The Naryn Vice-Governor, Chinara Abdraimakunova and the University of Central Asia (UCA) Board Executive Committee (BEC) visited its main campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic.
During their tour on 4 July 2014, they reviewed current progress of the University’s Phase 1 construction on a spectacular site just outside town on the Naryn river bank. UCA is building a fully residential university that will open in September 2016 and offer international standard Bachelor’s programmes in Computer Sciences, and Economics.
Board Executive members were briefed on how construction targets were met, including the engagement of local contractors, and a workforce made up of primarily Naryn residents. They examined the concrete works on the main academic building and the excavations for dormitory blocks; and observed the operation of the stone crushing, cement batching plant and other equipment. They toured the international standard facility for the workforce, which includes a cafeteria that services up to 130 employees in one sitting.
The Board then visited the School of Professional and Continuing Education, in Naryn Town that offers programmes and courses leading to professional qualifications and skills improvement reaching over 16,000 course participants in Naryn since its inception in 2006.
They were then briefed by Dr Kubat Tabaldyev, Manas University, and the country’s leading archeologist on the historical preservation dimension of UCA’s site development. UCA engaged Dr Tabaldyev and his team of professors and students from other universities to produce an archeological map of the territory and excavate the relevant sites.
Excavations have shown through carbon dating that the valley, where the UCA campus is being constructed, has seen continuous settlement since the Stone Age (over 100,000 years old). University buildings are being constructed on land parcels that have no historical importance, and there is continuous archeological monitoring of the construction process.
Archeological excavations on the UCA site will continue in the years ahead, and will be integrated into undergraduate courses on cultural heritage offering students a unique opportunity for hands-on historical and archaeological exploration.
Addressing BEC Members, Vice-Governor Abdraimakunova noted, “We are grateful to UCA for its commitment to develop Naryn Oblast. I am pleased with recent construction developments, and the archeological findings on site are important for preserving our heritage. For posterity, we will support efforts to create a historical-cultural centre on the site for future generations.”
The University’s BEC consists of Executive Chairman Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Head of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Representation, Kyrgyz Republic and Founding former President of the Aga Khan University; and members Dr Shafik Sachedina, Director of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diplomatic Department; Naguib Kheraj, prominent United Kingdom (UK) banker, Board member of the UK National Health Service and the Prince of Wales Trust; and Nizar Shariff, who has coordinated some 50 constructions projects for the AKDN. The Committee oversees the development of campuses in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan whose governments, founded the University under an International Treaty, with His Highness the Aga Khan.
"His Highness the Aga Khan, and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic want to ensure that the Naryn campus opens on time. Through common efforts we will realize this audacious project of a high quality university in a mountain community that will contribute to the economic development of the Naryn region and beyond, by educating graduates with the ability and motivation to become singular actors in their chosen fields,” said Kassim-Lakha, BEC Executive Chair.
In meetings with the Vice-Governor and BEC, UCA Director General, Dr Bohdan Krawchenko emphasized, “We will provide world-class facilities and excellent faculty. But we are also working hard to deliver programmes to prepare talented students, especially from mountain communities, to master a very challenging curriculum that will place them on the same level as graduates from the best universities of the world. A quality university is in large part determined by the quality of its students.”