Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Dr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Asia (UCA). From June 2014 to September 2018, he was responsible for leading the planning, building and operation of the campuses and programmes of the University across all three of its Founding States. Dr Kassim-Lakha has a long association with UCA.
He served as co-chair of the Commission on the Establishment of an International Institution of Higher Education, a distinguished panel of international and regional members who in 1988 developed the concept for the University. In 2000, he was involved in the negotiations of the International Treaty that led to UCA’s establishment by the governments of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan. In 2014, Dr Kassim-Lakha was appointed Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network to the Kyrgyz Republic.
As Founding President of the Aga Khan University (AKU), the first private university chartered in South Asia, for nearly three decades Dr Kassim-Lakha led the planning, building and operations of this internationally renowned institution established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983 with campuses in Pakistan, Eastern Africa and the United Kingdom.
Dr Kassim-Lakha has served in senior positions in the Pakistan government, including as the country’s Minister of Education and as Minister of Science and Technology in the caretaker government in 2007-8. As Minister of State in 2001-2, he led the task force which recommended higher education reforms in Pakistan, resulting in major structural changes in universities and the creation of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), of which he was a member from 2007 to 2011. In September 2018, he was appointed to the Board of Governors of HEC. He also chaired the committee which wrote Pakistan’s National Environment Protection Act (1997). The first two decades of his career were with the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development where he served as Managing Director of Industrial Promotion Services of Pakistan, a manufacturing and venture capital company with a work force of 22,000.
Dr Kassim-Lakha is a Senior Distinguished Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Recently he retired as Founding Chair of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy Board, where he served for fifteen years, and from the international Board of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. Dr Kassim-Lakha has written and published on school and higher education, philanthropy, civil society and management in renowned journals including the Lancet and Nature and has contributed book chapters on these themes. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Music Awards.
Dr Kassim-Lakha received his undergraduate education from the South Bank and Westminister Universities, in London and completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, USA.
In recognition of his academic and social work, Dr Kassim-Lakha has received honorary degrees from McMaster University, Canada and the Aga Khan University. His awards for distinguished service include Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan and Officer of the National Order of Merit from the President of France.
S. Sohail H. NAQVI
Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi is the Rector of the University of Central Asia. Prior to joining UCA in August 2018, Dr. Naqvi served as Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences for five years where he had spearheaded the transition of this prestigious, primarily undergraduate, institution into the top ranked research universities of the country.
The QS Asian University Ranking of LUMS increased from 191-200 range in 2014 to 103 in 2018. The student body at LUMS during this period increased by 30% with a decrease in student – teacher ratio and significant increase in quality of intake. He led the establishment of the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship that has become the premier hub of innovation in the country following the establishment of the National Incubation Center (Lahore) there. Introduction of a formalised quality assurance system across the university across all disciplines, accreditation of programmes and rigorous implementation of the tenure track system of appointment brought a paradigm shift in the quality of education and research at the university.
Prior to LUMS, he was the Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for eight years. He oversaw the implementation of an ambitious portfolio of programmes which resulted in significant growth of research in Pakistan’s universities, the quadrupling of student enrollment, standardisation of programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level with clear quality related benchmarks along with the implementation of a comprehensive higher education quality assurance regime. He has extensive teaching, research and entrepreneurial experience both in the US and Pakistan, and has also been a consultant on higher education for the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. He was awarded Order of the ‘Palmes Académiques’ with rank of Chevalier, by the French Government, and the Sitar-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan for his services to higher education.
Dr. Naqvi earned his BSc (with highest distinction), MSc and PhD degrees (all in Electrical Engineering) from Purdue University, USA. He served as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA, before returning to Pakistan in 1995 to join the Faculty of Electronics at the GIK Institute of Technology. Dr. Naqvi also has a number of patents to his credit and co-developed scatterometry as a metrology technique and process sensor for micro-electronic and opto-electronic fabrication.
Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences
Dr Diana Pauna is UCA’s Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. Her academic career spans several areas including diverse university management experience, teaching, curriculum development, project management, scholarly research and editorial work. Prior to joining UCA, Dr Pauna served as Pro-rector of the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) in Riga, Latvia and member of its SSE Riga Management Board.
Dr Pauna’s research focuses on higher education management, graduate performance and collaboration between academia, enterprises, science and art institutions. She has published in the Journals of Baltic Studies and Entrepreneurship Education. Dr Pauna contributed three chapters on assessing learning, internationalisation of higher education, and teaching and learning entrepreneurship in higher education for The Learning in Higher Education Series published in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. She was involved in several projects related to entrepreneurship education, creative industries and the validation of non-formal and informal learning within the European Union.
Dr Pauna has also served as a member of the Supervisory Board, AIESEC Latvia Management Board, SSE Riga Mentoring Club, Baltic Journal of Management Editorial Advisory Board. She was also advisory of the Latvia Junior Achievement Programme and jury on its Teacher of the Year and I awards.
Over the years, she was awarded a number of academic development and research grants, providing her with significant international experiences at high calibre educational institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States. She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Latvia and Certificate of Excellence by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, United States. Dr Pauna holds a PhD in Education from the University of Latvia.
Dean of the Graduate School of Development
Educated at Bishop’s University, University of Toronto, University of Glasgow, he received a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Until 1991, Dr Bohdan Krawchenko was professor in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta. He worked for many years as a consultant to the Secretary of State, Government of Canada, and Ministry of Culture, Province of Alberta.
In 1991, Dr Krawchenko moved to Ukraine to become
Director of Policy Studies at the Council of Advisors to the Parliament of
Ukraine, and 1992 became founder and director of the Institute of Public
Administration and Local Government, Cabinet of Ministers. In 1995 the
Institute was re-organised into the Academy of Public Administration, Office of
the President of Ukraine and he was appointed vice-rector for academic
development and Director of the Centre for the Study of Administration Reform. Dr Krawchenko
participated in numerous Ukrainian government committees, task forces and
working groups. These include the President’s Council on Social and Economic
Affairs, the Policy Unit of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Working Group on the
Establishment of the Civil Service, the Working Group on Monetary Reform and
the Commission on Administrative Reform. He has also served as a consultant to
the World Bank and OECD. He was visiting associate professor at Harvard
University, Department of Government, and visiting professor at the College of
Europe in Natolin, Poland. In 1995 he received an honourary doctorate from the
University of North London, in 1997 was made an honourary professor of the
University of ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’, in 2000 received an honourary doctorate
from the Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, and in 2000 was awarded an
Order of Merit from the President of Ukraine. Dr Krawchenko was editor of
“Occasional Papers in Public Administration and Public Policy” published by the
Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and
Eastern Europe, and member of international editorial boards of several
journals among them Public Management and Journal of Comparative Policy
Analysis. Dr Krawchenko joined the University of Central Asia in October 2004,
where he currently serves as the Dean of the Graduate School of Development. He was appointed Dean in October 2004 and also served as UCA’s Director-General from 2007 to 2014.
Chief Operating Officer
Muzaffar Jorubov serves as Chief Operating Officer at UCA. He has over 18 years of experience in administrative and operations management, and has worked with a number of international organisations, including Save the Children, the United Nations Development Programme and the Aga Khan Development Network Representation Office in Tajikistan.
Prior to joining UCA, he served as the Executive Officer of the Ismaili Centre, Dushanbe developing and implementing institutional policies, managing operations and programmes, and cultivating and managing relations with its internal and external stakeholders. Earlier in his career, Jorubov worked with educational institutions, including as lecturer with Tajik Technical University, and as a deputy headmaster and teacher at a district centre high school. Jorubov has an MBA from Durham University Business School, United Kingdom and a mechanical engineering degree with honours from Tajik Technical University. He has also participated in numerous professional training courses on administrative management, security management and treasury management.
Chief Financial Officer
Rahim Somani provides leadership and oversight to UCA’s Finance Division. He is also responsible for co-ordinating discussions and negotiations for large-capital project financing. As a member of UCA’s senior executive team, he plays a critical role in the planning and development of a multi-campus university. Over the past two decades, Somani has held senior positions in the education sector.
His has experience in primary, secondary and tertiary education across Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan. His expertise includes finance; strategic and financial planning; project financing; human resource management, systems and MIS; administration; capital projects; corporate affairs; internal audit and programme management. Prior to joining UCA, Somani spent over a decade with the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKES, P) as Manager for Humanitarian Assistance Programmes; General Manager for Finance, Planning and Support Services; Company Secretary; Deputy Chief Executive Officer; and Acting CEO. Somani was also part of the Aga Khan University Hospital internal audit team. He completed his CA articleship at A.F. Ferguson & Co., a member firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers. Somani is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA) and a Cost & Management Accountant (CMA) from Pakistan and qualified Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and CA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia, Canada. He holds an MA in Educational Planning, Economics and International Development from the Institute of Education, University College London (formerly University of London). He is also an alumnus of the Institute for Educational Management, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education (IEM Class of 2014) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Director, Advancement and Public Affairs
Nasir Pirani has been associated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for decades, and held a similar position at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi for 17 years (1978-1996). He was instrumental in setting up the first Resource Development and Public Affairs Department at AKU, and helped raise over $200 million in donations and grants.
returned to Austin, Texas, where he established a real estate investment and
brokerage business. He has served on a number of non-profit boards, advising on
fundraising and communications issues. A graduate of Columbia University, and
an architect by training, he now brings his broad-based experience to another
start up university - UCA.
Director, Construction and Facilities
Grant Robertson leads the team managing the design and construction of the three UCA campuses. Prior to joining UCA, he was project director with Mace International responsible for a luxury 5-star hotel and residential development, constructed to 4 Seasons standards and specifications. He has extensive experience working in the former USSR, CIS and Eastern European countries, as well as in his home country of Scotland.
Over the 25 years of his professional career, he has worked on projects in 13 countries and earned a well-respected reputation for the successful completion of complex projects in remote areas. Prior to joining UCA, Mr Robertson served as the Regional Director of Emerging Markets in Central and Eastern Europe with Bovis Lend Lease, an internationally renowned property group specializing in project management, construction, real estate investment and development. In that role, he led 13 projects across four countries and built a team to meet the demands of their growing business. Before that, Mr Robertson worked with Philip Morris Engineering, where he was responsible for the design, management, and operationalization of their tobacco plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Director, Human Resources
Saule Aitkaliyeva has joined the University of Central Asia as Director of Human Resources. Aitkaliyeva started her HR career in 2003 with USAID Kazakhstan and Central Asia. She has experience in diverse settings and international companies. Prior to joining UCA, she worked for Globalink Logistics Group, Japan Tobacco International and Hoffmann La-Roche. Aitkaliyeva has extensive experience in the Central Asian Region and was responsible for HR activities in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for many years.
Aitkaliyeva has led global projects within her assigned area as well as all over the Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EEMEA) region. She holds a diploma in English Language and Law from Kazakhstan. She has several international HR certificates such as a Certified Assessor and Analyst. Aitkaliyeva has continued to develop herself as an HR professional through development and education in corporate HR academies in Switzerland, attending Leadership courses in Germany and Kazakhstan, and on-the-job training.
Shaukat ALI KHAN
Chief Information Officer
Shaukat Ali Khan is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the University of Central Asia. He is responsible for the overall management of all aspects of IT services, including leading and innovating seamless operation of IT systems and digital transformation. Ali Khan joined UCA from Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was working as Head of the IT production infrastructure of the global production facilities at Novo Nordisk HQ Copenhagen.
He provided leadership to the team of Senior Architects, Specialists, project managers, consultants and operational experts. Additionally, he was responsible to define and implement a long-term strategy and road-map for the production infrastructure. Ali Khan led and managed teams in different time zones to support global production facilities around the world. Earlier, he was responsible for the network infrastructure of Novo Nordisk, which serves more than 43,000 employees in over 80 countries worldwide. Prior to Novo Nordisk, he worked at the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) HQ IT Center in Copenhagen, where he was responsible for the IT operations. He started his professional working experience at Siemens Engineering Company and has management experience with multi-national companies including Lockheed Martin and the Marriott Hotel. Moreover, he has received more than 30 national and international awards for participating in various events. His book ''Technological and Social Issues in the Development and Deployment of Facial Recognition Biometric Systems'' has been published and is available on Amazon and other leading retailers. Ali Khan holds a Master of Science in Computer Science (MS-CS) with emphasis on IT management and strategic change from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden. In addition, he is a Harvard Business School certified Dynamic Manager and Leader, equipped with the tools and best practices available in leadership, strategy development, project management, change management, decision making, career management, and difficult interactions.
Nana Baramidze is the University Registrar at the University of Central Asia (UCA). She comes to UCA with over 10 years of experience in academic leadership and governance and teaching. She has held various positions such as Professor, Dean, Head of International and Donor Relations, and Academic Head and Programme Manager. As an executive head of the faculty of the School of Government at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, she was responsible for planning, directing and supervising the School’s academic, conceptual and administrative activities as well as partnerships with international universities.
She also managed the institutional operation of the School which included various Masters and Bachelor degree programmes. As Academic Head, she conceptualised and developed a new Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Policy. Baramidze has a significant amount of work experience in Central Asia in the field of Economy, Environment and Good Governance. Prior to joining UCA, Nana worked as Head of Economic and Environmental Dimension at the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek where her focus was economic and environmental issues and environmental legislation and policy. She also worked at OSCE Offices in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Nana has also worked as a Strategic Affairs Adviser for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resource Protection of Georgia and has consulted on a multitude of projects and activities. Baramidze holds a Master’s degree in International Studies and Environment and Natural Resource Management from the University of Wyoming (USA), a Master of Public Administration from GIPA (Georgia), and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts (Georgia).
Board Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Chairman
Amaan Pardhan is UCA’s Board Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Chairman. Prior to joining UCA, Pardhan worked as Executive Officer, Office of the Provost at the Aga Khan University. From 2009-11, he served as Programme Support Officer with the Aga Khan Development Network’s (AKDN) Resident Representative’s Office in Tajikistan, working closely with key stakeholders including government, diplomatic and donor communities to promote national and regional development initiatives.
In addition, he served as Secretary to the AKDN Forum comprising of Agency Heads based in Tajikistan. Pardhan has a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Alberta, a Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a post-graduate diploma in Islamic Studies and Humanities from the Institute of Ismaili Studies, United Kingdom.
Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor - English for Academic Purposes, Naryn Campus
Dr Roza Kazakbaeva is an Associate Professor of English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Kazakbaeva has more than 20 years of experience teaching English as a foreign language. She holds a PhD in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Composition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining UCA, Kazakbaeva taught at the Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages, where she developed and taught courses for the departments of linguistics and cross-cultural communications. She is trained in teaching and curriculum methodology by Seneca College, Canada.
Assistant Professor in English for Academic Purposes, Khorog Campus
Dr Genevieve Balderston is an Assistant Professor of English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Balderston has 15 years of experience in US and international language education as an ESL teacher, programme coordinator, communications instructor, teacher trainer, and curriculum consultant.
Prior to joining UCA, Balderston worked as an English Language Fellow for the U.S. State Department and National Ministry of Education in Madagascar, where she trained teachers on communicative language instruction and contributed to their digital library of English teaching and learning materials. Her teaching and research interests include promoting oral communication skills and effective English Medium of Instruction in higher education. She holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana State University, and a Master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Public Relations.
Hamid Ali KHAN
Senior Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Naryn Campus
Hamid Ali Khan is a Senior Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Khan has more than 15 years of English language teaching experience. Prior to joining UCA, he lectured at the Royal Commission Yanbu Colleges & Institutes (RCYCI) in Saudi Arabia. There, he taught a range of general, academic, occupational and technical English courses to foundation and undergraduate students.
He also held various administrative positions including Course Coordinator, Foundation Year English Coordinator, Chair of Research and Professional Development Committee, and member of the Yanbu English Language Institute (YELI) Advisory Council. He also trained RCYCI faculty. Khan has contributed to YELI’s institutional accreditation from the Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA) and Evaluation & Accreditation of Quality in Language Services (EAQUALS). He holds an MA (TESOL) from Middlesex University, UK, and an MA English from Islamia University Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He is certified in teaching English language to adults (CELTA) by the University of Cambridge. He has also acquired Certification in Teaching Languages with Technology from Trinity College, UK. Currently, he is pursuing his EdD TESOL with the University of Exeter, UK as a part time student.
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Naryn Campus
Zohirbek Asanshoev is a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. He comes to UCA with 10 years of English language teaching experience. Prior to joining UCA, Asanshoev worked as an English Instructor and Resources Development Coordinator at the Khorog English Preparatory Programme.
He later joined UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Khorog, Tajikistan as an English Instructor and taught Conversational English and English for Academic Purposes. As an English Instructor, he has also worked in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. He has research interests in comparative education, teacher development, critical thinking in students studies and study impact. Asanshoev holds a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He also holds a Master’s degree in Education (International issues in Education) from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Khorog Campus
Nigina Noyobshoeva is a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s undergraduate Preparatory Programme at the Khorog campus. Noyobshoeva brings 17 years of teaching experience to UCA. Prior to joining UCA, her professional career began at the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) in 2000. She held different positions such as English Instructor, Senior English Instructor and an Administrator of the Nursing Development Project.
In 2006, Noyobshoeva joined UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), where she worked as an English Instructor for 13 years. She attended numerous professional development trainings at SPCE, which enabled her to teach various high-level certified programmes such as Conversational English, Business English, and English for Academic and Specific Purposes courses. At SPCE, she ran IELTS test preparation sessions for postgraduate students of the Institute of Ismaili Studies and other SPCE students. She also developed curricula for different programmes, conducted Teaching Knowledge Test sessions, and led professional development trainings for English instructors from all districts of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast and its Afghanistan Learning Centres. Noyobshoeva is also a Cambridge KET, PET, FCE and CAE examiner. She holds a Certificate in Teaching Knowledge Test with Band 4 from the University of Cambridge. Noyobshoeva holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with Distinction from Khorog State University.
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Khorog Campus
Tojiniso Olimnazarova is a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme at the Khorog Campus. Olimnazarova brings 18 years of English language teaching experience to UCA. Before joining UCA, she lectured in Discourse Analysis at the Khorog State University. She was also Academic English instructor and Curriculum Development and Assessment Coordinator with the Khorog English and Preparatory Programme.
She then joined UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), Khorog as a Senior English Instructor and taught Conversational English, Business English and English for Academic Purposes. Olimnazarova developed curriculum and delivered professional development courses for English instructors at SPCE Khorog and its Afghanistan Learning Centres. Recently, she taught Academic Reading and IELTS for SPCE and the Institute of Ismaili Studies Postgraduate Preparatory Programme. Her research interests include teacher development, using students linguistic repertoire for teaching English as a foreign language and developing the critical thinking and analytical capacity of students. She holds a Certificate to Teach English Language to Adults (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge and completed courses in linguistics, language training and teacher training from world renowned universities. Olimnazarova holds a Master’s degree in Education (TEFL) with Distinction from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with Distinction from Khorog State University.
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Khorog Campus
Shams Sharif is a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Previously he held the position of Document Controller/Translator for UCA’s Construction and Facilities Division in Khorog. Before joining UCA, Sharif worked as an Instructor of Academic English and Director of Studies at the Khorog English and Preparatory Programme.
In addition to Sharif’s teaching experience, he holds a Master’s of Arts in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom (UK). He also has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology from Khorog State University. In addition, Sharif holds a Diploma from the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities from the Institute of Ismaili Studies in the UK, as well as a Certificate to Teach English Language to Adults (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes, Naryn Campus
Stanislav Zagorodnyev is a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes with UCA's Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Prior to joining UCA, he worked with students from different levels and cultural backgrounds and brings more than 15 years of teaching experience to UCA. Zagorodnyev worked as an English Instructor and Senior Lecturer at Qafqaz University in Azerbaijan and as an English teacher at Istanbul Akademi Koleji in Turkey.
He has significant experience coordinating TOEFL and IELTS preparation courses as a TOEFL Center Monitor and Administrator and Testing Office Representative for six years at Qafqaz University. He has also been involved in research on Task-Based Language Teaching, the use of digital tables in education, has published guide books and presented studies on Testing Language Proficiency. Zagorodnyev obtained a postgraduate degree in TESOL from Newcastle University, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language Education from Bogazici University, Turkey.
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Khorog Campus
Dr Kholiknazar Kuchakshoev is an Associate Professor of Mathematics based in the Khorog, Tajikistan campus. He brings over ten years of teaching experience in various higher education roles. Prior to joining UCA, Kuchakshoev worked as a Maths teacher in a gymnasium and as a Math instructor in the UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
He has taught Maths at the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University and has held various positions including Deputy Dean for Instructional Works and Vice-Executive Director for science and social issues with the Moscow State University affiliate in Dushanbe. Kuchakshoev also worked as a science researcher with the Institute of Mathematics in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Kuchakshoev holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Institute of Mathematics in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Khorog Campus
Dilyara Nartova is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the School of Arts and Sciences of UCA. She brings more than 30 years of teaching experience to UCA. Prior to joining UCA, she gained extensive academic experience at prestigious universities in Kazakhstan such as KIMEP University, Kazakh British Technical University, Kazakh State University and others.
She also held various administrative positions including Head of the Department and Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs, and she also has been involved in various state educational programmes conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the last decades. Dr Nartova’s teaching experience encompasses a wide range of disciplines such as Pure and Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Econometrics, for students from different levels and cultural backgrounds. Her research interests include the mathematical modeling especially in the fields of energy and construction. She is also interested in optimization of problems in investment processes, applying diverse mathematical tools such a linear and nonlinear programming, as well as game theory, network. statistical and econometrical models. Dr Nartova’s research is presented in over 32 articles in reputable scientific journals, along with methodological textbooks and conference proceedings. Dr Nartova graduated from Kazakh State University with a Diploma with honors. She holds a PhD in Mathematics from the York University, and defended her Candidate of Science in Physics and Math.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Naryn Campus
Dr. Ramzan Ali is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics with the UCA School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he was a UCA Central Asian Faculty Development Programme Fellow, Research Associate at Quaid-i-Azam University, PhD and postdoctoral researcher with the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany). He supervised numerous graduate students and taught several courses in mathematics.
He serves on editorial boards and actively reviews for various international scientific journals in applied mathematics and computational science. Dr. Ali’s research interests include computational mathematics, biomathematics, fluid dynamics, non-linear partial differential equations, and material sciences. He has presented at various conferences and published number of research articles on numerical schemes for solutions of non-linear partial differential equations. Specifically, his doctoral research focused on developing a numerically stable scheme for simulation of evolving membrane on surfaces. He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany), MSc and MPhil, both in Applied Mathematics from Quaid-i-Azam University (Pakistan), and BSc from the University of the Punjab Lahore (Pakistan). He also holds a BEd from Allama Iqbal Open University (Pakistan) focusing teaching of Physics and Mathematics. Dr. Ali is on study leave for the 2019-2020 academic year at the University of Oxford as part of UCA's Central Asian Faculty Development Programme.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Khorog Campus
Dr Azmat Hussain is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, Dr Hussain worked as an Assistant Professor in the department of mathematics at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore Pakistan for two years. He has also been associated with Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan where he worked as a lecturer of Mathematics in 2010 for one year.
He has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses and has supervised undergraduate students. He has attended and presented his research at several international conferences including AMS, AIMS, SIAM and INFORMS meetings. His main research areas include stochastic control theory, optimisation, and financial risk management. He is a recipient of Aga Khan Foundation and Hashoo Foundation Scholarships for his high school and Undergraduate studies and has attended the Summer Institute Program for Pakistani Undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA in 2006. Dr Hussain holds a PhD in Operations Research from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.
Senior Lecturer of Mathematics, Naryn campus
Dr. Mukhammadmuso Abduzhabbarov is a Senior Lecturer of Mathematics based at the UCA Naryn campus. Prior joining to UCA, he worked at International Ala-Too University as a Lecturer of Mathematics for seven years. In addition to teaching, he was also Head of Department of Applied Mathematics and Informatics. Dr. Abduzhabbarov also has five years of Mathematics teaching experience at the Chyngyz Aitmatov Turkish High School in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
His research interests lie in machine learning algorithms, scientific computations, numerical methods, and theory of numbers. He holds a PhD and Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in the Kyrgyz Republic and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Middle East Technical University in Turkey.
Lecturer of Mathematics, Naryn Campus
Alfred Sankoh is a Lecturer of Mathematics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, he had more than 15 years of experience teaching Mathematics at both High School and College levels. Most recently, Sankoh worked as a Mathematics Educator at the network of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan for five years.
As part of his role, he provided examination techniques and skills for intellectual students preparing for Olympiad competitions and university entrance examinations including Cambridge and SAT Mathematics subject. Furthermore, he also assisted in designing and running courses geared toward improving English language Skills of local colleagues at the network. Within academia but outside of the classroom, for three years Sankoh worked as an Education Information Officer at the Department of Education and Training in Sydney, Australia. He also has contributed immensely to the development of Mathematics Education among students in the region from his work with Education consultants in South Western Sydney. He has academic and research interests in Mathematics & Statistics Education, improving teacher quality and practical applications of Mathematics & Statistics in the real world. He holds a B.Sc in Education (Mathematics/ Economics) and an M.Sc in Statistics from Njala University in Sierra Leone. He also holds an M.Sc in Public Policy & Human Development from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. Currently he is pursuing Post Graduate studies in Mathematics & Statistics from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.
Lecturer of Mathematics, Naryn Campus
Samat Turdumamatov is a Lecturer of Mathematics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining UCA, he taught several courses in Mathematics and Physics at both high school and university levels. Most recently he taught Physics, Electromagnetics for Engineers and Calculus courses at Ala-Too International University and UCA. He also was a Teaching Assistant for courses on Applied Electromagnetics, Microwave Engineering and Antenna Theory in Turkey.
As a research fellow, he has actively collaborated with researchers in several disciplines at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). Turdumamatov’s current research interests include Microstrip Antennas, Radars and Metamaterials. He holds a Master's and Bachelor’s degrees with a focus on telecommunications from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department of Gaziantep University in Turkey. He has also delivered presentations and contributed abstracts and proceedings to several conferences. Samat Turdumamatov is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic and member of IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society.
Ian Phil CANLAS
Senior Lecturer of Science, Naryn Campus
Ian Phil Canlas is a Senior Lecturer of Science with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme. Prior to joining UCA, he was a Lecturer at Naval State University, Assistant Professor at Leyte Normal University both in the Philippines, Physics Teacher at Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan, Political Assistant at the Senate of the Philippines and Human Resource Officer at Biliran Electric Cooperative, Inc., Philippines.
In the last ten years, he taught courses in Integrated Science, Physics, Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Pedagogy and Research in Science Education. His research interests include science education along pedagogy and assessment and environmental education along climate change, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction. As a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines, he completed his Bachelors in Secondary Education – Physics and Technology from Leyte Normal University where he graduated cum laude and his Master of Arts in Science Education – Physics at University of San Carlos both in the Philippines. He attended and completed training on teaching and curriculum methodology for Integrated Science and Ecology at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, Canada and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada respectively. At present, he is pursuing his PhD studies in Science Education specifically on Disaster Risk Reduction at University of Science Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia.
Lecturer of Science, Khorog Campus
Maqsad Suriev is a Lecturer of Science with UCA’s Undergraduate Preparatory Programme at the Khorog Campus. He is also a UCA Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) Fellow. Prior to joining UCA, Suriev was a a Research Assistant for seven years with the Research Institute of Chemistry in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
At the Institute, he researched the isolation of organic substances including steroids from natural sources and the synthesis of their new derivatives. He also supervised graduate students and tutored students in Chemistry to gain admission to the Medical University of Dushanbe. Over the years, Suriev has developed experience in conducting gas-chromatography analysis of bile and fatty acids in biosamples. During his graduate study, Suriev worked for numerous science laboratories, accumulating experience in analytical chemistry. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Siegen, Germany.
Associate Professor of Communications and Media, Naryn Campus
Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki is an Associate Professor of Communications and Media with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. She holds a PhD from Cardiff University in the United Kindgom. She has extensive experience in the Asia Pacific and former Soviet Union regions including her most recent faculty position at Unitec in the Department of Communications in New Zealand.
She has also worked as the Head of Communication Arts Department at Divine World University in Papua New Guinea; Co-Head of the Department of Journalism at the American University of Kyrgyzstan; Visiting Faculty Fellow at various institutions in Georgia, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan; International Research Fellow at the Center for Pacific Islands Research at Kagoshima University, Japan; and former Research Associate at the Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology. She has professional background and academic research interests in communication for development and social change, ethnography and migrant media, journalism and media education and training in developing countries. Papoutsaki has been involved in major research projects on topics such as the state of media and communication in the 14 Pacific Islands, island communicative ecology mapping in Japan, and a project using visual methods for community dialogue and change in the context of HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea. She is a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Editor in Chief of ePress (an online scholarly open access publishing house), editorial board member of Island Studies Journal, co-founder of the Contemporary PNG Studies Journal; guest co-editor of various special journal issues; and former Reviews Editor of the Pacific Journalism Review. She has published three edited volumes on communication issues in the Pacific.
Assistant Professor of Communications and Media, Naryn Campus
Dr. Soheil Ashrafi is an Assistant Professor of Media and Communication based at the UCA Naryn campus. Prior to joining UCA, he was Director of Culture and Communication and Chair of Research and Scholarship at Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney and Associate Colleges in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka.
In this dual capacity, he has been afforded vast experience in developing, delivering and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate courses in theory and history of design, media, visual communication, cultural studies, and research ethics and methods. His pedagogical philosophy rests on research-based teaching and he considers the classroom a dialogical space where a colourful spectrum of voices and ideas find expression through critical thinking, higher-perspective observation and experimentation. Besides academia, Dr. Ashrafi is an essayist and on occasion writes for the press such as BBC Persian and Kayhan London on various political, social and cultural issues. He has founded Academy of Ideas and Thought, a community-based education platform, through which he organises and delivers public lectures on contemporary issues such as global warming, sustainability and social justice. Dr. Ashrafi received his PhD from UNSW Art & Design, University of New South Wales, Australia. His thesis was presented at the 6th Global Conference of Visual Literacies, University of Oxford, and was nominated for the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence in 2015.
Visiting Professor of Communications and Media, Naryn Campus
Peyman Pejman is a Visiting Professor in Communications and Media based at the UCA Naryn campus. Pejman has taught both online and in-class undergraduate and graduate courses in Journalism and Communications at the State University of Arkansas, Zayed University in Dubai, KIMEP University in Kazakhstan, and at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
In addition to his academic background, he is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and worked with international media organisations such as The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Associated Press, Reuter, Voice of America radio, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He has covered international stories ranging from the Iranian revolution 1978-1979, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, The Gulf Wars, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Peyman has also worked as a Communications Officer with various United Nations (UN) agencies. He has worked with peacekeeping missions in Libera and South Sudan, International Organization for Migration in Yemen, UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, and the UN regional coordination office for the Syria crisis in Jordan. He holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Information Systems, both from universities in Washington, DC in the United States.
Lecturer of Communications and Media, Naryn Campus
Lilit Dabagian is a Lecturer of Communications and Media based at the UCA Naryn campus. Together with Bishkek-based art curators, Dabagian has launched the ARtBUS museum initiative and has curated an archival exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum Bishkek. In cooperation with a Berlin-based NGO New Ideas for Democracy, Identity and Development (NIDID), she has designed and organised a course on urban memory and documentary filmmaking called Visualizing Memory.
Dabagian has conducted workshops and has been curating a final media product in the form of a documentary art reflection on the multi-layered narrative landscape of urban Bishkek. In April 2019, she delivered two lectures on the politics of memory in Kyrgyzstan, presenting the results of the project to students at the University of Michigan. She has a professional background in journalism and has been conducting research on non-fiction transmedia storytelling. Her paper on transmedia storytelling, gamification and trends in education was accepted to the IAMCR-2016 conference at the University of Leicester and was subsequently published in the prestigious journal Educational Media International. Dabagian’s professional and academic research interests include filmmaking practices in creative documentary; urban space, collective memory and the (post-)socialist experience; and transmedia storytelling as a narrative strategy. She holds a Master’s degree in Media Production in Creative Industries from the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, Kyrgyz Republic. She further successfully completed a non-degree programme in Liberal Arts at the European College of Liberal Arts Berlin (currently Bard College Berlin).
Visiting Professor in Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Dr. Neal Gallagher is a Visiting Professor in Computer Science based at the UCA Naryn campus. After two years as a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University, he moved to Purdue University where he was a Professor for 18 years. Dr. Gallagher has chaired the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Delaware and served as Dean of Engineering at Colorado State University. He later retired from the University of Central Florida as Dean of Engineering and Computer Science.
In 2011, he co-founded the Socrates Preparatory School where he coached a Robotics team, and taught Math, Physics, and Computer Science. Dr. Gallagher’s technical interests are in Optics, Information Coding, Digital Signal Processing, and Computational Electro-Magnetics. He has done seminal work in his field with over 3,000 citations to his published work. Dr. Gallagher has been active in service of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and SPIE, The International Society of Optical Engineering. He has served OSA as both Editor of the journal Applied Optics, and as General Chair of the 1998 Annual meeting. He was the Founding General Chair of the first ITCOM conference for SPIE and is a Fellow of the IEEE, the OSA, and SPIE. Dr. Gallagher holds a BS degree in Physics from Loyola University (US), an MA, MSE and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University (US).
Assistant Professor in Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Dr. Masood Mir is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences based at the UCA Naryn campus. Dr. Mir has extensive experience in both teaching and research. Dr. Mir has taught at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology and Jinnah University in Pakistan. He has also taught at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Rowan University in the United States.
His research interests are in Semantic Web, Knowledge Engineering, Systems Engineering, VLSI ICs Design and Parallel Processing. He holds a PhD in Computer Sciences and an MS degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Arkansas, USA.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Dr. Ayman Aljarbouh is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, he served as a Researcher Assistant Professor at Grenoble National Institute of Technology in France, where he taught computer science courses to undergraduate students, and was responsible for teaching several courses to first and second year university students.
Dr. Aljarbouh holds a PhD in Computer Science and Systems Engineering from the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation in France. His doctoral research focused on developing new techniques, concepts, algorithms, and tools to improve the modelling and simulation of complex hybrid dynamical systems that may exhibit Zeno behaviour due to modelling abstraction (or over-approximation). Following his doctoral work, he participated and spoke at several conferences organised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and contributed papers to academic journals, as well as the design of several tools and prototypes. Dr. Aljarbouh also holds a Master’s Degree in Systems, Control, and Information Technologies from the University of Joseph Fourier (Grenoble 1) in France. During his graduate studies, he developed and validated a control-oriented grey box estimator of Nitrogen Oxide emissions in compression ignition diesel engines, in which the results of his research work have been published at an IEEE conference.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Dr. Muhammad Fayaz is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Before joining UCA, Dr. Fayaz worked as a Visiting Lecturer and Teaching Assistant at the University of Malakand in Chakdara (Pakistan) for two years. Throughout his academic career, he has published over 40 research papers in the reputed Web of Science and Scopus indexed international journals and conferences.
His research interests include combinatorial optimisation problems, machine learning, image processing, Internet of Things (IoT), fuzzy inference systems, and other related areas. He earned his PhD in Computer Engineering from Jeju National University (JNU) in Jeju (South Korea) in 2019. During his studies, he worked at a Mobile Computing Lab at JNU. His responsibilities included preparing project proposals, designing IoT-based smart solutions, the application and implementation of artificial intelligence algorithms, and writing project reports. During his stay in South Korea, he also worked on several projects on the Underground System and the SAR-based Big Data Classification and Analysis of Disaster/Damage type, funded by the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute, and Korean Aerospace Research Institute, respectively.
Muhammad SHUAIB QURESHI
Visiting Lecturer in Computer Science, Naryn Campus
Muhammad Shuaib Qureshi is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Computer Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. With over 11 years of teaching, research and technical experience globally, Qureshi has excellent research exposure having published 34 papers in ranking international journals and conferences. He successfully worked on large-scale funded Research and Development projects as PI and CO-PI. His research contribution also includes book chapters, and theses.
He is currently serving as peer reviewer and editorial board member of highly reputed journals and conferences including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Access, Telemedicine and e-Health, Cognitive Computation Springer, Technology and HealthCare, and the International Arab Journal of Information Technology. Qureshi was an active member of a high-performance computing research group at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was awarded Exceptional Research Activity Awards from 2014 to 2018, as well as Best Researcher in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018 by KAU for his outstanding teaching and research performance. He is also an active member of the Pakistan Information Security Association, National Academy of Young Scientists Pakistan, British Science Association for the Advancement of Science, Center of Excellence and Information Assurance (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), International Association of Computer Science & I.T., and the International Association of Engineers (Computer Science). Qureshi holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science with research interests in high- performance computing, real-time systems scheduling theory, information and communications technology, e-Health and mHealth Systems.
Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Khorog Campus
Dr. Mohssen Moazzen is a Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) with the UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. His major interests include application of petrology, geochemistry and mineralogy to study the geodynamics of the Earth crust, mantle petrology and evolution of the mountain belts. He also has worked on mineral resources, especially porphyry copper, gold and molybdenum deposits from a geodynamic perspective.
He has worked as Associate Professor and Full Professor in the University of Tabriz, where he has taught several courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He was also supervisor for 15 Ph.D. and more than 30 M.Sc. students. Dr. Moazzen has research experience as a Post-Doctorate Fellow at the University of Manchester (1999-2000), Associate Researcher at Potsdam University of Germany (2005-2006) and Research Professor at the Wollongong University in Australia (2018-2019). He holds a Ph.D. from the Manchester University in the United Kingdom.
Assistant Professor of Earth Environmental Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Khorog Campus, Senior Research Scientist, Mountain Societies Research Institute
Dr. Ben Jarihani is an Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences and a Senior Research Scientist at UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute. Dr Jarihani has more than 20 years of consulting, research, teaching and project management experience in hydrology, spatial science and natural resources management.
Prior to joining UCA, Dr. Jarihani has worked as a Senior Research Fellow within the Sustainability Research Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. During his Fellowship in collaboration with CSIRO, his research focus was on catchment modelling in gullied savanna ecosystems, tributary to the Great Barrier Reef, an important world heritage site in Australia. Dr. Jarihani has also led and managed large projects on remote sensing and erosion hazard identification and mitigation.
Dr. Jarihani worked for 8 years as a Hydrologic Engineer in several consulting engineers’ companies, where he led numerous large and innovative projects, addressing complex natural resource management challenges. During this time, he developed excellent leadership and project management skills, as well as delivered projects on time and on budget. He also has excellent technical skills in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, hydrological and erosion modelling, spatial surveying, statistical analysis, geomorphology, and drone operation. Dr. Jarihani completed a PhD at the University of Queensland Australia, where his research focused on novel applications of remotely sensed data and spatial sciences in better understanding of hydrological and hydrodynamic condition of large catchments within central Australia. He also holds bachelor and master’s degrees in water resources engineering from the University of Tehran, and the KNT University of Technology Tehran, respectively, and a second master’s degree in GIS, from the University of Queensland. During his PhD and Post-Doctoral fellowship, he has been involved in teaching and student supervision, and has numerous publications in Natural Resource Management and related fields.
Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Khorog Campus
Dr Murodbek Laldjebaev is an Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences and Mountain Societies Research Institute. Prior to joining UCA, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he obtained his PhD in Natural Resources.
Laldjebaev has held fellowships with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) and Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fellowship (CAARF), and worked as a Research Associate on undergraduate core curriculum development for UCA. Previously, he also headed curriculum development and programme evaluation for the Institute for Professional Development of teachers in Khorog, consulted the World Bank on pre-service education, and worked as a Senior Specialist with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in English Language from Khorog State University. He has also completed non-degree courses on education at the University of Saint Thomas, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Upper Canada College. His research and scholarship include energy security, energy poverty, energy sovereignty, water resources management, food sovereignty, and the energy-water-food nexus.
Associate Professor of Economics, Khorog Campus
Dr Brahim Fezzani is an Associate Professor of Economics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, he taught several courses in economics, business and entrepreneurship at graduate and undergraduate levels at several universities including the inter alia Lexington Community College, Kentucky and University of Kentucky in the United States, Universite Arabe des Sciences in Tunisia, Academy of Advanced Studies and University of Libya, University of Kurdistan-Hewler in Iraq; Taylor University in Malaysia;
KIMEP, International IT University, University of International Business in Kazakhstan, and A'Sharqiyah University in Oman. He developed and launched a "Team Entrepreneurship" course taught at a university in Oman, a first in the Middle East in North Africa. Dr Fezzani has held academic leadership positions (Director of Postgraduate studies, Head of Division of Accounting and Finance Department, Acting Dean) and non-academic leadership positions (Head of Economics and Statistics Department, Ministry, Director of Consultancy Center for Agricultural Projects, Consultancy for ACARTSOD, a sponsored UN-ECA and African-Union Agency). His research interests include quantitative socio-economic issues, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has authored several articles in peer-reviewed international journals, conducted business surveys in Kurdistan, Iraq, and is now writing a textbook on "Economics under Uncertainty". Dr Fezzani has worked with governmental authorities for consultancy missions regarding economic pricing policies in Tunisia and ACARTSOD in Libya. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky, USA and an Maitrise in es-Sciences Economiques from the Universite of Aix-Marseille II, France. He has also attended several short courses, workshops and trainings on team learning, agricultural development, and entrepreneurship at several international universities in Finland, the United States and Oman. He speaks fluent English, French and Arabic.
Associate Professor of Economics, Khorog Campus
Dr. Bernard Musyck is an Associate Professor of Economics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. He is also a Regional Economist. Before joining UCA, he served as an Associate Professor at the School of Economic Sciences and Administration at Frederick University (Cyprus) and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Constance (Germany).
Since 2016, he has been acting as Managing Director of the European Future Innovation System Centre located in Brussels, a think tank aiming to promote better understanding of regional innovation systems. Dr. Musyck has over 20 years of experience in academia and consultancy working on regional development and innovation policies in Europe. He has participated in a range of advisory work including regional innovation strategies, evaluations of European Union (EU) Structural Fund programmes and the monitoring of innovation policy frameworks. His research interests are in the field of local endogenous development, innovation policies, including the latest EU initiatives concerning Smart Specialisation Strategies and tourism. He has published over thirty scientific papers and monographs spanning across his various fields of interest. His teaching experience includes introductory courses in economics, European economics (undergraduate) and innovation and global business modules at the graduate level. Dr. Musyck is fluent in English, French, Dutch and German and can converse in Greek. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex (United Kingdom) and a Master’s degree in the same discipline from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium).
Associate Professor of Economics, Khorog Campus
Anwar Naseem is an Associate Professor of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences of UCA. Dr. Naseem has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience, having previously worked at Rutgers University, McGill University, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He has taught courses in introductory economics, intermediate microeconomics, development economics, and natural resources and environmental economics.
Anwar Naseem is an Associate Professor of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences of UCA. Dr. Naseem has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience, having previously worked at Rutgers University, McGill University, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He has taught courses in introductory economics, intermediate microeconomics, development economics, and natural resources and environmental economics.
Dr. Naseem’s broad research interests include agricultural development, science/innovation policy and market structure/performance as they relate to agricultural input markets. Dr. Naseem’s research has examined the economic impacts of private investments in agriculture, especially those directed towards research and development activities. The unifying theme of his research is to better understand how technology and innovations instigate changes in industry structure, economic development, and global trade, and how these changes influence the formation of government science and technology policies. His work on these and other topics has been published in leading journals, and presented at various scholarly and policy forums. He earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University, M.Sc. from the University of Pennsylvania and B.Sc. from McGill University.
Associate Professor of Economics, Khorog Campus
Dr. Mirzobobo Yormirzoev is an Associate Professor of Economics with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA,
he was a faculty member at Higher School of Economics in Russia. He has taught a wide range of economics courses, including econometrics, macroeconomics, economic growth and business statistics. Previously, Dr. Yormirzoev has worked as an Economics Instructor at universities in Khujand (Tajikistan).
His research interests are broad and interdisciplinary, ranging from international migration and remittances to consumer studies in the context of former Soviet republics. Dr. Yormirzoev has written and co-authored several peer-reviewed journal articles. He earned his PhD from Washington State University, MA degree from International University of Japan and Diploma with honours from Tajik State University of Law, Business and Politics.
Visiting Doctoral Researcher and Senior Teaching Assistant of Economics, Khorog Campus
Jakub Polansky is a Visiting Doctoral Researcher and Senior Teaching Assistant of Economics at UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. He is pursuing his doctoral research at the Department for International Development at the School of Global Studies and the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. In this capacity, Polansky is studying the socio-economic impact of cross-border markets along the Afghan-Tajik border in the Pamir mountains.
Beyond his doctoral research, Polansky is working as a research assistant at the University College London. In addition to his academic career, Polansky has extensive experience from both the public and private sectors. He worked as a consultant for the World Bank, and completed placements at the Dutch Central Bank, the Austrian Embassy in Kazakhstan, a boutique business law firm in Austria, the global accounting department at IBM Holdings in the Netherlands, a student-run private equity fund in the UK and an Austrian cooperative bank focused on ethical finance. Polansky also has teaching experience, having designed the course syllabus and assessment criteria for an introductory International Development module which he subsequently delivered at the University of Sussex. In addition, he worked as a language instructor of German and English to under- and postgraduate students. He graduated from Amsterdam University College in Economics and Law, and obtained a master’s degree in Economics from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. He also studied at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty as an undergraduate exchange student and attended two summer school programs at Sciences Po in Paris.
Assistant Professor of History, Khorog Campus
Dr Sultonbek Aksakolov is an Assistant Professor of History with the UCA School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he held research positions with the Institute of Humanities in Khorog (Tajikistan), Uppsala University (Sweden), and the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) (UK). Most recently, Dr Aksakolov completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the IIS.
There, he led workshops to develop the capacity of local researchers and supported grant applications by postgraduate students researching Pamiri ethnography. He also lectured graduate students and was a teaching assistant at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Islamic Studies under the Office of the President of Tajikistan. Previously he was a consultant with the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation, Tajikistan. He is on the UK-based Chevening Scholarships Reading Committee and is a principal examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organisation (UK). His research interests include the history of Soviet Central Asia, state policy and Islam, intellectual and social developments in the region. He has authored articles on Ismailia of Central Asia, education and development challenges in the region. Dr Aksakolov holds a PhD in History from SOAS, University of London and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. He has a graduate certificate in Islamic Studies and Humanities from IIS, as well as a Bachelors degree in Tajik Philology from the Khorog State University.
Senior Lecturer of History, Naryn Campus
Rebekah Ramsay is a Senior Lecturer of History with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining UCA, she taught Central Asian history at the undergraduate level, and regularly volunteered teaching English as a Foreign Language. Ramsay has received fellowships from Emory University and the American Councils for International Education.
Her current research focuses on the cultural revolution in early Soviet Kazakhstan, based on archival research from Almaty, Semey, and Shymkent. She has also begun preliminary research on the role of Soviet Central Asia in 20th century Muslim internationalism. She holds a Master of Arts in History from Emory University, USA, where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences; Research Fellow to the Institute of Public Policy and Administration
Dr Kemel Toktomushev is a Research Fellow with UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration and an Assistant Professor of Political Science with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences. Dr Toktomushev has held a fellowship with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP).
He has extensive experience in both Western and Central Asian environments, and his primary research interests focus on regime security, virtual politics, and the informal political economy of Central Asia. Toktomushev is the author of Kyrgyzstan – Regime Security and Foreign Policy published by Routledge, United Kingdom. Toktomushev holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter and a Master of Science in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is also a Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education alumnus.
Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, School of Arts and Sciences; Research Fellow at UCA’s Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit
Dr Chorshanbe Goibnazarov is an Assistant Professor with UCA's School of Arts and Sciences, and has a joint appointment in the Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit as a Research Fellow. He teaches Cultural Landscapes at the Naryn and Khorog Campuses. He joined UCA in 2016 as a Junior Research Fellow and later was promoted to Research Fellow.
Prior to joining UCA, he worked as an English teacher in the Health Promotion Training Unit of the Aga Khan Health Service (AKHS) in Tajikistan for six years. He also worked as a Research Assistant in the Secondary Teaching Education Programme, Department of Curriculum Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, UK. His doctoral research examined qasaid-khani, a musical performance among the Badakhshani community in Tajikistan and the way music and musical performances express identities. Dr Goibnazarov’s research interests include cultural studies and anthropological approaches to the study of Muslim cultures in contemporary society, with a particular focus on studying folk music, sung poetries, dance performances, material cultures and ritual performances. He also teaches Research Methods Course for postgraduate music students at the National Conservatory of Tajikistan. He holds a PhD in Central Asian and Cultural Studies from the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and a Master of Arts in Muslim Cultures from the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at the Aga Khan University in London, UK. Dr. Ghoibnazarov is on study leave for the 2019-2020 academic year at Harvard University as part of UCA's Central Asian Faculty Development Programme.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, School of Arts and Sciences, Khorog Campus
Vasila Sulaymonova is a Post-Doctoral Fellow with UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences at the Khorog Campus. Previously, she has taught chemistry at Avicenna Tajik State Medical University for the International students, has experience in organising short courses and lectures for the Geoscience students of the Bergakademie Freiberg Technical University in Germany, and has attended and presented her research at several international conferences.
Sulaymonova is a fellow with UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) and is currently finalizing her Ph.D. at the Bergakademie Freiberg Technical University. During her post-doctoral fellowship, she will continue working on surface processes and will focus on the geomorphology of the Pamir Mountains. She is exploring the topographic growth of the Pamir Mountains, and has also dated fluvial terraces using terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides (TCN). She holds a Chemistry diploma from Khorog State University.
Ahmad Ali SHAH
Associate University Librarian, Naryn Campus
Ahmad Ali Shah is the Associate University Librarian at UCA. He has over 14 years of experience and professional practice specialising as a librarian of reference, collection development and information literacy. Prior to joining UCA, he served as an Associate Librarian with the Aga Khan University (AKU) Faculty of Health Sciences Library. He has also worked with the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation,
Fatima Jinnah Dental College, Aga Khan Education Services, Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the AKU-Institute for Educational Development in Pakistan. Shah holds a dual Master’s degrees in Library and Information Sciences and International Relations from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.
Campus Librarian, Khorog Campus
Rustam Mirzoshirinov is UCA’s Khorog Campus Librarian. Previously, he served as UCA’s Patron and Reference Services Librarian at the Naryn Campus. Prior to joining UCA, Mirzoshirinov interned at the Social Sciences Department of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., United States. He has also managed the Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP) Information Resource Centre for several years and
was privileged to receive the acclaimed Edmund Muskie Scholarship to study Library and Information Science at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, United States. Upon completion, Mirzoshirinov joined the US Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan as Information Resource Centre Director. He has also served as an American Corners and Branches Advisor for Tajikistan at the US Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Mirzoshirinov holds a Bachelor degree in Oriental Studies from Khorog State University in Khorog, Tajikistan.
Library Coordinator, Khorog Campus
Ramila Mukairshoeva is UCA’s Library Coordinator. Prior to joining UCA, she worked for the Centre for Development and Environment, Pamir Strategy Project in Dushanbe, Tajikistan as an Administrative Assistant. Mukairshoeva has significant years of experience working with UCA in various key administrative and academic roles. She worked for the Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP) as an Assistant and Interpreter for the Schools Project and as a Resource Centre Coordinator.
Mukairshoeva also interned at Indiana University in Bloomington, United States in its prestigious School of Library and Information Science. Mukairshoeva holds a degree in English Philology from the Khorog State University, Department of Foreign Languages in Khorog, Tajikistan.
Library Coordinator, Naryn Campus
Askhat Muratzhan is UCA’s Library Coordinator. Prior to joining UCA, Muratzhan worked as a Coordinator and Information Technology Specialist with the S. Orozbakov Naryn Oblast Library American Corner. Previously, he was an instructor with UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education in Naryn. He taught English language at the Naryn Development and Teaching Centre.
He holds a Diploma in Philological Education from Naryn State University and pursued Accounting at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Head of Cooperative Education, School of Arts and Sciences
Myrza Karimov heads the School of Arts and Sciences’ cooperative education programme. He has more than 25 years of experience working in education. Karimov spent over 13 years as Vice-Rector, Dean, Deputy Director and Assistant Professor with the Arabaev Kyrgyz State University and Jusup Balasagyn Kyrgyz National University.
Karimov has successfully established cultural and education links and raised funds from the European Union, the United States, Thailand and South Korea. Prior to joining UCA, he worked as Programme Director of Counterpart International’s Support to the Electoral Process Project (STEP) funded by the USAID Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. He led initiatives to support the legal reform of the Kyrgyz educational system and civil society, promoting electoral and political processes, decentralisation and improving local governance. He was also a lead member of the Education Working Group tasked with drafting new Education Law for Kyrgyzstan. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Education Policy and Administration with a concentration on Comparative International Development Education.
Chynara TURATBEK KYZY
Head, Student Recruitment
Chynara Turatbek kyzy is the Head of Student Recruitment at the University of Central Asia. Prior to joining UCA, Turatbek kyzy worked at the Danish Institute for Human Rights on Component 1 of the Promotion of the Rule of Law project, the Embassy of Japan in the Kyrgyz Republic and the SOS Children’s Village in Bishkek.
As part of her Master of Science degree in International Cooperation Policy, she submitted a thesis on “Inconsistency of Academic Major Choice and Post-Graduation Employment: The Case of the Kyrgyz Republic”. She studied the factors influencing undergraduate major choice of freshmen students. Turatbek kyzy holds an MSc in International Cooperation Policy from the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan and a Specialist degree in the sphere of International relations from the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University.
Manager, Student Affairs, Naryn Campus
Erik Krauss manages student life at UCA. He has spent much of his career providing student services in an international context, including at the Emerson College European Centre, Netherlands and at New York University in Florence, Italy. Prior to joining UCA, Krauss was responsible for selecting Central American applicants for the Walton International Scholarship programme at the University of the Ozarks and mentoring them during their studies.
He also served as Dean of Student Development, Brescia University and Director of International Education, Drew University. Krauss holds degrees from the University of Portland, Eastern Washington University and Cornell University.
Manager, Student Affairs, Khorog Campus
Shabana Manji manages student affairs on the Khorog Campus. She also organises and executes the Connecting to Your Discipline third semester for preparatory programme students at UCA's Naryn and Khorog campuses. With this programme, she has brought many facilitators to UCA – most notably, Ali Velshi, MSNBC Anchor and Business Correspondent for NBC news and MSNBC.
Manji is also a Board Member and Country Representative for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (MENASA) region for the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). She holds an undergraduate degree in Humanities from the University of Lethbridge and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Royal Roads University. Prior to joining UCA, Manji worked at the Aga Khan Foundation, Canada as a Public Affairs Coordinator. She has also worked in various capacities with students and university administration at Mount Royal University, the University of Lethbridge and the Government of Alberta. In addition, Manji is also certified in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
University Counsellor, Khorog Campus
Robin Higgins is based at UCA’s Khorog campus. Prior to joining UCA, Higgins worked with Canada’s Selkirk College for 12 years, where she provided personal and career counselling as well as course advise. She served as Selkirk’s Trauma Assistance Team coordinator and Status of Women Committee’s Union Representative. Higgins was part of the design team for her provincial Healthy Minds/Healthy Campus project.
A passionate advocate for student engagement and wellness, Higgins piloted residential projects in nutrition, creativity and community building. She trained campus residence advisors in suicide awareness, communications and leadership skills. Before working at Selkirk College, Higgins worked as a youth mental health clinician and provided counselling for women and children who experienced violence. Higgins holds a Masters in Counselling from the University of Victoria, Canada. In addition, she is a certified English as a Second Language instructor, high school English teacher and undertaken Mediation and Mindfulness Based Art Therapy and Stress Reduction Training.
Samreen Ayaz Ali KALANI
Campus Counsellor, Naryn Campus
Samreen Kalani is a Campus Counsellor at the University of Central Asia's Naryn Campus. Kalani is a nationally certified and state-licensed clinician from Chicago, Illinois (USA). Prior to joining to UCA, Kalani worked at Columbia College Counselling Services as a Clinical Trainee, where she provided individual therapy, group counseling, and conducted wellness groups for students from various age groups and diverse cultural backgrounds.
She is trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic models of therapy. She also has extensive training in integrative couple’s therapy. Kalani has been involved in research focusing on perfectionism and understanding the overall life of a college student, and risk factors associated with their mental well-being. She has presented her research at various conferences in the United States. Kalani is passionate about, and advocates for preventative care, student wellness and self-care practices. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences (BS) (double major) in Psychology and Humanities from Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Master of Arts in Counselling from Northwestern University.
Student Life Advisor, Naryn Campus
Asylbek Abdikarimov holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Kyrgyz National Univeristy. Prior to joining to UCA, Abdikarimov worked in private sector including fast-moving consumer goods retail and e-commerce. He is also a member of the Association of Social Entrepreneurs of Kyrgyzstan where he supports the local start-up ecosystem by promoting youth entrepreneurship and organising business training for youth in the region.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Davis Cooper is a Student Life Advisor at UCA’s Khorog Campus. He has been working in the field of youth development and pedagogy since the age of 16. He started his journey as a camp counsellor, a summer occupation which he continues to do in his spare time up to this day. Cooper has also been involved with designing the curriculum for, and teaching children aged 1-6, as well as tutoring students up to the age of 18 in math, English and sciences.
Over the past four years, he has been part of the UCA Summer Upgrading Camp, where he was a camp counsellor for three years. In 2018, he joined the camp’s senior staff team, and assisted to direct and manage the 17-day camp programme for Grade 10 students. He holds a Diploma in Media Technology and Media Management from Die Graphische, a renowned design school in Vienna.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Bonu Hafizova holds a Linguistics degree with cum laude honours from the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Prior to joining UCA, Hafizova worked as Executive Director with the Tajik Community Based Tourism Association and ACTED, an international non-governmental organisation. She led the Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP) Debate Club in Khorog and was a trainer.
Aigul KANTORO KYZY
Student Life Advisor, Naryn Campus
Aigul Kantoro Kyzy holds a BA (International Relations) from the Kyrgyz Turkish Manas University. Prior to joining UCA, she worked at the Beyond Investment Group. Kantoro was previously a UCA Summer Camp counsellor and has tutored in English. She was an intern with the Red Crescent National Society, the Women Support Centre, and Central Asian Research Centre in Kyrgyzstan.
Student Life Advisor, Khorog Campus
Sheroz Naimov holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism, Tajik language and Literature from the Khorog State University, Tajikistan. Prior to joining UCA, Naimov worked as Coordinator of the American Corner in Khorog and was Director Jahoni Mo, a public organisation. Since 2008, he facilitated at national summer camps and the Global Encounters, an international youth camp.
Roy C. SIDLE
Director, Mountain Societies Research Institute, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences
Professor Roy C. Sidle is the Director of Mountain Societies Research Institute and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences with UCA's School of Arts and Sciences. Professor Sidle has more than 40 years of research, teaching, outreach and leadership experience in hydrology, earth sciences, environmental science, sustainability, and natural resources management in four continents including North
America, Europe, Asia and Australia where he has worked with diverse groups of students and researchers. Prior to joining UCA, Professor Sidle served as a Director, Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, where he supervised numerous faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, PhD candidates, and honours students. Professor Sidle has also held leadership positions including the Director of Ecosystems Research Division with National Exposure Research Laboratory (USA Environmental Protection Agency); Professor of Geology and Director of the Environmental Science Programme, Appalachian State University (USA); Professor and Head of the Slope Conservation Section, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University (Japan); Professor of Geography, National University of Singapore, and Executive Officer of Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Project (Netherlands). Professor Sidle holds a Ph.D. in Soils/Civil Engineering /Hydrology from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s from the University of Arizona. Professor Sidle is a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union and recently received the International Award for “significant contributions to progress in the field of hydrology and water resources and valuable devotion to collaboration with Japanese and Asian researchers” from Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources.
Associate Director, Institute of Public Policy & Administration
Dr Roman Mogilevskii coordinates the Institute of Public Policy and Administration at UCA. He has extensive experience researching trade policy, public finance, and macroeconomics in Central Asia and Central Europe. He has also participated in the implementation of research, advisory and training programs across the CIS and has published numerous papers on the issues of regional cooperation and economic policy.
Dr Mogilevskii has held advisory positions at a variety of international organizations operating in Central Asia, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the European Commission. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Social and Economic Research in Kyrgyzstan (CASE-Kyrgyzstan). Dr Mogilevskii holds a Candidate of Sciences degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Institute of Mechanics of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and a degree in Engineering and Economics from the Frunze Polytechnic Institute.
Head of Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit/ Associate Professor of School of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova coordinates the Cultural Heritage & Humanities Unit at the University of Central Asia (UCA) and is an Associate Professor of the School of Arts and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington and is one of the leading cultural anthropologists in the region.
She has edited books and authored articles on Central Asian music, oral traditions, Islam and nomadic cultures. She has presented extensively at international conferences and lectured on Central Asian Islam, Kyrgyz musical and oral traditions, nomadic life and funeral customs at leading universities and research centres including Harvard University’s Central Asian Studies Group, the University of Chicago’s Central Asian Studies Society and Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Dr. Köchümkulova’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary significance of traditions and customs in Turkic Central Asia. She is the co-editor of the UCA/Aga Khan Music Initiative textbook Music of Central Asia: An Introduction, contributing several chapters on Kyrgyz oral tradition and music and taught the UCA pilot course based on the textbook. She served as scholarly editor and coordinated the production of a seminal two-volume collection Kyrgyz Küüs: Analysis, Thoughts, and Opinions (in Kyrgyz language), the first scholarly text on Kyrgyz instrumental music authored by Asan Kaybïlda uulu and published by the UCA Cultural Heritage Book Series. Dr. Köchümkulova is currently working on several books on topics ranging from Kyrgyz national identity to Kyrgyz funeral lamentations. She speaks six languages and is an accomplished musician and composer, having performed widely across the United States and Central Asia.
Deputy Director, SPCE Afghanistan & Tajikistan
Dilovar Butabekov is Deputy Director of the School of Professional and Continuing Education with responsibility of Tajikistan and Afghanistan programmes and campus head of Khorog. Butabekov has had a long career with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), having started as a junior staff member in the AKDN office in Khorog, and then progressed to the position of Administration Manager for the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Tajikistan and Director of Administration for AKF, Tajikistan.
Butabekov holds an Executive MBA (with merit) from the Bradford University School of Management, a Diploma in Economics from the School of Entrepreneurship, Ukraine, and a degree in Civil Aviation Engineering from the Kyiv Civil Aviation Engineering Institute.
Acting Head and Faculty Development Programme Manager, Aga Khan Humanities Project
Dr. Pulat Shozimov currently serves as both Acting Head and Faculty Development Programme Manager of UCA’s Aga Khan Humanities Project. As Acting Head, Dr. Shozimov oversees AKHP activities, including curriculum development, Humanities in English classes, faculty development activities, and AKHP’s Resource Centre and public lecture series.
As Faculty Development Programme Manager, Dr. Shozimov oversees a rigorous training programme in interactive curricula and pedagogy among a network of institutions of higher learning in Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan. A leading Central Asian academic, Dr. Shozimov formerly served as Curriculum Development Project Officer at AKHP. He headed the Department of Western Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Political Studies and Law of the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences, and has conducted research on culture and the formation of national identity in Central Asia. Dr. Shozimov graduated with distinction from the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language and Literature, Dushanbe; received his PhD from the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences, Almaty; and his Doctor of Philosophical Sciences from the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. He is author of Tajik Identity and State Building in Tajikistan, over 70 articles, and editor and author of several chapters of Fergana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia (ME Sharpe, 2011).
Director of Legal Affairs
Nurzhan Albanov is the Director of Legal Affairs at the University of Central Asia. Prior to joining UCA, Albanov worked as a Senior Associate with Dentons Kazakhstan. He specialises in corporate law, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, natural resources and other fields of law. His expertise is dedicated to consulting major mining, oil and gas companies and financial organisations on conducting business in both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
In addition to numerous in-house professional training courses at Dentons, Albanov also completed sustainable development courses at California University, USA. Albanov graduated from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, Kyrgyzstan and the Frankfurt am Main University Institute for Law and Finance in Germany.
Deputy Director, Human Resources
Alisha Rajani currently serves as the Deputy Director of Human Resources at the University of Central Asia (UCA), based in Kyrgyzstan. She has also led the academic launch of UCA's School of Arts and Sciences at the University's second campus in Khorog, Tajikistan. She has over 12 years of diverse management experience across a range of sectors including telecommunications, aerospace, retail, travel, non-profit and higher education.
She has led large-scale change management, employee engagement and process improvement projects across Canada for both Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada as well as at the Gallup Consulting Group where she had the opportunity to consult with some of the largest industry employers across Canada and the US. She holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and an Honours Bachelors of Human Resources Management from York University in Canada. She has a strong interest in empowering individuals to progress in careers that are focused on their strengths and passions.
Head of Internal Audit
Navaz Lalani is the Head of Internal Audit of the University of Central Asia. As a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Risk Management professional, Navaz Lalani has provided, for the past 20 years, risk-based analysis of business situations to help organisations drive positive change and improve performance. Prior to joining UCA, Lalani worked for the Alberta Electric System Operator in Calgary, Canada as a Director Controls, and Audit Services where he worked for more than 9 years.
His areas of competency include planning and executing risk-based internal audits with facilitated workshops; enhancing governance, risk management, and internal controls in a holistic manner; evaluating regulatory compliance and conducting internal investigations; facilitating strategic and operational risk assessments; optimising processes and controls using “lean” principles and techniques to improve effectiveness and efficiency; and facilitating process maturity assessments which help the organisation advance its objectives and initiatives. Lalani holds a SAIT Business Administration Diploma with major in Accounting. He has several certificates in Internal Audit, Risk Management Assurance and Management Accountant. Lalani is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).
Parviz Alidodkhonov joined the University of Central Asia in 2009. As Head of Administration, he is responsible for procurement, supply processes, travel, transportation, policy and regulations. He oversees the administrative function of the University across all three countries – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic. Before joining UCA, from 2002 – 2004, Parviz worked for the Aga Khan Foundation,
Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, and with FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance from 2004 – 2005, managing their procurement and logistics. Parviz successfully completed an MBA with the American University of Central Asia in 2015. He also has a BSc in Philology from the Tajik-Russian Slavonic University.
Bernadette L DEAN
Head, Education Improvement Programme
Dr Bernadette L Dean is the Head of the Education Improvement Programme. Prior to joining UCA, she held numerous high-level academic roles in Pakistan, including as Director of the VM Institute for Education in Karachi; Principal of St. Joseph’s College for Women, Karachi; and Principal of Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore. Dr Dean was also Associate Professor, Head of Academic and Student Affairs and Team Leader of the Citizenship Rights and
Responsibilities Pakistan Programme at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development. In 2006, Dr Dean developed the framework for Pakistan’s National Curriculum and facilitated curriculum development for all subjects offered for Grades K-12. She has extensive experience teaching and supervising at all levels of education, from early childhood to PhD students. She has supervised graduate students from diverse national and cultural backgrounds. Dr Dean has presented academic papers at numerous conferences internationally, and is widely published. She has served on the boards of academic journals, educational institutions, and non-government organisations; on federal and provincial government committees; and as an education consultant to development and donor agencies including the British Council, the GIZ/GIC, UNDP, UNICEF and USAID. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Alberta in Canada and a Masters in Education from the Aga Khan University, Pakistan.
Director, Academic Development & International Partnerships
Dr Salim Sumar provides overall leadership with regards academic excellence through curriculum and course design, working with renowned international and regional academic institutions, developing partnerships as well as heading UCA’s Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP). Dr Sumar has worked in various senior positions in academia and international development across the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Educated in the United Kingdom, he has spent well over two decades in academia in the fields of Food, Nutrition and Public Health. Over this period, he has held various senior academic appointments including full Professor, Chair, Director of Postgraduate Studies, Research Centre and Head of School. In addition, he has supervised a large number of PhD and postdoctoral studies globally, presented and published extensively as well as served on editorial boards of various international academic journals. Dr Sumar has established new teaching and research institutions globally, validated courses and conducted quality audits in teaching and research. He previously worked in global emergency response with various governments, UN agencies and AKDN-FOCUS, serving as its Global Coordinator for Research & Learning.
Director, Civil Society Initiative
Dinara Musabekova is the Director of the University of Central Asia’s Civil Society Initiative. Musabekova has more 10 years experience working with policy makers, business leaders, journalists, academics, non-governmental organisations, and regional experts. She has led several initiatives that promote the improvement of media development, local governance, civil society, political processes, human rights, rule of law, civic education, conflict mitigation and management, public administration, and legislative strengthening
which are directly benefited the civil society actors. Before joining UCA, she was Executive Director of Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia (EFCA) a regional nongovernmental organisation in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. She was also the Director of the Policy Administration Programme at the Soros Foundation, which consists of representatives from think tanks and the expert’s community in Kyrgyzstan. Musabekova was the Chief of Party for a few multiyear community based development programmes of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Regional Director for the Rule of Law, Youth Journalism programmes based in Central Asia. She graduated from Bishkek Humanitarian University, specialising in international economic relations, and is fluent in English, Russian and Chinese. She is an international and national development consultant on Capacity Mapping of CSOs (Project management, indicator definition and data collection, performance frameworks, monitoring and capacity strengthening, sustainability and fundraising).
Karim Munir currently serves as the Financial Controller at the University of Central Asia (UCA), based in Kyrgyzstan. He is currently responsible for all UCA Finance related operations spreading over three countries, reporting to Chief Financial Officer. He has over 12 years of finance experience previously have worked with Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Karachi and East Africa (EA) as Manager Finance.
He has experience in primary, secondary and tertiary education across Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan. His expertise includes finance; strategic and financial planning; project financing; capital projects and programme management. Prior to joining UCA, Munir spent nine years with the AKUH, Pakistan and East Africa as Manager Finance responsible for various departments and initiatives; Treasury; Planning and Budgeting; Institute for Education Development, EA; Faculty of Arts and Sciences, EA and Aga Khan Medical Centre, Arusha. He hold Master of Business Administration with majors in Finance from Muhammad Ali Jinnah University and Master of Arts (Economics) from University of Karachi.
Government and Public Relations Representative, Kazakhstan
Raikhan Sissekenova has served as UCA’s Government and Public Relations Representative in Kazakhstan since 2009. Prior to that, she was engaged in start-up activities for the University and served as Head of the School of Professional and Continuing Education in Tekeli. Sissekenova brings significant research, programme implementation and legal experience to UCA from various sectors.
She provided scientific support to the Kazakh Health of the Nation programme from 1999 to 2001, participated in national social and demographic surveys from 1999 to 2003, and contributed to the development of several legislative bills. Sissekenova is trained as a medical doctor and has a degree in medical sciences, public health and management. She has also studied social management in Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. Sissekenova has published extensively, including articles in scientific publications and three manuals on public health, legal issues and education.
Government and Community Relations Manager, Tajikistan
Dr. Davlatkadam Khushkadamov graduated from the Sadriddin Aini Tajik State Pedagogical University in Dushanbe, with a major in teaching Social Science and History. He holds a Candidate of Sciences in Philosophy. Prior to joining UCA, Dr. Khushkadamov worked as Government Relations Manager with the Aga Khan Development Network, Tajikistan.
Previously, he held different positions with
the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and State agencies including;
Assistant to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan; First Deputy Governor
of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast; Head of Department of Science with
the Ministry of Trade and Economy. He was also Deputy Chief Editor of the Tajik
Soviet Encyclopedia. Dr. Khushkadamov has written numerous articles and
monographs. He is also a member of the International Union of Journalists and a
Manager of Advancement for Tajikistan
Alisher Shernazarov brings to UCA extensive experience in strategic marketing, business development, corporate governance, and investments. His career path evolved from financial analytics for banking in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to leading the corporate development department of one of the major commercial banks in Tajikistan (Orienbank). He was also instrumental in establishing Tajikistan’s first digital stock exchange with more than $150M of advised and structured deals counts, where he was working as CEO
prior to joining UCA. Shernazarov’s educational background is primarily in finance and business. He holds an MSc in Finance from the International Business School in Almaty, and in Fall of 2019 he will graduate from the Berlin based Steibens University’s MBA programme. As Manager for Advancement, Shernazarov will be responsible for generating financial and other support for the programmes of the University of Central Asia within Tajikistan, and expand the reach of the University within the country.
Manager of Advancement for Kyrgyzstan
Prior to joining UCA, Elnura Sulaimanova was employed as an Investment Promotion Manager for business associations, where she worked closely with international organisations, government institutions, private sector and business community in promoting investments to Central Asian countries. Sulaimanova has strong expertise in international cooperation, public relations and education
which she has strengthened during her several years of experience in the Bishkek Municipality, at the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kyrgyz Diplomatic Service and Diplomatic Academy of the Kyrgyz Republic). In, addition, Sulaimanova has teaching and research experience at the local and international level, which she gained through research engagement at OSCE, projects of the World Bank and USAID, LSE, University of St. Andrews and AUCA. At the Diplomatic Academy of the Kyrgyz Republic, she provided teaching in academic writing and international relations for Master degree students as well as special courses for employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. Besides, she has professional experience in project management in development aid projects in Kyrgyzstan, United Kingdom and the United States of America. She holds an MLitt in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St.Andrews, Scotland, UK; a MA in International Economic Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic named after K.Dikambaev, and a BA in International and Comparative Politics from American University of Central Asia, also, certificates upon completion of education programs at LSE, UK and Georgetown University, USA.
Manager, SPCE Learning Centre, Dushanbe
Khairisho Shonusairiev oversees and coordinates activies at the SPCE Learning Centre in Dushanbe. These include teaching and learning processes, quality assurance activities and liaising with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan. Previously, he served as Principal of the Aga Khan Lyceum, Khorog, and Liaison Officer for the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) in Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic.
After attending a one-year programme on training university faculty in English at the University of Durham, United Kingdom, Khairisho conducted professional development courses for English teachers at Tajik State Pedagogical University and secondary schools in Dushanbe. Supported by AKES, Khairisho trained over 100 instructors on interactive pedagogy, linguistics, second language acquisition, and materials development. He also served as Department Head of Foreign Languages for Specific Purposes, Dean of the English Department and Director of the Language Centre at the Tajik State Pedagogical University. Khairisho has a degree in English from Tajik State Pedagogical University and a Certificate in Education from Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development.
Campus Head, SPCE Naryn
Nurbek Nisharapov serves as Campus Head of the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Naryn. A Naryn native, he graduated from the Toktogul Satylganov School and pursued a Master's in Foreign Languages at Naryn State University. After graduating with honours in 2008, Nisharapov moved to Taiwan to study Applied Linguistics and Academic English at the Yuan Ze University.
He joined UCA in 2011 as a Communications Intern. Nishaprapov was later promoted to Assistant Manager of Academic Affairs at SPCE Naryn, where he coordinated the Change the World Around You Social Entrepreneurship project, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. He took over as Manager of Academic Affairs in 2013 and was named Head of SPCE Naryn in August 2016.
Manager, Academic Affairs, SPCE Tekeli
From 2009-2014, Bakhytzhan Sametayev was the Outreach Coordinator for the School of Professional and Continuing Education, Tekeli. In this capacity, he established strong relations with the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund in Almaty to support entrepreneurs and businessmen. Prior to joining UCA, he was a civil servant with the Almaty region Finance Department.
He also served as Head of of Information Technology and Internal Auditor. He frequently speaks at regional conferences and lectures on topics such as national support for Initial Public Offerings and support for businesses in small towns. Sametayev holds a Bachelor's degree from the Gorno-Altay State University, Russia and is currently completing his Master's degree in Economics at the Moscow Witte University.