UCA Quick Facts

One University, Three Countries

  • UCA is a residential mountain university providing an international standard of higher education to create knowledgeable, skilled and creative graduates who will contribute leadership, ideas and innovations to the region.
  • UCA is the first internationally chartered university in the world and Central Asia's first regional university with fully residential campuses in three countries.
  • The University was founded in 2000 through an International Treaty and Charter and ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations.
  • The Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan are the Patrons of the University and His Highness the Aga Khan is the Chancellor.
  • UCA programmes focus on key social and economic issues facing the region, particularly its mountain communities.

Socio-economic Mission & Impact

UCA's mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, while helping the different peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural traditions and heritages as assets for the future.

Undergraduate Education, Continuing Education & Research

UCA provides rigorous and relevant educational programmes through the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE).

UCA's School of Arts and Sciences benefits from regional and international faculty, including scholars from its Research Institutes, established under the Graduate School of Development. When the first undergraduate class graduates in 2021, UCA plans to launch the Graduate School's first interdisciplinary master's programme.

The University provides additional initiatives to build teaching and scholarly capacity in the region through:

Not-for-Profit University

UCA is an expensive endeavour, requiring the support of many. The Ggovernments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan have all contributed land and extended various fiscal benefits. They will continue to support UCA's fund-raising efforts over time. His Highness the Aga Khan has already contributed a total of $15 million for an endowment fund which will be expanded. International donor agencies, governments, foundations, corporations and individuals are supporting UCA through material and intellectual resources.

Alongside a $64.4 million commitment from the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), including $7.5 million from the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States Government's development finance institution has extended $30 million to complete Phase I construction of UCA’s Khorog campus. This support marks OPIC's second partnership with AKDN, following financing to expand the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi, Pakistan.

Secular-based Education

UCA is a secular institution of higher education embracing no religion or creed and open to men and women of all faiths and traditions, or no religious beliefs, purely based on merit.

UCA operates within a framework of values that espouses academic excellence, individual rights and security, responsibility to community and public service, and ethical and transparent operations of government and business.

Fully Residential Campuses

In September 2016, UCA opened its first residential campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic. The Khorog, Tajikistan campus is expected to open in September 2017 and Tekeli, Kazakhstan anticipated in 2019. When fully operational, the campuses will serve 3,600 students, 1,200 per campus.

Phase I of the Naryn campus accommodates 150 students featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, a library, laboratories and faculty and staff residences. Secure, modular student dormitories create comfortable living and learning spaces. UCA's athletic facilities, including football pitches and tennis courts, are open to the public, encouraging student-community interaction. The sports dome will host indoor athletics year-round.


UCA is built on partnerships that promote the exchange of information and resources, the creation of opportunities and the pursuit of excellence in higher education in Central Asia and beyond. Our partnerships cross political borders and sectors. Generous financial support from the region's governments, the international donor community, philanthropists and His Highness the Aga Khan have enabled the University to undertake this ambitious endeavour.

UCA designed its first year preparatory programme in partnership with Seneca College in Canada. UCA's undergraduate curriculum is developed in partnership with the University of Toronto (Computer Science), the University of British Columbia (Earth and Environmental Sciences), the National Research University’s Higher School of Economics (Economics) and other world renowned universities for each major and minor specialisation. UCA has also partnered with the University of Victoria to develop an innovative co-operative education programme.


  • UCA will be governed by a Board of Trustees to be appointed by the Chancellor and Patrons of the University.
  • • Shamsh Kassim-Lakha Chairman of the UCA Board of Trustees is leading the planning and building of UCA's three campuses in Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.
  • The Management Executive Committee oversees the University's broad scale of operations, from academics and research to administration and construction.

Key Stats

learners trained by the School of Professional and Continuing Education across 12 locations in Central Asia and Afghanistan

students across 80 universities / colleges were taught humanities by 780 instructors through the Aga Khan Humanities Project (2011-2016)

publications produced by the Mountain Societies Research Institute, Institute of Public Policy and Administration and the Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit

civil servants trained in governance and public policy in Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Afghanistan

* Last Updated February 2016

This website uses cookies
Cookies are small text files held on your computer. They allow us to give you the best browsing experience possible and mean we can understand how you use our site.
Some cookies have already been set. You can delete and block cookies but parts of our site won't work without them.
By using our website you accept our use of cookies.
No, I want to find out more Yes, I agree