On November 27-28, 2018, the Advisor on Strategic Development of the IAAR Gulnar Iskakova took part in the VIII Civil Forum of Kazakhstan “Civil Society and the State: Dialogue. Partnership. Trust”. Leaders of Kazakhstan and international NGOs, deputies of the Parliament, representatives of government agencies, heads of business structures and educational organizations, experts shared best practices, tried to identify common approaches to addressing the main issue on the forum's agenda - how to develop civil society in Kazakhstan. The forum included 5 panel sessions and 35 sites, conferences, thematic and parallel sessions for NGOs with the participation of the heads of 13 central government agencies.

The work of the section “The role of HEIs and schools in the formation of an active civil society” was fruitful, moderated by the rector of Almaty Management University Gulmira Kurganbaeva. The current problem was discussed: how to overcome the “closeness” of universities and schools for society, without being limited to traditionally scientific and educational activities? The panelists were unanimous in saying that universities should become centers for the production of ideas and knowledge, the reproduction of critical thinking and autonomy, a model of civil society, a tool for change and an institution for the development of Kazakhstan’s society.