Canada’s Minister of State Visits University of Central Asia

Date: 17 June 2014
Other languages: Русский язык |

The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Canada’s Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), met with the University of Central Asia (UCA) leadership in Bishkek on 19 May 2014, as part of her official visit to the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.
"We are honoured to welcome Minister Yelich and her delegation,” said UCA Director General Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, “The Canadian government is a key supporter of UCA and our partnerships with Canadian universities are enriching our programmes. These partnerships are paving the way for world-class academic, research and policy programmes, when we open the doors to our first campus in 2016.”

Minister Yelich visits an SPCE class on State Regulation of the Economy in a Market Environment led by instructor Zalkar Kamalov.
Minister Yelich toured the UCA facility and in a briefing with senior staff, she learnt about UCA’s research and educational capacity building initiatives, particularly those implemented in partnership with the Canadian government and Canadian universities.  

“The Government of Canada is a big investor in education through skills development and training. We are pleased to see a regional university developing and encourage further collaboration with Canadian universities,” said Minister Yelich. “The Canadian Government highly values our relationships with Aga Khan institutions and our partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).”
Minister Yelich also learnt about UCA’s contributions to regional growth and stability in Central Asia and Afghanistan and how UCA programmes support women’s empowerment. She was impressed to hear that 60 percent of the 65,000 learners (past and present) in UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education in Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan are women, many of whom receive training in entrepreneurship. This parallels the Canadian government’s enhanced international focus on women’s empowerment through ownership of small and medium sized enterprises.

Minister Yelich and UCA Director General Dr Bohdan Krawchenko discuss UCA’s Canadian partnerships.

The Minister was briefed on UCA’s academic and campus development plans and progress to-date. “UCA’s focus on quality, combined with its unique campus design and positioning as a regional educational facility, will ensure that it is well-placed to contribute to economic growth in the region,” said Minister Yelich, anticipating the UCA Naryn campus opening in 2016.

The Minister of State was accompanied by Paul Seear, Director of Policy, Office of the Canadian Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular); Robert Bacile, Protocol Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and Catherine E. Ivkoff, Counsellor (Political) and Steven Basadur, Senior Trade Commissioner, Head of Commercial Section, at the Embassy of Canada to the Kyrgyz Republic.
"The Government of Canada is an important partner of UCA, and AKDN more broadly, with a growing number of collaborations supporting priority initiatives in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Our shared commitment to economic and human development is driving several capacity building initiatives which are addressing immediate needs and providing the foundation for sustainable development and security in the region,” noted Nurjehan Mawani, Diplomatic Representative of the AKDN in Afghanistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Government of Canada supports a growing number of UCA initiatives. Funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DFATD) for UCA’s Regional Cooperation and Confidence Building project supported the establishment of the University’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration, a regional platform for policy-relevant research and professional development; the publication of over 20 policy papers on regional trade and SME growth; training of  senior civil servants from Afghanistan and Central Asian countries on trade policy and negotiations; and high level events in Kabul and Astana.
The University’s Research and Public Policy Initiative is supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre. It aims to ground policy-making processes in Afghanistan and Central Asia in sound evidence and policy analysis by building the capacity of researchers and expanding the ability of policy professionals to utilise research in policy development.
With support from DFATD, UCA is also working with Carleton University, the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia to develop and deliver professional development, undergraduate and preparatory academic programmes, and conduct research on mountain societies.
During her visit to Central Asia, Minister Yelich also attended the Astana Economic Forum in Kazakhstan, taking part in a panel discussion on women in new economies, and met with business, political and religious leaders.
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