UCA News - Issue 63
On 25 October 2010, Carleton University and the University of Central Asia (UCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an event hosted by Aga Khan Foundation Canada at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa. Attended by over 60 guests, the event also included a discussion and reception to mark the launch of this important new partnership.
Earlier this year, the Dean of Graduate Studies at Carleton University approved funding for two doctoral students to enroll in a four-year Public Policy PhD course. Upon graduation, the students will be offered initial teaching positions at the University of Central Asia. The generosity of Carleton’s programme will contribute to the capacity building of the region’s scholars, and launch a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship between the two universities.
In the true spirit of partnership, Carleton University President, Dr. Roseann Runte reflected that, “one might say that Carleton has been very generous in making it possible for students to come over and study and provide some scholarships, but I think we will be the ones who will be enriched by their presence, because whenever you give you receive, and whenever you share your knowledge, you learn more.”
Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General of UCA, echoed President Runte’s sentiments, and spoke to the bold vision for the University of Central Asia. “We have a unique opportunity because we are doing this in the 21st century,” he said. “We can do cutting edge pedagogy; we can do cutting edge programmes. So the idea is not to just be a good international university in Central Asia, but really be outstanding by any measure of international comparison.”
Following remarks from Dr. Runte and Dr. Krawchenko, a panel discussion focused on sustainable human development in Central Asia and building on institutional capacities. Dr. Leslie Pal, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University reflected that “you need to provide a platform for at least exposing universities as well as other players about better techniques for doing policy, and doing evidence-based research.” The emphasis on best practices, learning, and research was echoed by Dr. Nasreen Dhanani, Deputy Director and Director of Research, University of Central Asia who said that, “In order to make the curriculum more relevant, you have to be exposed to the research. So, why not start generating knowledge immediately?”
To launch its academic programmes, UCA is investing in a cadre of Central Asian academics who can deliver UCA’s teaching programmes and conduct requisite research. The University has set a target of having 80 percent of its faculty comprising Central Asian nationals with top international academic credentials from partner universities in the United Kingdom, Asia and North America.
The launch of the new programme with Carleton University was reported in local media, including a feature story in the The Ottawa Citizen (29 October), Carleton University’s The Charlaton, as well as several online news bulletins, such as Academica Today.
The signing ceremony was held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, located in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa that was established by His Highness the Aga Khan and opened in December, 2008. The Delegation—a secular facility—hosts events, lectures, workshops and exhibits that reflect the wide-ranging humanistic and humanitarian agenda of the Aga Khan Development Network. The Delegation offers a centre for building relationships, enabling quiet diplomacy, and disseminating knowledge and information.