Download organisation chart in PDF format
Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences:
Akhtar Hassan MALIK
Hamid Ali KHAN
Ian Phil CANLAS
Ahmad Ali SHAH
Aigul KANTORO KYZY
Bernadette L DEAN
Dr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Asia (UCA). From June 2014 to September 2018, he was responsible for leading the planning, building and operation of the campuses and programmes of the University across all three of its Founding States.
Dr Kassim-Lakha has a long association with UCA. He served as co-chair of the Commission on the Establishment of an International Institution of Higher Education, a distinguished panel of international and regional members who in 1988 developed the concept for the University. In 2000, he was involved in the negotiations of the International Treaty that led to UCA’s establishment by the governments of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan. In 2014, Dr Kassim-Lakha was appointed Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network to the Kyrgyz Republic.
As Founding President of the Aga Khan University (AKU), the first private university chartered in South Asia, for nearly three decades Dr Kassim-Lakha led the planning, building and operations of this internationally renowned institution established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983 with campuses in Pakistan, Eastern Africa and the United Kingdom.
Dr Kassim-Lakha has served in senior positions in the Pakistan government, including as the country’s Minister of Education and as Minister of Science and Technology in the caretaker government in 2007-8. As Minister of State in 2001-2, he led the task force which recommended higher education reforms in Pakistan, resulting in major structural changes in universities and the creation of the Higher Education Commission, of which he was a member from 2007 to 2011. He also chaired the committee which wrote Pakistan’s National Environment Protection Act (1997). The first two decades of his career were with the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development where he served as Managing Director of Industrial Promotion Services of Pakistan, a manufacturing and venture capital company with a work force of 22,000.
Dr Kassim-Lakha is a Senior Distinguished Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Recently he retired as Founding Chair of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy Board, where he served for fifteen years, and from the international Board of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. Dr Kassim-Lakha has written and published on school and higher education, philanthropy, civil society and management in renowned journals including the Lancet and Nature and has contributed book chapters on these themes.
Dr Kassim-Lakha received his undergraduate education from the South Bank and Westminister Universities, in London and completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, USA.
In recognition of his academic and social work, Dr Kassim-Lakha has received honorary degrees from McMaster University, Canada and the Aga Khan University. His awards for distinguished service include Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan and Officer of the National Order of Merit from the President of France.
Educated at Bishop’s University, University of Toronto, University of Glasgow, he received a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Until 1991, Dr Bohdan Krawchenko was professor in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta. He worked for many years as a consultant to the Secretary of State, Government of Canada, and Ministry of Culture, Province of Alberta. In 1991, Dr Krawchenko moved to Ukraine to become Director of Policy Studies at the Council of Advisors to the Parliament of Ukraine, and 1992 became founder and director of the Institute of Public Administration and Local Government, Cabinet of Ministers. In 1995 the Institute was re-organised into the Academy of Public Administration, Office of the President of Ukraine and he was appointed vice-rector for academic development and Director of the Centre for the Study of Administration Reform. Dr Krawchenko participated in numerous Ukrainian government committees, task forces and working groups. These include the President’s Council on Social and Economic Affairs, the Policy Unit of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Working Group on the Establishment of the Civil Service, the Working Group on Monetary Reform and the Commission on Administrative Reform. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank and OECD. He was visiting associate professor at Harvard University, Department of Government, and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Natolin, Poland. In 1995 he received an honourary doctorate from the University of North London, in 1997 was made an honourary professor of the University of ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’, in 2000 received an honourary doctorate from the Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, and in 2000 was awarded an Order of Merit from the President of Ukraine. Dr Krawchenko was editor of “Occasional Papers in Public Administration and Public Policy” published by the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe, and member of international editorial boards of several journals among them Public Management and Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis. Dr Krawchenko joined the University of Central Asia in October 2004, where he currently serves as the Dean of the Graduate School of Development.
Muzaffar Jorubov serves as Chief Operating Officer at UCA. He has over 18 years of experience in administrative and operations management, and has worked with a number of international organisations, including Save the Children, the United Nations Development Programme and the Aga Khan Development Network Representation Office in Tajikistan. Prior to joining UCA, he served as the Executive Officer of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe developing and implementing institutional policies, managing operations and programmes, and cultivating and managing relations with its internal and external stakeholders. Earlier in his career, Jorubov worked with educational institutions, including as lecturer with Tajik Technical University, and as a deputy headmaster and teacher at a district centre high school. Jorubov has an MBA from Durham University Business School, United Kingdom and a mechanical engineering degree with honours from Tajik Technical University. He has also participated in numerous professional training courses on administrative management, security management and treasury management.
Rahim Somani provides leadership and oversight to UCA’s Finance Division. He is also responsible for co-ordinating discussions and negotiations for large-capital project financing. As a member of UCA’s senior executive team, he plays a critical role in the planning and development of a multi-campus university. Over the past two decades, Somani has held senior positions in the education sector. His has experience in primary, secondary and tertiary education across Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan. His expertise includes finance; strategic and financial planning; project financing; human resource management, systems and MIS; administration; capital projects; corporate affairs; internal audit and programme management. Prior to joining UCA, Somani spent over a decade with the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKES, P) as Manager for Humanitarian Assistance Programmes; General Manager for Finance, Planning and Support Services; Company Secretary; Deputy Chief Executive Officer; and Acting CEO. Somani was also part of the Aga Khan University Hospital internal audit team. He completed his CA articleship at A.F. Ferguson & Co., a member firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers. Somani is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA) and a Cost & Management Accountant (CMA) from Pakistan and qualified Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and CA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia, Canada. He holds an MA in Educational Planning, Economics and International Development from the Institute of Education, University College London (formerly University of London). He is also an alumnus of the Institute for Educational Management, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education (IEM Class of 2014) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Director, Advancement and Public Affairs
Nasir Pirani has been associated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for decades, and held a similar position at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi for 17 years (1978-1996). He was instrumental in setting up the first Resource Development and Public Affairs Department at AKU, and helped raise over $150 million in donations and grants. Thereafter he returned to Austin, Texas, where he established a real estate investment and brokerage business. He has served on a number of non-profit boards, advising on fundraising and communications issues. A graduate of Columbia University, and an architect by training, he now brings his broad-based experience to another start up university - UCA.
Grant Robertson leads the team managing the design and construction of the three UCA campuses. Prior to joining UCA, he was project director with Mace International responsible for a luxury 5-star hotel and residential development, constructed to 4 Seasons standards and specifications. He has extensive experience working in the former USSR, CIS and Eastern European countries, as well as in his home country of Scotland. Over the 25 years of his professional career, he has worked on projects in 13 countries and earned a well-respected reputation for the successful completion of complex projects in remote areas. Prior to joining UCA, Mr Robertson served as the Regional Director of Emerging Markets in Central and Eastern Europe with Bovis Lend Lease, an internationally renowned property group specializing in project management, construction, real estate investment and development. In that role, he led 13 projects across four countries and built a team to meet the demands of their growing business. Before that, Mr Robertson worked with Philip Morris Engineering, where he was responsible for the design, management, and operationalization of their tobacco plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Amaan Pardhan is UCA’s Board Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Chairman. Prior to joining UCA, Pardhan worked as Executive Officer, Office of the Provost at the Aga Khan University. From 2009-11, he served as Programme Support Officer with the Aga Khan Development Network’s (AKDN) Resident Representative’s Office in Tajikistan, working closely with key stakeholders including government, diplomatic and donor communities to promote national and regional development initiatives. In addition, he served as Secretary to the AKDN Forum comprising of Agency Heads based in Tajikistan. Pardhan has a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Alberta, a Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a post-graduate diploma in Islamic Studies and Humanities from the Institute of Ismaili Studies, United Kingdom.
Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences
Dr Roza Kazakbaeva is an Associate Professor of English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Kazakbaeva has more than 20 years of experience teaching English as a foreign language. She holds a PhD in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Composition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining UCA, Kazakbaeva taught at the Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages, where she developed and taught courses for the departments of linguistics and cross-cultural communications. She is trained in teaching and curriculum methodology by Seneca College, Canada.
Assistant Professor in English for Academic Purposes, Khorog Campus
Dr Genevieve Balderston is an Assistant Professor of English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Balderston has 15 years of experience in the University States and international language education as an English as a Second Language teacher, programme coordinator, communications instructor, teacher trainer, and curriculum consultant. Prior to joining UCA, Balderston worked as an English Language Fellow for the U.S. State Department and National Ministry of Education in Madagascar, where she trained teachers on communicative language instruction and contributed to their digital library of English teaching and learning materials. Her teaching and research interests include promoting oral communication skills and effective English Medium of Instruction in higher education. She holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University, and a Master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Public Relations.
Akhtar Hassan MALIK
Assistant Professor in English for Academic Purposes, Naryn Campus
Dr Akhtar Hassan Malik is an Assistant Professor of English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining UCA, he taught at distinguished educational institutions in America, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Sultanate of Oman. He has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language at foundation, undergraduate and graduate levels of study. He also taught English for Special Purposes (ESP) courses during his professional career including Advanced, Intermediate and Elementary levels. His teaching activities primarily focused on integrating learning and developing innovative, interdisciplinary teaching approaches to the studies of language, cultures and societies. He developed his own curricula for graduate classes which generally emphasised creativity, qualitative reasoning, and reflection. He also worked with student teachers; a position that involved instruction in methods of teaching English as second language, research techniques, classroom ethics and discipline, effective use of current technologies, and modern student evaluation techniques. Dr Malik also held various administrative positions including Course Coordinator, Chair of examination and moderation committees, member of university academic board, and Acting Director of the Foundation English Department. He developed some major policies and helped institutions to revise their curricula. His research interests include the role of language in construction of social inequality, class analysis, critical pedagogy and ESL classrooms practices, English as cultural capital, political economy and education, and anti-oppression politics. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and a Masters from Brock University in St. Catherine, Ontario, Canada.
Senior Lecturer of English Language, Khorog Campus
Meredith Bishop is a Senior Lecturer of English language with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, Bishop has taught in private and public institutions, universities and colleges in Canada, France, Greece, Japan, and the Arabian Gulf. She has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language adult learners (Levels A1 to C2 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Bishop has experience developing curriculum and materials for English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes and general language programmes. She has participated in programme assessment initiatives, analysis and modification of course content and instructional design. In addition, Bishop has taught test preparation for IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL, FACE, PET, KET and CAEL. She has been an IELTS examiner for a decade and is a published author in TOEIC. She holds a Master of Applied Linguistics from University of Southern Queensland, a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. She is a certified Ontario Ministry of Education teacher and has a Second Language Certification Qualification from University of Toronto. She is trained in neurolinguistics programming and is an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator.
Hamid Ali KHAN
Senior Lecturer of English, Naryn Campus
Hamid Ali Khan is a Senior Lecturer of English with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Khan has more than 15 years of English language teaching experience. Prior to joining UCA, he lectured at the Royal Commission Yanbu Colleges & Institutes (RCYCI) in Saudi Arabia. There, he taught a range of general, academic, occupational and technical English courses to foundation and undergraduate students. He also held various administrative positions including Course Coordinator, Foundation Year English Coordinator, Chair of Research and Professional Development Committee, and member of the Yanbu English Language Institute (YELI) Advisory Council. He also trained RCYCI faculty. Khan has contributed to YELI’s institutional accreditation from the Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA) and Evaluation & Accreditation of Quality in Language Services (EAQUALS). He holds an MA (TESOL) from Middlesex University, UK, and an MA English from Islamia University Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He is certified in teaching English language to adults (CELTA) by the University of Cambridge. He has also acquired Certification in Teaching Languages with Technology from Trinity College, UK. Currently, he is pursuing his EdD TESOL with the University of Exeter, UK as a part time student.
Lecturer of English, Khorog Campus
Shams Sharif is a Lecturer of English with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Previously he held the position of Document Controller/Translator for UCA’s Construction and Facilities Division in Khorog. Before joining UCA, Sharif worked as an Instructor of Academic English and Director of Studies at the Khorog English and Preparatory Programme. In addition to Sharif’s teaching experience, he holds a Master’s of Arts in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology from Khorog State University.
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Khorog Campus
Dr Kholiknazar Kuchakshoev is an Associate Professor of Mathematics based in the Khorog, Tajikistan campus. He brings over ten years of teaching experience in various higher education roles. Prior to joining UCA, Kuchakshoev worked as a Maths teacher in a gymnasium and as a Math instructor in the UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. He has taught Maths at the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University and has held various positions including Deputy Dean for Instructional Works and Vice-Executive Director for science and social issues with the Moscow State University affiliate in Dushanbe. Kuchakshoev also worked as a science researcher with the Institute of Mathematics in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Kuchakshoev holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Institute of Mathematics in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Dr. Ramzan Ali is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics with the UCA School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he was a UCA Central Asian Faculty Development Programme Fellow, Research Associate at Quaid-i-Azam University, PhD and postdoctoral researcher with the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany). He supervised numerous graduate students and taught several courses in mathematics. He serves on editorial boards and actively reviews for various international scientific journals in applied mathematics and computational science. Dr. Ali’s research interests include computational mathematics, biomathematics, fluid dynamics, non-linear partial differential equations, and material sciences. He has presented at various conferences and published number of research articles on numerical schemes for solutions of non-linear partial differential equations. Specifically, his doctoral research focused on developing a numerically stable scheme for simulation of evolving membrane on surfaces. He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany), MSc and MPhil, both in Applied Mathematics from Quaid-i-Azam University (Pakistan), and BSc from the University of the Punjab Lahore (Pakistan). He also holds a BEd from Allama Iqbal Open University (Pakistan) focusing teaching of Physics and Mathematics.
Lecturer of Mathematics, Naryn Campus
Alfred Sankoh is a Lecturer of Mathematics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, he had more than 15 years of experience teaching Mathematics at both High School and College levels. Most recently, Sankoh worked as a Mathematics Educator at the network of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan for five years. As part of his role, he provided examination techniques and skills for intellectual students preparing for Olympiad competitions and university entrance examinations including Cambridge and SAT Mathematics subject. Furthermore, he also assisted in designing and running courses geared toward improving English language Skills of local colleagues at the network. Within academia but outside of the classroom, for three years Sankoh worked as an Education Information Officer at the Department of Education and Training in Sydney, Australia. He also has contributed immensely to the development of Mathematics Education among students in the region from his work with Education consultants in South Western Sydney. He has academic and research interests in Mathematics & Statistics Education, improving teacher quality and practical applications of Mathematics & Statistics in the real world. He holds a B.Sc in Education (Mathematics/ Economics) and an M.Sc in Statistics from Njala University in Sierra Leone. He also holds an M.Sc in Public Policy & Human Development from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. Currently he is pursuing Post Graduate studies in Mathematics & Statistics from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.
Lecturer of Mathematics, Naryn Campus
Samat Turdumamatov is a Lecturer of Mathematics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining UCA, he taught General Physics, Electromagnetics for Engineers at International Alatoo University, and later Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics at Silk Road International School in Kyrgyzstan. He also was a Teaching Assistant for courses on Calculus, Applied Electromagnetics, Microwave Engineering and Antenna Theory in Turkey. He has actively collaborated with researchers in several disciplines at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) on a project titled Development of Fast and Reliable SAR and Thermal Solver for MRI. He has experience on electromagnetic simulation programmes such as FEKO, CST Microwave Studio, Ansoft HFSS and Sim4Life. Turdumamatov’s current research interests includes Microstrip patch antennas, metamaterials, frequency selective surfaces (FSS) and electromagnetic band gap (EBG) structures. He holds a Master's and Bachelor’s degree with focus on telecommunications from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department of Gaziantep University in Turkey. His Master’s thesis covered an “Analysis of Electromagnetic Band Gap (EBG) structure for Isolation Improvement of Microstrip Patch Antennas.” He has also delivered presentations and contributed abstracts and proceedings to several conferences. Samat Turdumamatov is currently a PhD Candidate and Research Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Associate Professor of Communications and Media, Naryn Campus
Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki is an Associate Professor of Communications and Media with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. She holds a PhD from Cardiff University in the United Kindgom. She has extensive experience in the Asia Pacific and former Soviet Union regions including her most recent faculty position at Unitec in the Department of Communications in New Zealand. She has also worked as the Head of Communication Arts Department at Divine World University in Papua New Guinea; Co-Head of the Department of Journalism at the American University of Kyrgyzstan; Visiting Faculty Fellow at various institutions in Georgia, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan; International Research Fellow at the Center for Pacific Islands Research at Kagoshima University, Japan; and former Research Associate at the Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology. She has professional background and academic research interests in communication for development and social change, ethnography and migrant media, journalism and media education and training in developing countries. Papoutsaki has been involved in major research projects on topics such as the state of media and communication in the 14 Pacific Islands, island communicative ecology mapping in Japan, and a project using visual methods for community dialogue and change in the context of HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea. She is a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Editor in Chief of ePress (an online scholarly open access publishing house), editorial board member of Island Studies Journal, co-founder of the Contemporary PNG Studies Journal; guest co-editor of various special journal issues; and former Reviews Editor of the Pacific Journalism Review. She has published three edited volumes on communication issues in the Pacific.
Associate Professor of Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Dr Hamid Reza Shahbazkia is an Associate Professor of Computer Science with UCA's School of Arts and Sciences. He has been working for more than 20 years in higher education institutes in different countries. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Strasbourg in France. Prior to joining UCA, he managed an Erasmus Mundus project for Iran, Iraq and Yemen from 2008 to 2013. Dr Shahbazkia also worked as a Senior Researcher for the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) from 2013 to 2015. He has been involved in the management of companies in different sectors of activity such as construction or tourism. His main research interests are image processing and artificial intelligence, and he is getting also involved in application of available high technology to sustainable development.
Dr Murodbek Laldjebaev is an Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences and Mountain Societies Research Institute. Prior to joining UCA, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he obtained his PhD in Natural Resources. Laldjebaev has held fellowships with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) and Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fellowship (CAARF), and worked as a Research Associate on undergraduate core curriculum development for UCA. Previously, he also headed curriculum development and programme evaluation for the Institute for Professional Development of teachers in Khorog, consulted the World Bank on pre-service education, and worked as a Senior Specialist with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in English Language from Khorog State University. He has also completed non-degree courses on education at the University of Saint Thomas, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Upper Canada College. His research and scholarship include energy security, energy poverty, energy sovereignty, water resources management, food sovereignty, and the energy-water-food nexus.
Visiting Faculty in Earth and Environmental Sciences
Dr David Rodgers is a Visiting Faculty in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Fulbright Scholar at UCA for the 2018-2019 academic year. A geologist who specialises in tectonics and mountain building, Dr Rodgers has spent three decades as a professor at Idaho State University (ISU), teaching earth history and processes to graduate students, undergraduate majors, and non-majors. He directed ISU's geology field camp for 15 years, developing its national reputation and earning two Outstanding Teacher awards. Rodgers maintained an externally-funded research programme leading to 35 peer-reviewed publications and an equal number of graduate theses as advisor. In 1994, he was a Fulbright scholar at Sultan Qaboos University (Oman) and in 2004 he was a visiting scientist at Victoria University (New Zealand). Dr Rodgers served as Chair of ISU Geosciences for a number of years and, more recently, as Associate Dean of the ISU College of Science & Engineering. He holds a PhD from Stanford University, and a BA from Carleton College, both in geology.
Associate Professor of Economics, Khorog Campus
Dr Brahim Fezzani is an Associate Professor of Economics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, he taught several courses in economics, business and entrepreneurship at graduate and undergraduate levels at several universities including the inter alia Lexington Community College, Kentucky and University of Kentucky in the United States, Universite Arabe des Sciences in Tunisia, Academy of Advanced Studies and University of Libya, University of Kurdistan-Hewler in Iraq; Taylor University in Malaysia; KIMEP, International IT University, University of International Business in Kazakhstan, and A'Sharqiyah University in Oman. He developed and launched a "Team Entrepreneurship" course taught at a university in Oman, a first in the Middle East in North Africa. Dr Fezzani has held academic leadership positions (Director of Postgraduate studies, Head of Division of Accounting and Finance Department, Acting Dean) and non-academic leadership positions (Head of Economics and Statistics Department, Ministry, Director of Consultancy Center for Agricultural Projects, Consultancy for ACARTSOD, a sponsored UN-ECA and African-Union Agency). His research interests include quantitative socio-economic issues, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has authored several articles in peer-reviewed international journals, conducted business surveys in Kurdistan, Iraq, and is now writing a textbook on "Economics under Uncertainty". Dr Fezzani has worked with governmental authorities for consultancy missions regarding economic pricing policies in Tunisia and ACARTSOD in Libya. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky, USA and an Maitrise in es-Sciences Economiques from the Universite of Aix-Marseille II, France. He has also attended several short courses, workshops and trainings on team learning, agricultural development, and entrepreneurship at several international universities in Finland, the United States and Oman. He speaks fluent English, French and Arabic.
Associate Professor of Economics, Naryn Campus
Dr Shabnam Lutafali is an Associate Professor of Economics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. She has taught at various universities internationally including McGill University (Canada), University of Houston-Downtown, University of St. Thomas (USA), and others in Japan, South Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Dr Lutafali was Associate Dean at the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahad University in Saudi Arabia. She also taught at the University of Maryland University College – Asia through face to face learning, streaming online and conducting classes at US Military bases in Okinawa, Kanto Plains and Seoul from 2014 to 2018. She has published papers on topics such as robots, automation and sustainable development; multi-dimensional poverty and expanding role of microfinance institutions; economic and ecological partnership; globalization in south Asian countries, and south Asian urban slums. In her research pursuits, she was Senior Research Fellow at the Mehboob ul Huq Human Development Center in Islamabad. Dr Lutafali also was a Scholar-in-Residence at Sindh Development Studies Center, University of Sind, associated with the Left Bank Outfall Drainage (LBOD) Project sponsored by World Bank and Global Affairs Canada (formerly CIDA). In her civic commitments, she was a member on the advisory Board of Bonuik Center, Rice University and member of Houston Mayor Bill White’s “International Affairs and Development Council for South Asia.” Her community and voluntary services include helping Afghan refugees settled in their new homeland of Canada in early 1990s. She has also served as President of the Aga Khan Council for Southwestern United States. Dr Lutafali holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Notre Dame, USA and Masters from New York University.
Assistant Professor of History, Khorog Campus
Dr Sultonbek Aksakolov is an Assistant Professor of History with the UCA School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he held research positions with the Institute of Humanities in Khorog (Tajikistan), Uppsala University (Sweden), and the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) (UK). Most recently, Dr Aksakolov completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the IIS. There, he led workshops to develop the capacity of local researchers and supported grant applications by postgraduate students researching Pamiri ethnography. He also lectured graduate students and was a teaching assistant at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Islamic Studies under the Office of the President of Tajikistan. Previously he was a consultant with the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation, Tajikistan. He is on the UK-based Chevening Scholarships Reading Committee and is a principal examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organisation (UK). His research interests include the history of Soviet Central Asia, state policy and Islam, intellectual and social developments in the region. He has authored articles on Ismailia of Central Asia, education and development challenges in the region. Dr Aksakolov holds a PhD in History from SOAS, University of London and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. He has a graduate certificate in Islamic Studies and Humanities from IIS, as well as a Bachelors degree in Tajik Philology from the Khorog State University.
Senior Lecturer of History, Naryn Campus
Rebekah Ramsay is a Senior Lecturer of History with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, she taught Central Asian history at the undergraduate level, and regularly volunteered teaching English as a Foreign Language. Ramsay has received fellowships from Emory University and the American Councils for International Education. Her current research focuses on the cultural revolution in early Soviet Kazakhstan, based on archival research from Almaty, Semey, and Shymkent. She has also begun preliminary research on the role of Soviet Central Asia in 20th century Muslim internationalism. She holds a Master of Arts in History from Emory University, USA, where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate.
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Khorog Campus
Dr Zulfiya Bakhtibekova is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Khorog Campus with a joint appointment in the Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI). Dr Bakhtibekova has held fellowships with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) and the Open Society Institute. Prior to joining UCA, she worked at the Aga Khan Foundation as an Education Project Assistant. Dr Bakhtibekova was also a National Coordinator on Social Protection Component and worked on United Nations Development Programme projects and with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Tajikistan. She also has teaching experience at the undergraduate level from the University of Exeter. She has over six years of extensive research experience with a major focus on Central Asia. Dr Bakhtibekova’s research interests include poverty, uncertainty, gender relationships, family dynamics, women and men’s lives and experiences in Central Asia. She holds a PhD in Sociology from University of Exeter, a Master’s degree from Columbia University, USA and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Arabic Languages, Faculty of Foreign Languages from Khorog University.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences; Research Assistant to the Director General, Research Fellow to the Institute of Public Policy and Administration
Dr Kemel Toktomushev is a Research Fellow with UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration and an Assistant Professor of Political Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Dr Toktomushev has held a fellowship with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP). He has extensive experience in both Western and Central Asian environments, and his primary research interests focus on regime security, virtual politics, and the informal political economy of Central Asia. Toktomushev is the author of Kyrgyzstan – Regime Security and Foreign Policy published by Routledge, United Kingdom. Toktomushev holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter and a Master of Science in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is also a Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education alumnus.
University Librarian, Naryn Campus
Michell Hackwelder brings to UCA over twenty years’ experience in the areas of information literacy, scholarly communication, acquisitions and technical services. She has extensive administrative experience and has managed public, school, university and special libraries in the United States and the Arabian Gulf. Prior to joining UCA, Ms Hackwelder served as the Head Librarian of MISK Schools. Over the past fifteen years, she worked as an ARMACO consultant, a Data Librarian for King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, and was the Head Librarian at Northwestern University in Qatar. She holds a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh and is certified as an ISO Auditor, School Media Specialist and Social Studies teacher. As an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland University College, she also taught face to face, online and hybrid classes in the arts and humanities. Ms Hackwelder is interested in ways in which libraries may develop digital platforms to widen access to cultural heritage and research. This includes work to develop, sustain and promote digital scholarship across, campus, regional and national communities.
Ahmad Ali SHAH
Campus Librarian, Naryn Campus
Ahmad Ali Shah is the UCA Naryn Campus Librarian. He has over 14 years of experience and professional practice specialising as a librarian of reference, collection development and information literacy. Prior to joining UCA, he served as an Associate Librarian with the Aga Khan University (AKU) Faculty of Health Sciences Library. He has also worked with the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, Fatima Jinnah Dental College, Aga Khan Education Services, Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the AKU-Institute for Educational Development in Pakistan. Shah holds a dual Master’s degrees in Library and Information Sciences and International Relations from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.
Library Coordinator, Naryn Campus
Askhat Muratzhan is UCA’s Library Coordinator. Prior to joining UCA, Muratzhan worked as a Coordinator and Information Technology Specialist with the S. Orozbakov Naryn Oblast Library American Corner. Previously, he was an instructor with UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education in Naryn. He taught English language at the Naryn Development and Teaching Centre. He holds a Diploma in Philological Education from Naryn State University and pursued Accounting at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Aigerim Miyatova leads UCA’s undergraduate recruitment efforts in its three founding states. She began her career in American University of Central Asia’s (AUCA) Admissions and Recruitment Officein Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, where she gained valuable experience in the planning, management and execution of local and international recruitment initiatives. Aigerim holds a Bachelor of Arts in International and Comparative Politics from AUCA and a Master of Arts in Educational and Cultural Policy from the University of Tsukuba, Japan.
Erik Krauss manages student life at UCA. He has spent much of his career providing student services in an international context, including at the Emerson College European Centre, Netherlands and at New York University in Florence, Italy. Prior to joining UCA, Krauss was responsible for selecting Central American applicants for the Walton International Scholarship programme at the University of the Ozarks and mentoring them during their studies. He also served as Dean of Student Development, Brescia University and Director of International Education, Drew University. Krauss holds degrees from the University of Portland, Eastern Washington University and Cornell University.
University Counsellor, Khorog Campus
Robin Higgins is based at UCA’s Khorog campus. Prior to joining UCA, Higgins worked with Canada’s Selkirk College for 12 years, where she provided personal and career counselling as well as course advise. She served as Selkirk’s Trauma Assistance Team coordinator and Status of Women Committee’s Union Representative. Higgins was part of the design team for her provincial Healthy Minds/Healthy Campus project. A passionate advocate for student engagement and wellness, Higgins piloted residential projects in nutrition, creativity and community building. She trained campus residence advisors in suicide awareness, communications and leadership skills. Before working at Selkirk College, Higgins worked as a youth mental health clinician and provided counselling for women and children who experienced violence. Higgins holds a Masters in Counselling from the University of Victoria, Canada. In addition, she is a certified English as a Second Language instructor, high school English teacher and undertaken Mediation and Mindfulness Based Art Therapy and Stress Reduction Training.
Assistant Manager of Student Affairs, Khorog Campus
Shabana Manji holds an undergraduate degree in Humanities from the University of Lethbridge and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Royal Roads University. Prior to joining UCA, Manji worked at the Aga Khan Foundation, Canada as a Public Affairs Coordinator. She has also worked in various capacities with students and university administration at Mount Royal University, the University of Lethbridge and the Government of Alberta. In addition, Manji is also certified in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Student Life Advisor, Naryn Campus
Asylbek Abdikarimov holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Kyrgyz National Univeristy. Prior to joining to UCA, Abdikarimov worked in private sector including fast-moving consumer goods retail and e-commerce. He is also a member of the Association of Social Entrepreneurs of Kyrgyzstan where he supports the local start-up ecosystem by promoting youth entrepreneurship and organising business training for youth in the region.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Davis Cooper is a Student Life Advisor at UCA’s Khorog Campus. He has been working in the field of youth development and pedagogy since the age of 16. He started his journey as a camp counsellor, a summer occupation which he continues to do in his spare time up to this day. Cooper has also been involved with designing the curriculum for, and teaching children aged 1-6, as well as tutoring students up to the age of 18 in math, English and sciences. Over the past four years, he has been part of the UCA Summer Upgrading Camp, where he was a camp counsellor for three years. In 2018, he joined the camp’s senior staff team, and assisted to direct and manage the 17-day camp programme for Grade 10 students. He holds a Diploma in Media Technology and Media Management from Die Graphische, a renowned design school in Vienna.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Bonu Hafizova holds a Linguistics degree with cum laude honours from the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Prior to joining UCA, Hafizova worked as Executive Director with the Tajik Community Based Tourism Association and ACTED, an international non-governmental organisation. She led the Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP) Debate Club in Khorog and was a trainer.
Aigul Kantoro Kyzy holds a BA (International Relations) from the Kyrgyz Turkish Manas University. Prior to joining UCA, she worked at the Beyond Investment Group. Kantoro was previously a UCA Summer Camp counsellor and has tutored in English. She was an intern with the Red Crescent National Society, the Women Support Centre, and Central Asian Research Centre in Kyrgyzstan.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Sheroz Naimov holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism, Tajik language and Literature from the Khorog State University, Tajikistan. Prior to joining UCA, Naimov worked as Coordinator of the American Corner in Khorog and was Director Jahoni Mo, a public organisation. Since 2008, he facilitated at national summer camps and the Global Encounters, an international youth camp.
Dr Anna Hughes serves as the University Registrar. She brings extensive knowledge of the post-secondary academic environment. Prior to joining UCA, Dr Hughes worked as Registrar at a community college and at a liberal arts and sciences university in Canada and at a large technological institute in the United Arab Emirates. As Registrar, Dr Hughes led enrolment services operations overseeing recruitment, admissions, enrolment, academic progression, academic and career advising, prior learning assessment and recognition, academic policies and procedures, enrolment, progression and graduation, and student records. She was also chairing several institutional committees and served as a member of the institutional Strategic Enrolment Management Committee. Dr Hughes’ record reflects her devotion to the imperatives of successful learner-centered services: putting learners first while adhering to the integrity principles and providing excellent services to all constituencies and stakeholders of an institution and beyond. Dr Hughes holds a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Leadership from Walden University, USA, a Master of Arts degree in International Development from the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Economics and Engineering from Omsk, Russia.
Dr Gulnara Dzunushalieva supervises all activities and personnel of SPCE in the three countries, including administering the development, coordination, maintenance, and evaluation for the educational programme. She has built support with local communities and international organisations and has ensured quality of activities. Prior to joining UCA, she was Director of Bishkek International School of Management and Business (MBA programme) under Academy of Management of President of Kyrgyz Republic and Manager of Economy Department of Kyrgyz State National University, ITPS. Dr Dzunushalieva holds an MBA, and a degree in economic science, and is a Certified International Professional Accountant.
Dilovar Butabekov is Deputy Director of the School of Professional and Continuing Education with responsibility of Tajikistan and Afghanistan programmes and campus head of Khorog. Butabekov has had a long career with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), having started as a junior staff member in the AKDN office in Khorog, and then progressed to the position of Administration Manager for the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Tajikistan and Director of Administration for AKF, Tajikistan. Butabekov holds an Executive MBA (with merit) from the Bradford University School of Management, a Diploma in Economics from the School of Entrepreneurship, Ukraine, and a degree in Civil Aviation Engineering from the Kyiv Civil Aviation Engineering Institute.
Dr Roman Mogilevskii coordinates the Institute of Public Policy and Administration at UCA. He has extensive experience researching trade policy, public finance, and macroeconomics in Central Asia and Central Europe. He has also participated in the implementation of research, advisory and training programs across the CIS and has published numerous papers on the issues of regional cooperation and economic policy. Dr Mogilevskii has held advisory positions at a variety of international organizations operating in Central Asia, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the European Commission. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Social and Economic Research in Kyrgyzstan (CASE-Kyrgyzstan). Dr Mogilevskii holds a Candidate of Sciences degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Institute of Mechanics of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and a degree in Engineering and Economics from the Frunze Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova coordinates the Cultural Heritage & Humanities Unit at the University of Central Asia (UCA) and is an Associate Professor of the School of Arts and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington and is one of the leading cultural anthropologists in the region. She has edited books and authored articles on Central Asian music, oral traditions, Islam and nomadic cultures. She has presented extensively at international conferences and lectured on Central Asian Islam, Kyrgyz musical and oral traditions, nomadic life and funeral customs at leading universities and research centres including Harvard University’s Central Asian Studies Group, the University of Chicago’s Central Asian Studies Society and Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Dr. Köchümkulova’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary significance of traditions and customs in Turkic Central Asia. She is the co-editor of the UCA/Aga Khan Music Initiative textbook Music of Central Asia: An Introduction, contributing several chapters on Kyrgyz oral tradition and music and taught the UCA pilot course based on the textbook. She served as scholarly editor and coordinated the production of a seminal two-volume collection Kyrgyz Küüs: Analysis, Thoughts, and Opinions (in Kyrgyz language), the first scholarly text on Kyrgyz instrumental music authored by Asan Kaybïlda uulu and published by the UCA Cultural Heritage Book Series. Dr. Köchümkulova is currently working on several books on topics ranging from Kyrgyz national identity to Kyrgyz funeral lamentations. She speaks six languages and is an accomplished musician and composer, having performed widely across the United States and Central Asia.
Director of Legal Affairs
Nurzhan Albanov is the Director of Legal Affairs at the University of Central Asia. Prior to joining UCA, Albanov worked as a Senior Associate with Dentons Kazakhstan. He specialises in corporate law, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, natural resources and other fields of law. His expertise is dedicated to consulting major mining, oil and gas companies and financial organisations on conducting business in both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In addition to numerous in-house professional training courses at Dentons, Albanov also completed sustainable development courses at California University, USA. Albanov graduated from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, Kyrgyzstan and the Frankfurt am Main University Institute for Law and Finance in Germany.
Head of Internal Audit
Shameer Muljiani heads the Internal Audit Department at UCA and reports to the Audit Committee. Prior to joining UCA, he worked with global and regional multinational corporations in Canada, Hong Kong, Qatar and India. In recent years, Muljiani has been a member of top management providing presentations to the Board of Directors and Audit Committee. He has extensive knowledge and experience of Internal Audit, Risk Management, Compliance & Information Systems. Throughout his career, Muljiani has developed risk management frameworks, compliance frameworks, managed internal audit assignments, led data analytics team, headed an insurance audit specialist team, and performed various information technology audits and business consulting assignments. He has facilitated technology development in different business units and processes. Muljiani has delivered internal control workshops and various skill-based trainings. He is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Chartered Accountant (CA).
Parviz Alidodkhonov joined the University of Central Asia in 2009. As Head of Administration, he is responsible for procurement, supply processes, travel, transportation, policy and regulations. He oversees the administrative function of the University across all three countries – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic. Before joining UCA, from 2002 – 2004, Parviz worked for the Aga Khan Foundation, Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, and with FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance from 2004 – 2005, managing their procurement and logistics. Parviz successfully completed an MBA with the American University of Central Asia in 2015. He also has a BSc in Philology from the Tajik-Russian Slavonic University.
Dr Salim Sumar leads UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme. Dr Sumar has worked in various senior positions in academia and international development across Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. Educated in the United Kingdom, he spent over two decades in academia in the field of Food, Nutrition and Public Health where he held various senior appointments including Professor, Chair, Director of Postgraduate Studies, Research Centre and Head of School. Over this period, he has supervised numerous PhD and postdoctoral studies globally, presented and published extensively as well as served on editorial boards of various international academic journals. Dr Sumar has established new teaching and research institutions globally, validated courses and conducted quality audits in teaching and research. He has previously worked in global emergency response with various governments, UN agencies and AKDN-FOCUS, serving as its Global Coordinator for Research & Learning.
Raikhan Sissekenova has served as UCA’s Government and Public Relations Representative in Kazakhstan since 2009. Prior to that, she was engaged in start-up activities for the University and served as Head of the School of Professional and Continuing Education in Tekeli. Sissekenova brings significant research, programme implementation and legal experience to UCA from various sectors. She provided scientific support to the Kazakh Health of the Nation programme from 1999 to 2001, participated in national social and demographic surveys from 1999 to 2003, and contributed to the development of several legislative bills. Sissekenova is trained as a medical doctor and has a degree in medical sciences, public health and management. She has also studied social management in Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. Sissekenova has published extensively, including articles in scientific publications and three manuals on public health, legal issues and education.
Dr. Davlatkadam Khushkadamov graduated from the Sadriddin Aini Tajik State Pedagogical University in Dushanbe, with a major in teaching Social Science and History. He holds a Candidate of Sciences in Philosophy. Prior to joining UCA, Dr. Khushkadamov worked as Government Relations Manager with the Aga Khan Development Network, Tajikistan. Previously, he held different positions with the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and State agencies including; Assistant to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan; First Deputy Governor of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast; Head of Department of Science with the Ministry of Trade and Economy. He was also Deputy Chief Editor of the Tajik Soviet Encyclopedia. Dr. Khushkadamov has written numerous articles and monographs. He is also a member of the International Union of Journalists and a Peace Ambassador.
Campus Head, SPCE Naryn
Nurbek Nisharapov serves as Campus Head of the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Naryn. A Naryn native, he graduated from the Toktogul Satylganov School and pursued a Master's in Foreign Languages at Naryn State University. After graduating with honours in 2008, Nisharapov moved to Taiwan to study Applied Linguistics and Academic English at the Yuan Ze University. He joined UCA in 2011 as a Communications Intern. Nishaprapov was later promoted to Assistant Manager of Academic Affairs at SPCE Naryn, where he coordinated the Change the World Around You Social Entrepreneurship project, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. He took over as Manager of Academic Affairs in 2013 and was named Head of SPCE Naryn in August 2016.
From 2009-2014, Bakhytzhan Sametayev was the Outreach Coordinator for the School of Professional and Continuing Education, Tekeli. In this capacity, he established strong relations with the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund in Almaty to support entrepreneurs and businessmen. Prior to joining UCA, he was a civil servant with the Almaty region Finance Department. He also served as Head of of Information Technology and Internal Auditor. He frequently speaks at regional conferences and lectures on topics such as national support for Initial Public Offerings and support for businesses in small towns. Sametayev holds a Bachelor's degree from the Gorno-Altay State University, Russia and is currently completing his Master's degree in Economics at the Moscow Witte University.