Central Asia’s Newest University at Jaipur Literature Festival to Champion Liberal Arts and Discuss its Role in Rejuvenating the Silk Route

Date: 19 January 2017
Other languages: Русский язык |
The University of Central Asia (UCA), spread across three campuses along the Silk Route, is participating in this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival to discuss the role of Science, the Liberal Arts, and higher education in modern nation-building. Dr Matt T. Reed, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation UK representing UCA in Jaipur, will join a panel on 21st January, Saturday at 1:40pm at the Cox & Kings Charbagh to debate the topic ‘Building a Country: Science or the Liberal Arts?’

UCA: A first for Central Asia. Providing under/graduate courses in the Sciences and the Liberal Arts to produce Central Asia’s future leaders

UCA is a bold partnership between the governments of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and the Aga Khan Development Network to establish a new, comprehensive university for Central Asia, with campuses in each country. UCA has a unique approach to learning that combines a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education to build critical thinking, analytic and technical skills and an experiential education to give students practical opportunities to apply what they learn to real-world problems.

A core curriculum exposes all students to modes of thought and methods of inquiry in the Liberal arts, Social Sciences and Sciences. It includes teaching of ethics across the curriculum to support the moral reasoning that students need to become responsible, civic-minded citizens. 

By offering a world-class education in traditional Science and Technology disciplines as well as the Liberal Arts, UCA’s aim is produce the next generation of Central Asia’s leaders with the skills and creative thinking needed to respond to regional and global challenges and opportunities. Ultimately, its graduates will contribute significantly to the future prosperity of the wider Central Asian region.

Rejuvenating the Silk Route
UCA’s objective is to establish a world-class regional university at the heart of Central Asia. In September 2016, UCA’s first campus opened in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic, with its second campus scheduled to open in Khorog, Tajikistan in 2017, followed thereafter by Tekeli, Kazakhstan. 

The campuses, which each lie 150 miles from the border of China, are deliberately located on the Silk Route, a historic trade and transportation route that facilitated the global exchange of goods, cultures and ideas. Just as the Silk Route brought learning and prosperity to Central Asia, UCA aims to catalyse an intellectual and economic transformation in the region, especially for its remote and marginalised mountain communities. 

UCA’s initial investment in the region amounts to some US$285 million with a projected economic impact of over US$750 million. The three campuses are creating 1,800 construction jobs – 98% of the workers and 80% of the engineers are from local communities. Over 40% of work packages have been won by local contractors. The university will employ 300 new faculty and staff, with over 80% of these positions filled by Central Asians.

With this injection of financial capital, development of local human resources and investment in future leaders, UCA aims to breathe new life and energy into the region and sets an important milestone in the rejuvenation of the ancient Silk Route.