By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Media Nation goes to Kazakhstan

I’m leaving tomorrow for Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I’ll be taking part in the annual Eurasian Media Forum.

A lot of interesting people are going to be on hand, including former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, gadfly British parliamentarian George Galloway, former congressman Harold Ford, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, former ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and longtime friend of Media Nation Danny Schechter of Globalvision and the Media Channel.

I’ll be running a panel called “Traditional Media in Crisis?” and taking part in another called “The Booming Blogosphere.”

This is a big deal for Kazakhstan. The president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, will open the conference on Thursday morning, and the chairwoman of the event is his daughter, Dr. Dariga Nazarbayeva. On Friday night, we’ll be going to an event hosted by the mayor of Almaty, CNN International and the International Herald Tribune, which, like the Boston Globe, is owned by the New York Times Co. (Does Dan Totten know about this?)

I have no idea what to expect, although I know Schechter and his business partner, Rory O’Connor, have both come back in one piece previous years. I hope to do some blogging while I’m there, but I’m not sure how reliable our Internet connection will be.

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  1. Neil

    Wow maximum coolness. Central Asia, what an opportunity! The reverse Borat. Don’t wander across the border of nearby Carjackistan (Tank McNamara) or Berzerkistan (Doonesbury). Indeed an area of intrigue in the comics. I was in Iran Afghanistan etc many years ago, but most of the -stans just to the north were off limits then. You can’t get more remote and still be on the planet.Make the most of it! I’m sure you will.

  2. Esther

    Have a great trip! It sounds very exciting. Will this be your first time away from the North American continent?

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Esther: Thanks. Much as I am loath to admit it, I’ve never made it any farther than Montreal until this week.

  4. cavard

    Wow Dan! That sounds so exciting! I studied abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia but never made it down to Almaty 🙁 That’s a rare opportunity. Interesting that Nazarbeyev is opening the conference. He’s not known as a champion for freedom of the press but that’s a big international conference and for Kazakhstan to host it is big. Have fun!

  5. mike_b1

    Say hi to Borat for us. Jagshemash!

  6. NewsHound

    Congratulations! Newshound wishes Dan a safe and enjoyable trip with lots of memorable and meaningful adventure.

  7. Jane

    Good luck Dan. That should be a great trip. I hope you have some time (and a trustworthy guide) to get out and explore a little. Make the most of it.Have fun! And return safely.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Jane: Thank you. The conference is going to be wall-to-wall panels. Even the Kazakh blogger whom I want to meet has decided to attend. So I don’t know how much opportunity I’ll have to get out and look around, given that it’s only two days.

  9. Peter Porcupine

    DK – one thing I learned about Kazakhstan last year – it’s the center of the Russian/Balkan film industry. Most movies in the area are shot and edited there – so don’t be surprised at state-of-the-art media facilities.(And don’t mention Mr. Cohen – it’s considered a great insult).

  10. Dan Kennedy

    PP: I won’t, but who is Mr. Cohen?

  11. Neil

    Two days! It’ll take you nearly two days just to get there. Stay longer! Oh, other obligations? Hmmm…

  12. Dan Kennedy

    PP: D’oh! Finally got it. In my defense, I think that’s Mr. Baron Cohen. See this.

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