Monday, March 28, 2011

Ismail Gasprinsky's 160th Birthday

Gulnara Yagyaeva, Deputy Director of the Gasprinsky Library, opens the anniversary event.

The month of March marked the 160th anniversary of the birth of the famous Crimean Tatar educator, writer, and public figure, Ismail Gasprinsky. Ismail Gasprinsky is considered to be the father of the modern Crimean Tatar nation, and our library is named in his honor. See my blog post in July 2010, “Who is Ismail Gasprinsky?” for more details about his life.
To commemorate this anniversary, the Gasprinskiy Library organized a series of events the week of March 21st, beginning with a ceremonial laying of a wreath at the Gasprinsky monument located on the Sagir River in the heart of Simferopol. A special documentary photograph exhibit was on display in the library reading room, titled “The Legacy of I. Gasprinsky,” along with books by and about Gasprinsky and copies of some of his writings.

On March 24th, a two-hour program was conducted in the library with scholars presenting their work on Gasprinsky’s life. The program was attended by the Head of the institutions of culture, arts and national cultural policies of the Ministry of Culture and Arts Elena Emirova, much of the library staff, writers, teachers, representatives of the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia, media and other guests.
Speakers included: Ceiran Useinov, head of the Council of National Education Association of Crimean Tatar Educators and author of the Crimean Tatar/Ukrainian/Russian Dictionary who presented books to the library; Ismail Kerimov, professor and head of the Crimean Tatar and Turkish Literature Department at Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University (who gave a fiery presentation on ancient Crimean Tatar languages which I so wish I could have understood); Edem Ablaeva who presented the book Ismail Gasprinskiy - Humanist, Educator, and Teacher to the library; Tavrida National University professor Gulnara Seytvanievoy who presented a gift to the library of a disc devoted to the life and work of Ismail Gasprinsky; Gasprinsky librarians Lily Kadyrova and Zarema Islyamova who talked about the library’s collections of the work of Ismail Gasprinsky.
As usual, I had a difficult time understanding much of the presentations, but this time I had the assistance of Elmas, who has recently come to work at the library and speaks fairly good English. Also, of course, my Russian is improving, and I could even catch a few words in Crimean Tatar. And the enthusiasm and interest of those presenting and attending is never lost on me. As one woman who spoke briefly about Crimean Tatar schools, said: “No language equals no people.”

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