the participants. Then he made a request everyone to be unified and pray tonight, staying in their hotels, for the same goal: to settle the confrontation peacefully. Most participants accepted the request very seriously and upheld Keneshbek. Next day, visiting a sacred site Oruk Mazar, traditional culture bearers made a zikr with the message to contribute in a peaceful conflict solution. On November 8 President and Parliament finally entered into negotiations. On November 9 one of concluding points on Manjyly ata mazar was the Aigine conference promoted the peaceful settlement of the crises, brining together many people with super natural abilities in a right time and place. I am unable to comment that.