FACTS ABOUT OURSELVES

   
 
 

This Fund was established in Nalchik, the Republic of Kabardina Balkaria in 1991. It enjoyed the support of the President of the Republic and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic as well as most of the Circassian and Kabardinian Intelligencia of the North Caucasus.

 

The reason it was set up originally was to support the Circassian artists, poets, musicians, singers, authors and all those people who worked within the artistic fields. The original purpose was simple. After the collapse of the USSR, financial and moral support to this segment of society diminished and in some cases ceased to exist. Under the Communist system all these creative people received fixed salaries from the State on which they could depend for existence. With its disappearance, many creative people turned to other means of work to support themselves and their families. Therefore it was not surprising to find authors driving taxis or musicians hauling goods in the bazaars of Nalchik. The creative talents of the Republic were being slowly decimated and the new generation of would-be artists were turning to other fields of endeavor away from their destined creative fields.

 

The Diaspora Circassian author, Mohydeen Quandour, saw the situation and along with many of his Kabardian friends, established the Fund in order to give a small but meaningful support to the creative people. This was first done through the establishment of stipends for talented children. Later a fund was organized to send artists, singing groups, musicians etc to the Circassian Diaspora where they felt the much-needed appreciation for their creativity and productions.  Annual Prizes were established for authors, for singers, for artists from the three Circassian republics. Quandour dedicated all the remuneration from his published books (worldwide) for these purposes. The program was successful and much appreciated in the three Circassian republics. It continues to this day.

 

Other Challenges

 

I. Under the new management of Dr. L.H. Balagova in 1998, the Fund turned to cultural and literary endeavors. One of the most critical aspects of Circassian culture was and continues to be under threat today; the Circassian language. Why? The old Soviet-time dictionaries are still used for official work. These are mostly diluted with Russian vocabulary in accordance with Stalinist policies of Russification of the Circassian language. (See separate article on Language problems on Home page). Therefore a program was established in 2002 to create a new Circassian- Circassian and Circassian-Russian dictionary. Teams of volunteers were established under the supervision of Circassian and international scholars to begin collecting and collating the lost words, phrases and vocabulary for the new dictionaries. Contacts were established with the leading Circassian universities as well as Leiden University (Holland) and London University (SOAS) for collaboration on this vital project. Support of International organizations such as UNESCO is being sought in order to promote this project.

 

II. Work is under way to restructure the Circassian Cyrillic alphabet in order to make it easier to learn for young children. Outstanding specialists such as Prof. Mohadeen Komakhov of the Language Institute of Moscow, Prof. Rieks Smeets of Leiden University, Prof. George Hewitt of London University (SOAS) and Prof. Mohammed Appazhev of KBR State University are our Consultants on this project.

 

II. The Fund is coordinating with all the Diaspora organizations (Khasa) to strengthen ties between all Circassians of the Diaspora and the motherland. This is being done through the creation of cultural clubs, publications and the organization of special seminars and discussion groups.

 

We appreciate any support in ideas, finances or concepts, which you may have to offer. Our contacts are:

 

 

Dr. L. H. Balagova

P.O. Box 404 Khilda

Amman, 118-21, Jordan

Telephones: Amman 00-9626-5334552 or 5334551

Fax: 00-9626-5334807

Moscow 00-7-095-7358047

Nalchik 00-7-8662-400009

Email: balagova@cherkessfund.org