First CAFDP Graduate Fellow returns to UCA

Date: 21 December 2012
Other languages: Русский язык |

Kanat Tilekeyev became the pioneer graduate of University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Central Asian Faculty Development Programme (CAFDP) in September 2012. The Programme provides qualified Central Asian scholars with a commitment to the region the support to pursue postgraduate studies abroad and an opportunity to return to the region as scholars of UCA.

Kanat  making a presentation on Rural Reform in Kyrgyzstan







“UCA is committed to fostering quality scholarship in Central Asia. Building regional capacity is key to creating and sustaining a  high level of quality education and research. We welcome our first returning scholar and look forward to utilizing the expertise of our future graduates,” said Dr Nasreen Dhanani, Director of Research, UCA.

Trained as an economist at the Kyrgyz Agricultural Institute, Kanat’s early professional experience came from his involvement in research and development projects with international organisations such as USAID, Larenstein International Agricultural College, the World Trade Organization and the Asian Development Bank. When he qualified as a CAFDP Graduate Fellow receiving a joint UCA-DAAD scholarship, he chose to relocate his family and pursue his doctoral study at the Center for International Development and Environmental Research, University of Giessen in Germany.

The CAFPD engages Central Asian scholars from various disciplines to help develop and deliver the University’s future undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Development respectively.  In doing so, the Programme give Fellows the opportunity to attend some of the world’s best institutions where they are exposed to current pedagogy and technology, and high educational standards in their fields of study. 

“It was challenging, but I was happy to return to academia,” said Kanat. “Much progress has been made in economic theory, applied research and information technologies since I first graduated in 1994. Returning to student life helped me restructure my skills and enhance my knowledge base.”

At University of Giessen, Kanat’s dissertation research focused on rural poverty determinants in remote rural areas of Kyrgyzstan. The study examined poverty levels in the Kyrgyz Republic, including variables affecting household efficiency, such as family size, age and private land ownership and confirmed a correlation between household efficiency and poverty levels.  The findings add to the body of knowledge on investment processes in Kyrgyzstan, rapid-land reform and the UNDP Human Development Report.

“UCA is developing education and research in Central Asia that aspire to international standards. Poverty is one of the most pressing challenges in the region. Through my research, I hope to contribute to existing scholarship and influence future government policies,” said Kanat.

Successful graduates in the CAFDP are expected to contribute as faculty and scholars at UCA for five years.  Upon his return, Kanat joined UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration as a post-doctoral research fellow where he is engaged in several externally funded research projects including, Enhancing Social Cohesion through Community-Driven Development and Gender and employment in Central Asia: Evidence from Panel Data.  In addition, he plans to conduct further studies based on his dissertation project. 
For scholars like Kanat, CAFDP provides critical opportunities to develop and apply new skills.  For UCA and the region, the Programme is producing qualified and skilled researchers, with an unwavering commitment to the development of Central Asia.

The Central Asian Faculty Development Programme has been operating since 2008.  It is designed to ensure that scholars from Central Asia with top international academic credentials are represented in the UCA faculty.  Currently, 37 scholars are enrolled in 16 universities, working towards the goal of having 80 % of UCA’s faculty being from Central Asia.  In 2013, two of Kanat’s peers will join the ranks of UCA staff and research fellows.   For further information on CAFDP, please visit or write to

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