UCA Research Programme Update: April 2011
UCA Researchers Around the World
UCA serves as Central Asia Regional Focal Point at Inception Meeting for Rio+20 Assessment of Progress on Sustainable Mountain Development
The University of Central Asia was selected as the focal point to produce a Central Asia regional report assessing progress on sustainable mountain development since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as a steering committee member of the Mountain Partnership Consortium. UCA is also host of the decentralized hub of the international networks Mountain Partnership and Mountain Forum.
From 21 to 23February 2011, UCA participated in a three-day inception meeting in Rome, to further develop the purpose and structure of the regional and global reports. The Central Asian and other regional reports will be presented at a global conference in Switzerland in October 2011, and will be synthesized into a document that will be used to influence delegates of the UN Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in 2012. The regional and eventual global report will:
- Assess efforts to promote sustainable mountain development since 1992 in different mountain systems of the world;
- Analyze the effectiveness of various initiatives;
- Identify challenges and strategies to address them in the context of mountains;
- Identify the role of different stakeholders; and
- Propose a plan of action to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable mountain development.
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UCA Anthropologist presents on Kyrgyz Funeral Customs at Lecture Series on Islam and Society in Central Asia in Berlin
On 22 February, UCA anthropologist Dr Elmira Kochumkulova presented a paper on Re-Islamization in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: A Case Study of Kyrgyz Funeral Customs at a new lecture series on Islam and Society in Central Asia at Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin.
Dr Kochumkulova’s presentation described the structure and essential aspects of Kyrgyz funerals and memorial feasts. Focusing on the interplay between time-honoured Kyrgyz nomadic customs and adopted Islamic traditions, Dr Kochumkulova described rituals including erecting a yurt, the main structure around which most funerary rituals are conducted, lamentations and memorial feast offerings. The presentation included photographs and video clips of funerals and memorial feasts recorded during Dr. Kuchomkulova’s ethnographic research in the Aksi region, South Kyrgyzstan. The lecture was well-attended by researchers from ZMO, the Max Plank Institute and universities around Berlin, including students from the Kyrgyz Republic.
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Mountain Women Conference in Utah
From 7 to 9 March 2011, Elbegzaya Batjargal, Regional Programme Officer for Mountain Partnership/Mountain Forum (MP/MF), which is hosted at UCA, participated in the 2nd International Conference on Mountain Women at Utah Valley University in Orem, USA. She introduced the documentary Central Asian Mountain Communities and Climate Change: Global Challenges and Local Perspectives on local level adaptation practices to changing climate in Central Asia, which was produced by Environmental Filming Group, Kyrgyz Republic and funded by MP Secretariat/MF. Over 130 people attended the conference, which aimed to raise awareness and promote action on women and gender issues and sustainable mountain development, including UN Ambassadors from Nepal, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and the former Ambassador from Kyrgyz Republic to the US and Canada. The conference provided an opportunity for MP members from the US Rocky Mountain region to explore closer cooperation within and beyond the region.
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UCA 2011 Public Lecture Series Kicks Off
2011 marks the third year of UCA Research Programme’s Public Lecture Series.
Rural Youth in a Context of Changing Education, Learning and Work Conditions in the Kyrgyz Republic
On 29 March, UCA Central Asian Faculty Development (CAFDP) Fellow, Rakhat Zholdoshalieva presented on The Experience of Rural Youth in a Context of Changing Education, Learning and Work Conditions in the Kyrgyz Republic, based on her doctoral research. In societies in transition, typical relationships between education and labor markets experience complex adjustments, including the expansion of informal economies serviced by both informal learning and formal education. These alternative fields of learning and work influence traditional education/labor market relations. The lecture described preliminary analysis and findings of a qualitative research project study on these dynamics during the complex transition of post-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. Ms Zholdoshalieva is a doctoral candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Canada. She received her undergraduate degree from Osh State University, and her Master of Education in Teacher Education from the Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development in Karachi, Pakistan. Rakhat has worked at Osh State University (Kyrgyz Republic) and the Aga Khan University, Pakistan, and has authored articles and book chapters on teacher development, citizenship education and action research.
Kyrgyz Life Cycle Rituals
On 5 April, Abdymitalip Murzakmetov, professor of Kyrgyz language and literature at Osh State University, presented on Kyrgyz Life Cycle Rituals. These rituals, which mark key lifetime events, such as the birth and growth of a child, marriage and death, encompass ancient worldviews, beliefs and values, and traditional knowledge on pedagogy and medicine, and can be considered an “oral constitution.” The lecture discussed findings of ethnographic field research conducted in southern Kyrgyzstan over the last ten years. Professor Murzakmetov holds a Candidate Nauk degree in History and wrote his dissertation on Kyrgyz rituals related to child birth and growth. He is the author of two books, Kyrgyz Beliefs and Rituals (2005) and The Dictionary of Kyrgyz Idioms and Phrases, (2000), and over 70 articles.
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