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AUCA Magazine American University of Central Asia

Winter 2014


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CONTENTS

University Update 07 Social Entrepreneur Asel Baidyldaeva 08 Goodbye Alexandros Petersen, Prodigious Guide to China in Central Asia 10 Kiva and AUCA Changing Higher Education Financing in Central Asia 13 Bishkek A city of the World 14 Leaning-In 100 Years Ago Two Early Female Accounts of Central Asia

by Students Studying Abroad 20 Teaching Jameel Haque on Islamic Studies in New York and Bishkek 22 Working Katarina Czarniak on Office Culture Faculty Update 24 Kumar Sharshembiev Returns Журнал АУЦА 28 «АУЦА готовит студентов к жизни» - Эндрю Вахтель 31 10 лет доброй помощи

US | Kyrgyz Republic 16 The United States. The Kyrgyz Republic. What is the Difference? 18 Learning

Alumni Spotlight 34 Creating a Dream 37 Yama Hotak On Returning to Afghanistan 38 Alumni Success

AUCA Magazine

Sven Stafford, Editor-In-Chief

American University of Central Asia, founded in 1993, is dedicated to educating leaders for the democratic transformation of the region. It is the most dynamic and student-empowering education available, and is the only university in Central Asia with the authority to grant degrees accredited in the United States. AUCA equips its graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to solve problems and open doors in this rapidly changing and developing region and the world beyond...

Publication Team

In this issue we tackle a question that I have had hundreds of times since arriving to Central Asia in 2006, mostly with taxi drivers, but running the gamut from small children to pensioners. What is the difference between the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States? For an American this is difficult to answer because we do not spend a lot of time reflecting on our own culture, and even less about how our culture may impact, interact, or compare to the culture of another country.

Editor-in-Chief: Sven Stafford Copy Editor: Aaron Mead-Long Contributors: Natali Anarbaeva Jameel Haque Katarina Czarniak Yama Hotak Chris Rickleton Cholpon Turdalieva

Pictures: AUCA Archives Bahrom Tursunov Emil Akhmatbekov Natali Anarbaeva

This is my last issue as Editor of the AUCA Magazine. The Magazine will now pass into the capable hands of Dinara Orozbaeva. Over the past three and a half years the AUCA Magazine has evolved from a self-congratulatory vehicle into a publication with a slightly lower opinion (not too much) of itself, presenting the work of our students, faculty, and alumni in a way that connects them to the broader issues affecting Central Asia, and, if we are lucky, the world.

Design and Layout: Emil Akhmatbekov

On the cover: Aknazar Sherniyazov (AUCA ‘17) Photography by Emil Akhmatbekov, Artwork by Lola Dzhumabaeva and Olga Shen.

We will likely not settle any debate here in these pages. What we offer here is the perspective of those who we have asked to spend some time thinking more seriously about what it means to be a student, a professor, or an employee in both the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States. I believe that you will find the pieces honest, and in being so that they will help you in all future taxicab conversations. My wife recently accepted a new position in the United States, and so for the first time in my life I will be looking to be employed full time in my home country. I am interested to see which of the habits I have acquired working abroad will transfer and which will be met with strange looks. My real reservation, however, is that I will not be able to find an adventure equal to that of AUCA. AUCA is a place with good people and few resources, and in every way this contributes to the creativity and fun that happens every day in the hallways. I will miss AUCA, and want to thank all of those who have contributed

You may send your correspondence and subscription inquiries to: AUCA Magazine | American University of Central Asia, 205 Abdymomunov St., Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720040 | Tel./Fax: (996 312) 66-45-64, E-mail: magazine@mail.auca.kg, www.auca.kg

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

In this issue we tackle a question that I have had hundreds of times since arriving to Central Asia in 2006, mostly with taxi drivers

to making the university what it is today. I believe that I am leaving the institution stronger than when I arrived, and am confident that the AUCA adventure will continue, documented here in the pages of the AUCA Magazine.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

05 Editor’s Note 06 President’s Column

Editor’s Note

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President's Column

University Update

Social Entrepreneur

discouraged from straying outside what they were told by their professors. From the Soviet/Kyrgyz perspective, American students were glib but not sufficiently knowledgeable, while from the American point of view, students here knew a lot but had no idea what to do with that knowledge.

What topic could be more appropriate for an American university abroad than the contrast between the ways a university works in the US versus how things operate in its home country? To be sure, there are models of US branch campuses, in Education City, Qatar, for example, where the curriculum and educational program are supposed, at least in principle, to be exact copies of their US counterparts (although even in such cases I am sure that local practice affects what is actually done). AUCA, however, is quite a different story. As the only member of the Association of American International Universities and Colleges that was founded by a local entity, AUCA has from the very beginning found it necessary to negotiate the difficult but often rewarding terrain between American and post-Soviet (Kyrgyz in particular) educational expectations. When people ask me, “what are you trying to accomplish here?” I often reply, “we want to change the way higher education is understood in the Kyrgyz Republic, but we don’t want to turn you into Americans.” What does this mean? Most important, we have tried to make it clear to our students and faculty that our goal is to create independent thinkers who can analyze complex problems from multiple points of view and ably defend their conclusions orally and in written form. If you know anything about the Soviet university system, you will immediately see that these qualities were not considered crucial there. Instead, in the Soviet tradition, students were expected to acquire deep factual knowledge in a given discipline and were generally

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Academics is not the only area in which there are differences between the two systems. Another place in which we see possibilities for synthesis is in student life. The difference can be seen easily in our budgetary priorities. One of our new trustees from the US, looking at our budget, asked “how can our budget for performances be four times the size of our budget for sports? How do you create school spirit?” To him, this question made sense. In the US, even at relatively small liberal arts colleges, the athletics department takes on outsize proportion in terms of attention and budget. Here at AUCA, following local tradition, although many students who participate in athletics, we do not have anything like the expenses of a US university in this category. But anyone who has experienced the extravagant and wonderful shows that we put on at times, like Freshman Initiation or Diversity Week, will realize that school spirit does not suffer. Instead, it has other outlets, which grow organically from the traditions of Soviet universities, even if they have now developed well beyond them in terms of quality and reach. The whole point of AUCA is to find an appropriate balance between local and international educational traditions and to draw from the best of them to produce a unique educational environment for our students. Of course, we do not always succeed in doing this, but I believe that the stories in this issue of our magazine illustrate the complex and sometimes contradictory ways in which this synthesis manifests itself. Andrew Wachtel President, AUCA

entrepreneurial projects to address challenges in their communities. In November 2013 a series of workshops was conducted throughout the Kyrgyz Republic to encourage applications to the competition. As many as 230 proposals were submitted.

Six winners of the ‘Change the World!’ Social Entrepreneurship Competition received up to $2,500 each to implement innovative projects in their communities across the Kyrgyz Republic. The winners received their awards at a ceremony at the University of Central Asia (UCA) in Bishkek on January 17. The winning projects included a fitness center for the elderly with diabetes in Bishkek; a wastepaper collection and sorting initiative to reduce waste in Osh; a laundromat for people with disabilities in Bokonbaev village; a bathhouse to improve hygiene among miners in Batken Oblast; a training center for children with disabilities in Nokat; and a call center employing the visually impaired in Bishkek. “There are many people in the Kyrgyz Republic who suffer from diabetes,” said Asel Baidyldaeva, whose idea it was to create the fitness center for the elderly, “I want to encourage people to have a healthy lifestyle. More physical activity means less need for insulin. I’ve worked with people with diabetes for over three years. With this funding, I can have an even greater impact.” The ‘Change the World!’ Competition encourages young people to design and implement social

Twenty-one finalists were selected to receive social entrepreneurship training from the UCA School of Professional and Continuing Education from January 3 to 17. The training included courses on social marketing, business communication and information technology, social entrepreneurship and business planning. “Before the training, I hadn’t fully developed my computer skills,” said Aigerim Sakieva, who designed the wastepaper collection initiative in Osh, “Now I see that these skills are necessary for launching my project. I used to hate numbers but now that I know how to use Excel, it’s much easier!” Following the training, the finalists presented refined business plans to an independent selection committee. Six winners were selected to receive seed funding to implement their projects. The award ceremony was attended by Nuraliev Marat Abdykerimovich, Deputy Minister of Labor, Migration and Youth of the Kyrgyz Republic. Each of the twenty-one finalists received a record of achievement and the six winners received their awards. “Now is the time for our winners to use their new design, technical, business and entrepreneurial skills to help their communities,” said Erdinc Guzel, General Manager, Coca-Cola

Bishkek Bottlers, Kyrgyz Republic, congratulating the participants, “The foundation of social entrepreneurship is a fundamental desire to help people. Social entrepreneurs strive to improve the lives of others, and the well-being of communities in the Kyrgyz Republic is a critical focus of Coca-Cola.” It was the second annual competition. The nine winners from last year’s inaugural ‘Change the World!’ Competition implemented projects ranging from creating employment opportunities for rural students to building wheelchair accessible ramps at public buildings. “Like last year’s winners, these young entrepreneurs have demonstrated creativity in addressing serious community challenges. They have skillfully integrated what they learned during the social entrepreneurship training into their project proposals,” said Gulnara Djunushalieva, Director of UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education. The ‘Change the World!’ Competition is implemented by the University of Central Asia with support from the Aga Khan Foundation and in partnership with AUCA partner the International Academy of Business (Kazakhstan). The social entrepreneurship contest and projects are funded by The CocaCola Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company under the “Empowering Youth for Socioeconomic Development in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan” project. Phase I was launched in July 2012 in the Kyrgyz Republic with nine winners receiving grants of up to $3,000 to implement social entrepreneurship projects in their communities. Phase II is currently underway in the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Is the golden mean possible? Can we produce students with an impressive knowledge base but who are at the same time broad and independent thinkers capable of working in at least two and preferably three languages, despite the fact that the once formidable Soviet secondary school system no longer works very well? One way we try to do this is by combining the degree requirements for our programs, allowing students to receive both a Kyrgyz-accredited and a Bard College degree. When they do, it means that our graduates have covered both the depth expected by the Kyrgyz/Soviet system and the breadth and thinking required by the American. As we go forward, attempting to instill a better understanding of the liberal arts approach in here Central Asia, we will always keep in the back of our mind the advantages of the local system, thereby producing a synthesis that is better than either of the separate approaches.

Asel Baidyldaeva

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University Update

Prodigious Guide to Central Asia

I can still hear his tale of the duplicitous Azerbaijani ambassador that summoned him for a dressing down after he had written a critical article about that country, only to promptly stop, smile, and break out a teapot and tea cups.

years traveling through countries in Europe and Asia, nearly all of which were outrageously funny. A Petersen punch line could leave your ribs hurting from laughter, a potent and particular gift that the Taliban stole from the world. With a sprinkle of humor, Alex slipped seamlessly and gracefully into a region of stories and storytellers, abundance and poverty, toasts and toast-makers. The 29 year-old go-to-scholar and commentator was eloquent and bighearted in everything he did. It was with great shock that I comprehended the loss of Alexandros Petersen, co-author of the excellent Eurasian affairs blog ChinainCentralAsia. com, in a suicide bomb attack carried out by the Taliban at a restaurant in central Kabul on January 17, 2014.

This is not an obituary. Alex was so well-traveled and well-affiliated that compiling his biography would probably be a task beyond any single person, and certainly the author of this article. A great number of people knew Alex in a great number of capacities, all of whom lost something in this brutal, highly coordinated and

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

premeditated attack. American son of a Greek mother and a Danish father, he had friends and admirers across the world, with a notable concentration of both in lands sandwiched between the shores of the Black Sea and the sands of the Taklamakan desert. As an occasional journalist, I had known ‘Alex the source’ – always reliable for an astute and erudite quote – for some time before I knew Alex the person. While the first Alex will leave a gaping hole in the Rolodex of many analysts and reporters covering Central Asia and the Caucasus, it is the second Alex, known by family, friends, colleagues and students, that will be missed even more. As a noted expert in energy politics, Alex’s scope was global, yet like many that have traveled through, lived and worked in, or wrote about the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus, there was a specific set of countries he found infectious. As he emphasized in

his book The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West, and later through the ChinainCentralAsia blog and book project, this is a region that western policy-makers ignore at their peril. Many people that knew Alex, even as briefly as I knew him, will know that he had an aptitude for anecdotes. Through the warm, fuzzy memory of one of several excellent dinner evenings at a well-known Georgian restaurant in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic (a dash of the Caucasus in Central Asia), I can still hear his tale of the duplicitous Azerbaijani ambassador that summoned him for a dressing down after he had written a critical article about that country, only to promptly stop, smile, and break out a teapot and tea cups. The dressing down, it emerged, had been recorded for the benefit of a political higher-up in Baku, while the teapot and tea cups were symbols of the perennial hospitality with which any visitor to the region rapidly becomes familiar. On a good night, Alex could reel off a dozen such recollections from his

China in Central Asia Through ChinainCentralAsia. com, one of the most readable Englishlanguage blogs covering geopolitics in the Eurasian region, Alex, with co-writer Raffaello Pantucci and photojournalist Sue Anne Tay, had begun to document what he was convinced, with good reason, would be one of the stories of the 21st century, namely China’s giant economic push through the countries lying west of its own restive Xinjiang province. These countries, cobbled together as “the stans” by the Western media, lie at the historical heart of some of the greatest land empires the world has known, but are now isolated states increasingly shorn of options. Hamstrung by geography, corruption and various other internal problems, they have few reasons to reject Chinese largess, and even fewer means to resist it. Belatedly, the chronicle of exponentially increasing Chinese trade and investment in Central Asia

has started to turn heads beyond the region and its regular gaggle of foreign observers. Last September, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s whirlwind tour through Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan raised eyebrows across the world by virtue of the sheer size of the deals struck for oil, gas and other giant infrastructure projects in the region. For Petersen, Pantucci and others, this was a plot that had been bubbling for some time, and one that is increasingly central to the epic that is China’s rise towards superpower status. While Alex diligently tracked every stretch of pipeline built by the Chinese in the region, he also knew that China’s influence in Central Asia could not be measured in kilometers of road, barrels of oil, or cubic meters of gas alone. Many of the articles on ChinainCentralAsia.com are enjoyable to read precisely because they gather the testimonies of ordinary Central Asians being affected by the changes that have accompanied China’s expanding clout; from university teachers observing the implementation of Confucius Institutes in their places of work, to local businessmen whose bank accounts have been swollen due to trade with China, and villagers who believe the roads Chinese companies are building in their country – paid for by cheap Chinese credit – are designed to support the weight of Chinese tanks in a future military invasion. The practitioners of Beijing’s westward pivot, and the protagonists in the emergence of what ChinainCentral Asia.com has labeled China’s “inadvertent empire” are also human beings rather than mere pawns on a chessboard, a fact Petersen captured in an October article in

The Atlantic: These actors include Chinese owners of market stalls in Central Asia’s largest bazaars. One I spoke to had lived for years in a shipping container he shared with four other men at the back of a clothes market in Kazakhstan’s largest bazaar. A multi-millionaire, he provided for his children’s Western education, multiple apartments in Shanghai, and even overseas property investments. To him, Central Asia is the land of opportunity. These actors also include Chinese teachers sent to staff the many Confucius Institutes sprouting up around the region. Some I spoke with missed home, but many said

they preferred the exciting “frontier life.” CNPC engineers across the region know that they are in for the long haul as their company and its many subsidiaries build imposing structures in every Eurasian capital. The immense pipeline network CNPC is threading through the region consists of infrastructure set to last half a century.

Alex the Guide Beyond his writing Alex also inspired as a teacher, and it was during his semester-long stint at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, that I got to know him on a personal level. Among the juniors and seniors in the International and Comparative Politics Department (many of whom have written articles for Global Voices) that took his elective courses, and freshmen of all departments undertaking the First Year Seminar, Alex was a universally admired guide and friend, as well as a teller of fantastic stories. To both students and colleagues at the university, he was open, approachable, and a willing to discuss ideas.

We are thinking of his family. A man of many temporary homes, Alex was in Kabul to embark on another research and teaching stint at the American University of Afghanistan. Writing to him a few days before he died, I told him I was looking forward to a new series of dispatches on the nature and shape of Chinese influence in this fascinating, beautiful, and tortured country. Now those dispatches will never be written, and the students he was teaching will miss out on the tremendous wealth of knowledge, experience and color he brought to a classroom. When the Taliban cut his life short so brutally, it was fellow Afghans they punished. As his friend and writing partner Raffaello Pantucci communicated via email, “a bright light has gone out.” Chris Rickleton manages the GV Central Asia Interns Project at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

University Update

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University Update

Kiva and AUCA Changing Higher Education Financing in Central Asia

Many people think that AUCA is only for the rich, the privileged, or for those with a rich, privileged relative. This has always been a half truth, but it also distracts from the more important question of whether AUCA accepts students based on merit rather than their ability to pay tuition. The short answer is that, yes, all AUCA students meet the entrance requirements. The long answer sheds light on an important discussion at AUCA about helping deserving students fund their education. In the United States merit-based admission at private universities is accomplished through a combination of a wealthy minority who are able to pay full tuition, and a majority who use both student loans and university financial aid – funded by university endowments and fundraising. All three streams – tuition, loans, and endowment/fundraising – are instrumental to upholding the current admission system.

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

This system now faces several challenges. Tuition has risen over 80% just in the last 10 years. Universities have also increased financial aid, but fundamentally this trend means that universities are relying on attracting a certain number of wealthy students every year to subsidize meritorious students who cannot pay. Student loan debt has increased 300% over the same period and, with over $1 trillion in outstanding loan debt, is now only second to mortgage debt. Student loans take advantage of young borrowers who do not fully understand the burden they will inherit upon graduation – one that will stay with them for life, as student loans are not dischargeable. University endowments and fundraising vary by institution, with those having larger, stronger endowments able to better uphold the sanctity of merit-based admission. Almost every endowment, however, lost between

20-25% of its value in the 2008 crisis. Much of this has been recovered, but tuition and student loan growth in the past half-decade have continued to grow as jobs have not recovered and more people apply to upgrade their skills. These three trends vary even among the best universities. In 2013 Princeton’s endowment contributed over 50% of its net revenue, while Columbia’s contributed less than 10%. The real stress is felt among the nation’s lesser known but more numerous smaller colleges. In a 2011 survey by Inside Higher Education 22% of admissions directors in the US acknowledged that as a result of the financial crisis, students’ ability to pay did play a role in admissions decisions. Tuition, loans, and endowment/ fundraising all play a role in how students in Central Asia decide whether they should attend AUCA. In some ways the challenges facing AUCA are very

similar to universities in the US, and in some ways very different. The same is true for the way AUCA is trying to meet these challenges.

TUITION In the United States universities set tuition and financial aid largely based on a family’s tax returns. The tax system in the Kyrgyz Republic is not nearly as robust or accurate, and so the AUCA Financial Aid Office faces the herculean task every year of trying to provide fair financial aid to incoming students. This creates some situations where students who could be paying more do not, and others where students who deserve more financial aid are refused. At AUCA tuition accounts for between 35-40% of revenue. In 2011-12 AUCA raised its official tuition by 100% (Net tuition payments also increased, but by much less - between 10-25%). Previous tuition had been kept artificially low, in many cases less expensive than private kindergartens in Bishkek. When plotted against Kyrgyz Consumer Price Index (World Bank data) the average tuition (including financial aid) paid by a student in 2013-14 is actually only 10% more than in 2005, a far cry from the increases seen in the US. The most important thing to note is that the increased official rate allows AUCA to provide more access to students who need financial assistance. Students that can afford to pay full tuition do so, and subsidize education for those who are not able to pay. In 2013-14 there are 110 out of 1033 undergraduate students who are paying full tuition. This represents a 22% increase from 2011-12 when there were only 86 students paying full tuition. In other words, in 201314 AUCA was able to offer about an additional $60,000 in financial aid. Another way such a tuition schedule works in favor of AUCA students is through scholarships granted by third parties such as international organizations. Whereas in the previous system such scholarships included a hidden AUCA discount, now university partners are paying the full cost of education.

LOANS In the US students owe over one trillion dollars in education loans. In the Kyrgyz Republic this number is practically $0. Several efforts have been made to subsidize student loans, including a program from USAID and KICB that ultimately proved unsuccessful, as the interest rate (16%) and collateral demands were much too high for students and their families. In 2013-14 AUCA introduced a new partnership with Kiva, an American crowd-source loan service, to provide the first student loans to AUCA freshmen to help them pay for university. The most important aspect of the loans is the interest rate – 0%. This year 137 students each received 0% loans for $1,100 to pay for tuition at AUCA. The loans were funded by over 4,000 individuals around the world.

W HY STUDENT LOANS? Student loans are an investment in yourself. Studies from around the world show that those with university degrees earn significantly more over their lives than those without. It is clear, then, that for an individual the decision to take out a loan to go to university is a pretty straightforward economic decision. At a macroeconomic level, the hope is that providing loans to students (in the US, most student debt is guaranteed by the government) will increase access to education and provide workers for the economy. The evidence on this front is mixed. Universities compete with each other to be elite – to have the best students, the best faculty, and the best (wealthiest) alumni. It is in the interest of universities, then, to restrict the supply of admitted students, and in fact, university ratings reflect this through a “% Admitted” metric that is supposed to be a proxy for exclusivity and demand among students. The supply of admission spaces therefore is inelastic. If our goal is to create more access for students to these top institutions, then increasing demand, when supply is inelastic, will only drive up prices for those few spots. This is exactly what we have seen in the US over the past

decade. To really increase access on a macro level, the best thing to do would be to pay universities directly to provide financial aid and mandate an increase in student body. If student loans are an imperfect government policy in the US, then it is a fair question to ask whether they should be adopted here in the Kyrgyz Republic and at AUCA specifically. The most important answer is that AUCA is trying to grow its student body, so giving students and families more access to financing options will increase the number of AUCA students, not the exclusivity of AUCA. The AUCA 0% loans are also relatively small compared to their US counterparts, and AUCA alumni reap larger benefits from completing their education. The average student loan debt in the US is $29,000 at variable interest rates as high as 7%, while the average student loan at AUCA is $1,100 at 0%. In terms of income after graduation, AUCA graduates earn average monthly salaries over $600, compared with less than $200/month for the rest of the country, and $296/ month in Bishkek. AUCA graduates are earning about 100% more than their counterparts upon graduation, and will pay back a smaller percentage of their salary compared to average US student debt and wages.

KI VA AND AUCA Over 4,000 individuals made the AUCA student loan program possible. Kiva calls these loans impact lending, but it is worth exploring here just what Kiva is, and why people give their money interest free to students they have never met. Kiva was founded in 2005 as a way to connect people and projects around the world. An evolution from Sally Struthers’ pleas to help children in Africa, Kiva connects social investors (basically anyone with a computer, a credit card, and the desire to do good), with projects that have been vetted by local microfinance institutions (MFIs). To date this has resulted in over one million lenders, $492 million in loans in 73 countries, and a 99% repayment rate.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

University Update

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University Update

University Update

FUNDRAISING

At headquarters in San Francisco - the Kiva team.

The AUCA endowment accounts for between 10-12% of AUCA revenue. The remaining 50% of the budget comes from fundraising through international organizations, nonprofits, and individual donors. AUCA has relied on long-time donors Soros Foundation and USAID to build the institution and educate the future leaders of Central Asia. Under the presidency of Dr. Wachtel, AUCA has maintained those close ties while also leading the university towards a sustainable future with a new, diverse group of donors. AUCA is also starting to receive significant donations from its alumni.

Bishkek,

A City of the World

1

Go to www.kiva.org and find a project that you would like to support.

2

Click on the ‘Lend’ button, and lend as little as $25 to the project.

3

As the project happens, you receive updates from the borrower.

4

As the borrower repays the loan, the money returns to your account.

5

You can then make another loan on Kiva, or withdraw the money.

Kiva has been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating

Kiva gives 100% of each loan to the borrower and operates through donations made by lenders, as well as support from foundations and charities. Lenders should be aware, however, that borrowers are most likely being charged interest through the local MFIs that facilitate the loan, and many times this interest exceeds 20%. Kiva does perform due diligence on its partners in the field to prevent predatory lending practices, which contributes to

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Kiva’s 99% repayment rate. Still, on the other end of these transactions there are large investors who are profiting from the generosity of people around the world who demand no interest rate. AUCA and Kiva started working together in early 2013 after meeting with a Kiva Fellow working in Kyrgyzstan with Bai Tushum Bank, the other Kiva partner in the country. There was some skepticism that lenders would actually fund the loans for students, but every loan that AUCA posted was funded, compared to a 90% success rate for all loans in the Asia region. It is impossible to say for certain why AUCA students were more successful in fundraising, but it does mean that this is a tool that will reduce the financial barriers for students hoping to study at AUCA.

ENDOWMENT/

This source of funding is often the largest source of individual gifts to a university. While the years spent at AUCA fosters generosity and giving among our young alumni, most simply are not advanced enough in their careers to be able to give financially. However, alumni from our first two graduating classes (’97 and ’98) have in the past year committed to over $100,000 in scholarship money.

CONCLUSION AUCA has never been a rich university in terms of money and budget. It has survived on the grit and creativity of those students and faculty who have dedicated themselves to honesty and excellence in education in Central Asia. As long as these students dedicated to transforming their world exist, AUCA will work to open doors to those opportunities.

The AUCA Anthropology Department and Central Asian Studies Institute organized a joint conference titled: This city is ... a city in the world. Bishkek – a seemingly typical post-Soviet city – has some special aura. There is something about the city that is not easy to catch, explain, or measure. The city follows its own subtle logic projected into space, time, and discourse through a variety of forms, characters, and stories. The conference invited participants to think about what makes our city unique. The ellipsis in the title was there purposefully to spark discussion and debate. Presenters from various academic disciplines and NGOs participated. If there is anything that this conference truly revealed about Bishkek, it was the diversity of its urban intellectual landscape. Camps formed at the conference that reflected this diversity: theoretically grounded activists, phenomenological-architects, AUCA faculty/students, and representatives of the city administration. Relations between these camps were scarcely harmonious; the activists in particular were challenging almost all other groups. It was constructive opposition though, grounded not in personal antagonisms, but rather ideological differences reinforced by strong theoretical perspectives. There were two days of presentations at the conference. AUCA students presented the first day, while scholars, practitioners, and activists presented on the second. Student presentations were informed by two AUCA courses: “Facebook, Urban Life and Youth Culture” and “Clean Development Policy and Practice”. The range of topics covered by students was extensive: ethnographic papers on Bishkek’s coffee culture, K-Pop fans, perception of beauty, urban symbols, religious youth, road safety, social housing, rapid bus transit system, urban water crisis, and garbage recycling. Two short films were presented on the life of Bishkek’s “podzemka” and on Bishkek’s micro-districts. This was the first experience with conference presentations for many students, which was valuable in

and of itself. A presentation on the Bishkek City Development Strategy opened the second day. Bishkek deputies presented Bishkek as a city of freedom, a city for people, and a city with a competitive economy and high quality urban spaces. Activists from the Our Right Foundation, School of Theory and Activism Bishkek, and Feminist Collective SQ followed the city officials. They portrayed Bishkek as a city with all kinds of injustices embedded in the psychology of residents and codified in the policies of the city administration. They continued to say that these injustices reinforce one another and keep the city from having to reform. Interestingly, the presentations by architects were very personal, emotional, and, as one participant put it, “phenomenological”. Architects process urban space through the prism of their own feelings and memories, and they form new visions through experimentation with their own perceptions. They left us with very interesting new metaphors, unusual perspectives and unexpected takes on Bishkek. Somewhere in between the emotionally charged activists and the experimentally-minded architects were the AUCA faculty who presented on several interesting topics: Bishkek’s ethnic composition, jazz, the cultural identities of Bishkek’s writers, urban boundaries, and the transformation of religious space and social life in Bishkek’s microdistricts. Perhaps the unique thing about Bishkek is the variety of experiences it offers us. The conference revealed not one, but many diverse and often contradicting views on the city. In doing so, the city was revealed as a complicated system with much to be discovered.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Kiva works like this:

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University Update

University Update

Leaning-In 100 Years Ago

Two Early Female Accounts of Central Asia

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KYRGYZ WOMEN IN GALA DRESS, 1920 THE GAME OF BAIGU - THE PICK-UP, 1920

A KYRGYZ MAN AND HIS DAUGHTER, 1920 relatives. It also confirms some differences, as we know that Kyrgyz from northern tribes created taller yurts that were five to six feet in height. Sykes was the sister of the famous British military officer and explorer Sir Percy Sykes. Percy spent twenty five years in Iran, before being summoned to Kashgar to replace George Macartney as Consul General. In 1915 Ella accompanied her brother on a seven-week expedition to the Chinese (east) and Russian (west) Pamir mountain range. Catherine Borland, similarly to Sykes, traveled to Central Asia because of her husband’s diplomatic assignment, and upon arrival found much occasion for travel and adventure. Catherine married Sir George Macartney in 1898, and in 1890, at 21, she packed up her life in London and made her way to Kashgar via the Caspian Sea, Baku, Tashkent, Samarkand, Osh, and the Terek-Davan pass. She remained based in Kashgar for seventeen years while her husband remained in his position, and she used that time to explore the region. She traveled with wellknown regional scientists Aurel Stein and Albert con Lecoq, as well as with her husband through East and West Turkestan. The result of the travel was her book, published in 1931, An English Lady in Chinese Turkestan. The book was republished in 1986 with a forward from Great Game author Peter Hopkirk. During Lady Macartney’s time in Central Asia she gave birth to two children, and often

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In the fall of 2013 AUCA Anthropology Professor Cholpon Turdalieva conducted research at Columbia University as part of the USAID-AUCA Moving Forward grant. Women see the world differently. At the turn of the 20th century Central Asia had mostly been divided between the Russian and British empires. Several male accounts and histories of the period exist, but usually in the context of the broader political, economic, and geographic imperialist motives. This period, however, also produced several excellent Russian and British female accounts of the region, and here I shall highlight two works by Englishwomen Ella Sykes and Lady Catherine Macartney. While it is true that these accounts of Central Asia also convey a feeling of British superiority, the women are simply more rigorous in their description of the everyday lives of the people they encountered on their journeys. Sykes’ description of her yurt, from her book Through the Deserts and Oases of Central Asia, provides a good example: “At our next halt, Kuntigmas, meaning “the place that the sun cannot reach,” I was provided with an akhoi (yurt) all to myself. Indeed, I always dwelt in these roomy “white houses” whenever possible. They are usually eighteen feet in diameter, the same size as the Turkoman kibitkas in the north of Persia, and the framework of willow-wood is a trellis about four feet high, which pulls out and is placed on the ground in a circle. To the upper edge of this a series of curved laths are tied about a foot apart, the other end of these laths being inserted into the holes of a thick wooden hoop that forms the top of the dome-like erection. Large felts are now fastened with ropes over the akhoi, leaving free the opening at the top to admit light and air – also rain and snow on occasion – and to let out the smoke of the fires. In case of really bad weather a felt can be drawn over the circular opening, and again withdrawn, on the same principle as the ventilation arrangements in some of the London theaters. These dwellings can be purchased for £7 (a Chinese yambu), but those of superior quality often go up to £35 in price.” Sykes account further confirms what we know about Kyrgyz dwellings in Western China at the time – a yurt and a stationary clay house that was used during the winter or for poorer

brought them in tow on her adventures. During this time she developed a great appreciation for the strength and sturdiness of Kyrgyz women and children. “They do not seem to have large families generally speaking, and the infant mortality is very high, due to the hard winters in the mountains and the prevailing ignorance of sick nursing; so the strongest survive and grow up into very hardy men and women.” Both Sykes and Macartney make note of the impressive dowries paid for brides in the region. Sykes writes, “In comparison with Muslim women in other parts of the world, the Kyrgyz women enjoyed greater conditions despite the fact that their lives were filled with tense and continuous work. Due to the fact that women are a minority in the Pamir Mountains, they are valued more highly, and a man with many daughters considers himself rich. I was told that a hundred sheep or 5 Chinese Jamba (£ 35) was an acceptable price. In our camp the leader told me that he paid over £ 500 for his wife in livestock and money. On the other hand, the wife also brings a dowry of camels, horses, yaks, clothing, and jewelry equal to the gift received by her father from the groom.” Here it is necessary to make the clarification that the dowries were not equal. It was usual at the time for the husband to pay more than the father giving his daughter away.” Sykes and Macartney contributed to the landscape of Central Asia in ways similar to their contemporaries such as Mary Kingsley, Margaret Fuller, and Gertrude Bell, all of whom helped pave the way for female researchers. Their work does not escape the Eurocentrism and imperial attitudes that were typical of the period, but their observations form an important part of the literature from which we can reconstruct the lives of the people they came into contact with, and one of the few from the female perspective.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

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US | Kyrgyz Republic

Learning AUCA and International Students’ Experiences Studying Abroad We asked several AUCA alumni, students, and exchange students to tell us about the similarities and differences between an American and Kyrgyz education. Esen Rysbekov (AUCA ’12), 2011 Exchange Student to Bard College “The main difference between AUCA and Bard College was that people at Bard were not procrastinators. They studied hard. No student was afraid to talk in class or ask professors about something that was unclear. Since Bard College had a dormitory, students had the opportunity to live their lives without thinking about the world around them. They studied constantly. When you’re surrounded by “nerds,” you can’t NOT study. AUCA was different. I really like the people who study at and graduate from AUCA. I felt at home there. Things were a little slower paced, yet AUCA puts on tons of interesting events, meetings, and seminars. The Kyrgyz Republic is itself a very small country, and you end up getting to know all your classmates. After graduating, you become part of a large alumni network who study all over the world and work in huge companies and organizations.” Thomas Olsen, 2011 Exchange Student 2011 to AUCA “I am from Grand Island, Nebraska, USA. I studied Political Science at Hastings College in Hastings Nebraska and I studied at AUCA my junior year 2011-2012, mostly taking classes from the International Comparative Politics (ICP) Department. Studying as an exchange student gave me a different experience than studying as a local AUCA student because of how my program was formatted in comparison to the how the normal study program was formatted at AUCA. Because AUCA is structured like an American university, there are some similarities between how I studied here and how I studied there. One example is having a limited number

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of credits per semester. When I was at AUCA, the Bard exchange program required that all of our classes be worth four credits as opposed to the typical three credits that the University offered, so we had to do some extra work to make the class worth an extra credit. From my experience here, professors seemed to have more things going on with their careers then just teaching, meaning I had more rescheduled classes at AUCA than I did in America. Though not true of all, another difference between professors from my home school and those at AUCA was that more professors seemed have started outside education, either in the government or the NGO sector. At AUCA, the ICP department had a more specialized focus than the Political Science department at my home college. At my home college, we worked and trained with a few different methods of studying political phenomena, looking at domestic and international events, as well as general political theory and its application. Conversely, the ICP department at AUCA focuses on the domestic politics of the Kyrgyz Republic while using the comparative method to study international politics. This was what I had been studying in the US anyway, so it was great for me. Looking at higher education in the Kyrgyz Republic compared with that of the US, I would say one marked difference is the presence of corruption in Kyrgyz higher education, although that was not something I heard of or experienced at AUCA. Bribing teachers was something that many people pointed out as a problem in Kyrgyz universities. The reason corruption is so prevalent here is low pay and lack of oversight of professors, which are not issues in the US. While I’m not saying that there are no isolated instances of professors abusing their position and students trying to bribe or use other non-ethical means of getting better grades doesn’t exist in the US, the problem isn’t as widespread as it is in the Kyrgyz Republic. One last thing I want to touch on is the difference between class structure at my home institution and at AUCA. I felt that on occasion at AUCA we might have covered certain things in class longer than what the syllabus

originally indicated. A topic could be covered in two classes instead of just one to make it a little clearer. While this has happened in the US as well, I feel that professors at my home institution were generally able to stick to the syllabi better than those at AUCA. That had its advantages and disadvantages since it meant that we would know a certain topic or situation really well at AUCA but only at the expense of another topic that we would have to condense or cut out later in the semester. Overall, I really enjoyed my time at AUCA and felt that I learned a lot, but I was also very self-motivated. There were some students who didn’t get as much out of the experience because of possible language issues, busier schedules than me, and perhaps the occasional lack of motivation.”

Meerim Atakishieva (AUCA ‘14), 2013 Exchange Student to Bard College “I was an exchange student at Bard College where I spent a semester studying economics. Though Bard doesn’t offer a lot by way of economics courses, it has lots of amazing resources and databases, including subscriptions to all well known journals (including, of course, economic ones). Unfortunately, students in the Kyrgyz Republic have limited access to such publications. Another benefit to studying at Bard was the Levy Institute of Economics, which is located on campus and whose researchers are always ready to help with questions. Professors there were very accessible and helpful. I was also very surprised when I found out that all of them had completed at least one PhD at leading US universities (again, taking into account that Bard doesn’t specialize in economics). It’s not that professors in the Kyrgyz Republic are not qualified or accessible to students, but at Bard I always felt free to ask questions. The main difference, in my opinion, is

the workload. There were no actual lectures in upper-level classes. All were conducted as seminars and we were expected to complete readings before class and be able discuss each theme in class. The professor played the role of guide throughout the conversation. I used to read five or six hundred pages a week, and that was normal for local students. Overall, I was impressed and exhausted by the end of my exchange semester; impressed by the amount of knowledge that I gained, and exhausted by the amount of readings I had to complete to gain that knowledge.” Maria Panfilenko (AUCA ‘14), 2012-13 UGRAD Exchange Student to Florida State University “I was lucky enough to spend one academic year at Florida State University (FSU) as a Global UGRAD fellow, a cultural exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State. I can definitely say it was the best experience I have had in my life so far. For me an education in the U.S. turned out to be exactly what I needed - great in-class discussions, funny lectures and seminars, highly quality professors who gave insightful feedback, incredible campus facilities, and classmates from virtually every corner of the globe. American state universities are usually quite big, and mine in particular had more than 40,000 students coming from about 130 countries. Isn’t that impressive? In Kyrgyz universities, cultural diversity is not that pronounced. The way classes are held in the US was very different, too. Many of our college professors here deliver lectures with no discussion, whereas in the U.S. conversations among students and professors are highly encouraged and take place all the time. This phenomenon is a crucial part of higher education in the US, where students are not just learning something from their professors, but professors are eager to learn new things from their students, too. It is always a two-way street, a constant exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experiences. Campus life is another great feature of the American university. There were all types of facilities available at FSU – dining halls, restaurants, libraries working pretty much 24/7, concert halls, a movie theater, a huge gym with a swimming pool, stadiums, media studios, and many other resources available for students and faculty. The campus lacked nothing

that students and professors needed to be successful; everything was provided for the well being of each and every member of the community. There is an issue with textbooks in American universities though – unlike in the Kyrgyz Republic where we are usually given books and readings we need for our classes, students in the US have to buy all their own textbooks, usually at high cost. In terms of interaction among classmates, students of the same year in Kyrgyz universities usually take many if not all their classes together. This provides them with ample opportunity to build life-long relationships with each other. It is no secret that after graduating from the same local university, alumni tend to keep in touch and stay friends for a long time. In the U.S., it is a little different – everyone has a more or less unique schedule because, while there are required classes, American universities allow students to take many elective courses. Again, it is not like that here in the Kyrgyz Republic where the same group of students follow the same schedule and attend the same classes together each year.” Diana Gurbanmyradova (AUCA ‘14), 2007-08 FLEX Exchange Student, 2013 exchange student to Bard College “I have two experiences with being an exchange student in America. Initially, I studied for a year in an American high school, and more recently I completed a study abroad exchange program at Bard College. Universities in the US differ greatly from those in the Kyrgyz Republic. While some students prefer to study in their home countries, others choose to obtain a graduate level education at American universities. Below, are some major reasons why one would choose to study in the US: The main difference between Kyrgyz and American education systems is curriculum. Here in the Kyrgyz Republic, students tend to take only required classes. This type of curriculum leaves no space for taking courses you might be interested in. However, AUCA is an exception. While in the US, undergraduate students are encouraged to take a broad variety of courses and are usually only required to declare their major by the end of their sophomore year. Additionally, American colleges are more like to have and to provide all students with access to modern

technological equipment. Moreover, in most universities of the Kyrgyz Republic one would rarely find students engaged in extracurricular activities and sports, while at US colleges, it’s also an integral part of university experience. Clubs are well funded, and students see them as a way of socializing and networking with their peers. Most universities in the Kyrgyz Republic do not have dorms, and even if they do, most students prefer to rent apartments. However in the US, living on campus is part of your college experience. You have more opportunities to make friends from all over the world since colleges recruit many international students. You also have the chance to enrich your experience by learning about other students’ cultures and communities. Furthermore, many prefer to study in the US because institutions there instill a sense of individuality in their students. A graduate from an American university or college stands out among graduates from elsewhere. However, it is usually expensive to study in the US, and for that reason I believe many students would rather study in the Kyrgyz Republic. Education here is affordable, and therefore Kyrgyz educations are attractive not only to local students, but students from all over Central Asia. “ Richard Esperance, 2012 Exchange Student to AUCA “I enjoyed studying at AUCA because of how different it was from my home school. I attended Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Though, it was an international school, it was nothing compared to the education that I received at AUCA. A few of the main differences that I noticed were when I first arrived to AUCA; it was a collage of diversity and cultures. I enjoyed the fact that the classes were smaller and much more personal than those at my home university. It was incredible that even professors from other departments wanted to get to know me. Throughout my time studying in the Kyrgyz Republic, I was able to acquire more than just a higher education. I was given the opportunity to grow culturally, mentally, and to know how amazing another country can be.”

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

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US | Kyrgyz Republic

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Teaching Jameel Haque on Islamic Studies in New York and Bishkek

Moving to Central Asia in August 2013 felt oddly natural. Although I was born in Brooklyn, the genetic mélange that is my ethnic DNA comes predominately from Afghanistan. Coming here, I was willing to assume that I must have some common ancestry with my new neighbors, either via the Mongols or their descendants, the Timurids and the Moghuls. I would unfortunately only spend one semester in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, teaching at the American University of Central Asia, but at least I can claim the title of being the only person to have taught Islamic Civilizations in both the Kyrgyz Republic and the Bronx. While acquiring this unintentional distinction, I found that teaching students about Islam in the United States and in the Kyrgyz Republic focused around the same general loci: Eurocentricism, Christianity/Judaism and misconceptions. These points supplemented the main narrative thrust of the course, whether it was at AUCA or Lehman College in Bronx, New York. Originally, I was worried that by spending significant time discussing Christianity and Judaism in my Islamic Civilizations course, I was committing the very sin I preached against in my Global History classes – Eurocentricism. I even chose texts, in particular Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted : A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, that supposedly combat the privileging of Europe and Christianity as the center/comparison point of history and religion. When I teach Global History I am careful to decenter Europe, and when I teach Western Civilization, I make it a point to discuss Islam and Judaism as meaningful components. From the very beginning of the semester, I make my students aware of the overwhelming power that history gives to Europe, which creates

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this Eurocentric attitude. To my surprise, my students in the United States were easier to convince when it came to the evils of Eurocentricism. Many of my students had directly experienced the litany of abuses that come with Eurocentricism – de jure and de facto racism. Being in New York City, many of them had been assaulted by the police under the “Stop and Frisk” laws currently plaguing NYC. Many of my students were immigrants to the USA and knew the difficulties of gaining access to a society that makes immigration a hostile experience. My Kyrgyz students in Bishkek, in the middle of Asia, and a city that was largely built by and colonized by Europeans, were harder to convince that Western Civilization, despite espousing equality and universality, had imposed unequal relationships upon them. My AUCA students clung to the belief that, if they made it to the US or Europe, they would be welcomed with open arms. To my students in Bishkek, but not in the Bronx, Europe was still the entity that the Enlightenment told itself it was – the apex of civilization. Not to worry, by the end of the semester the process of creating critical thinkers had helped expand their world view. By specifically drawing out the similarities between the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, I establish the general ideology of the class. Instead of an approach that is dismissive of religion, or an approach that isolates Islam from its historic cousins, I take the comparative approach in order to confront the ingrained exclusionary attitudes of my students. My students in both Bishkek and in the US view the other, whether they are Muslim viewing other faiths, or the opposite, as inherently alien and are skeptical that there can be any unity between them. At the same time, I have found that my students

want to believe in their own exceptionalism. While there is nothing wrong with the idea that their faiths are special, I try to ensure that my students do not ignore the connections and shared traditions between these three faiths. To ignore the closeness of the three is a hazard to having a full understanding of one’s own faith, history and what is possible for the future. In reality, the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is one of continuity not one of radical changes. The basic ideas of monotheism, the prophetic tradition, the heritage of Abraham (Ibrahim) bring these faiths together, as do many of the actors from Adam to Moses and

Jesus. When we emphasize the importance of the role of pilgrimage, fasting/feasting and charity in these three faiths we see a triptych rather than three separate paintings. The importance of Jesus (Isa) in Islam and Christianity, as well as Mary’s (Maryum) role in Islam always demonstrates to my student how Islam emerged from and in dialogue to Judaism and Christianity, rather than in conflict with them. Overall, my main pedagogical goal, besides creating critical thinkers, is to correct students’ misconceptions about Islam. In New York City, on my very first day of teaching Islamic Civilization at Lehman College, a CUNY school in the Bronx, a student, somewhat belligerently, asked me if I was trying to convert them. I engaged his concerns sincerely. In the U.S., there is a sharp mistrust of and hostility to Islam, as I have observed firsthand in the over 30 classes of Islamic and World History that I have taught in Harlem, Queens, the Bronx, and upstate New York. By focusing on Islam’s shared history with Christianity and on the West’s historical misconceptions of Islam, I flatter myself to think that I am helping to create critical thinkers that are able to evaluate information for themselves and reach reasonable conclusions. The same thing is true here, in the heart of Asia. On the first day of class, a student raised his hand and asked if I would be teaching “real Islam or academic Islam?” Despite a skill at improvisation, I stopped. I eventually had to ask him what he meant. He meant was I teaching that Islam was a revealed truth that was unquestionable and perfect, or that it was something that could be examined, discussed and disagreed upon. The student was essentially and quite happily converting Islam into the monolithic Islam that the American media had created. A singularity that was not subject to interpretation, argument or change. “Yes,” I answered, “I’ll be teaching real Islam, but you will probably disagree with me as to what we think that is.” One of the first lessons I take my students through is to introduce them to the word Allah. Who is Allah? My students, whether in New York or Bishkek are always surprised to discover that Allah is the name in Arabic for God. Not the Muslim God, but the Abrahamic God. In other words, the God of Christians, Muslims and Jews as outlined in the Genesis creation story and finalized by the covenant that Abraham of Ur, in modern Iraq, made with heaven. For Arab Christians, Muslims and Jews, the word they use when praying is Allah. They are, in both locations, surprised at how a simple thing like translation

vs. transliteration can create a seeming world of difference. Why wasn’t Allah translated into English as God rather than being transliterated from the Arabic script to the Latin script? It’s simple – anti-Islamic attitudes in Europe made the first scholars in Europe that wrote about Islam ensure that Islam, and in particular the Islamic God, seemed different. To my American students this opens their eyes to the similarities that Islam has with the shared reverence for the Jewish Old Testament. To my Kyrgyz students it expands their understanding of the place Islam has in world history and the similar foundation that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism. Another aspect of teaching Islamic Civilization is discussing geographic and temporal areas where Islam and other faiths combined to create a successful empire or syncretic fusion. I concentrate on India and the Mughal period to discuss how religious tolerance and the birth of new religions like the Sikh faith helped to create a strong empire. Under the rule of Akbar, members of other religious faiths were invited to fully participate in both government and society. The Mughal Empire flourished under Akbar, who was able to reform many of the Empire’s inefficient policies because he had the entire society behind him. When the hardline conservative emperor Aurangzeb took power, although it was the zenith of Mughal territorial expansion, the empire quickly began to crumble as Aurangzeb excluded non-Muslims from his state. The Empire fell apart because of his failure to see Islam as a unifying inclusive force and instead, Aurangzeb used Islam as a way to break people into class-like groups to control them by keeping them in conflict. Likewise, Al-Andalus, or Islamic Spain is a useful example of this sort of inclusive civilization. Islamic Spain is a great example to show students that tolerant societies typically produce more in the sense of art, music, medicine and science. An example of this cooperation in Islamic Spain is the story of King Sancho the Fat. King Sancho, the Christian King of Leon, was more than a little bit on the heavy side and his subjects lost faith in his ability to rule. King Sancho was deposed and fled to his Muslim friend, Abdul Rahman III of Cordoba. The Muslim King had his Jewish court physician, Hisdai ibn Shaprut heal Sancho of his weight problem. King Sancho returned to Leon and seized back the throne, a slender and more confident potentate. These syncretic and cooperative

examples in history need to be more visible in both the US and in the Kyrgyz Republic. First, in the United States in the last ten years, racism seems to have become more public and violence against non-white and non-Christian Americans seems to be on the rise. Various incidents, in particular of violence against Sikhs and Muslims, have been a part of this rising intolerance in the US. Frequently, these attacks occur with lip service to Christian ideals, which I point out to my students, is ironic. Since Judaism, Christianity and Islam all preach non-violence and that murder is a sin, violence and killing in the name of religion is impossible to justify. The same rising intolerance can be seen occurring in the Islamic world and especially within Central Asia. Rising intolerance throughout the region was manifest in the flight of immigrants, and the several inter-ethnic struggles that broke out, particularly in the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. The Russian, Ukrainian and Jewish populations of the area are leaving in large numbers (or have already left) as ethnicity and religion become increasingly important in Central Asia. This unfortunately drives the cycle – as ethnicity and religion become important they are becoming more uniform and the more uniform they become, the more important it becomes. By discussing these civilizations and their treatment of minorities as assets rather than as scapegoats, I was trying to get my students to see how the ethnic nationalism that is increasingly being preached in the US and in the Kyrgyz Republic is actually tearing the nation apart. My time in Bishkek was unfortunately short. I enjoyed my students and colleagues at AUCA immensely. The similarities among the classroom discussions and questions raised in Bishkek and the Bronx were striking. Students in both the US and in the Kyrgyz Republic are starved for accessible and accurate information on Islam and Islamic history. This information should not be taught in isolation but rather in dialogue with the other Abrahamic faiths. It needs to be taught in a way that dispels misconceptions and builds understanding. Without this intertwining, the rich story of Islam is lessened and the misconceptions that exist between practitioners of the three faiths are reinforced, rather than removed.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

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Katarina Czarniak on Office Culture I was tasked with writing this article to better explain the differences between working in the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States. Just to avoid disappointment at the end, I should disclose that I cannot give you an American or Kyrgyz workplace heuristic. There is no “one size fits all” approach to rationalizing or understanding how we adapt or understand new environments. And at work, no matter where you are, one will always find an interesting mix of cultures and experiences: an organizational culture set by management, sub-organizational cultures set by different groups of employees, and individual experiences of each employee. That being said, I can instead offer some insight as to how I, as an American, have navigated the workplace structures, attitudes, and behaviors in the US and the Kyrgyz Republic. Before moving to the Kyrgyz Republic, I worked for a university study abroad office and an international teacher exchange program. In the US my workplaces were almost exclusively American, and although America is multicultural, the organizational culture and individual cultures aligned with American expectations of work ethic and values. This meant that everyone was largely on time to work, regularly worked longer than 8 hours a day, and rarely took vacation. Upon reflection, working like this doesn’t actually sound that appealing; however, as the norm across the United States, that widely shared expectation is key to organizations across the country. Sub-organizational culture in the US is also an important factor. These are smaller groups within an organization that can influence opinion or press for organizational changes. At my organization in Washington, DC, most of my colleagues sincerely liked the work that they were doing, and this created sub-groups that were mostly benign ways to share small grievances or achievements. Upon further reflecting on the question of workplace differences, I initially thought to be the most significant difference lay not in the work itself but in how quickly one can adapt to his or her new environment. But as with most individual opinions of cultural adjustment and communication, it’s quite easy to find folks staking out a claim at the other end the spectrum. I informally polled a good friend for her views on the matter after quickly explaining my analysis. She smiled, paused, and then rightly pointed out that I’d easily glazed over two incredibly important facets of the “expatriate working abroad” experience: multiculturalism and multilingualism. I felt slightly broadsided and embarrassed by my incredible lack of insight into my own experience: of course I was working in an environment with incredible lingual and cultural diversity. Arriving in Bishkek for the first time to take up a new job was an organizational and societal culture shock. I will not reflect on my first months in country, as that would require another article. However, looking back, I was initially struck by the incredible workplace diversity at my university. Our staff included German, Kyrgyz, Canadian, Tajik, Pakistani, Kazakh, and Afghan colleagues, each bringing his or her own

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expectations of how work was supposed to be structured. Coordinating work across such a diverse set of people presented both practical and cultural challenges. For example, emails and meetings, the two hallmarks of the 21st century workplace, were written and conducted in English. This presented the practical problem of making sure that everyone understood each other literally. By the end of my tenure I took the presence of translators for granted, although their service was ultimately one of the most valuable.

about innately, through immersion. However, this process is only made possible when the individual remains open and willing to accept the different, the new, the unfamiliar, and the seemingly incoherent. Most stories of frustrating work experiences (at least those that I have heard of both here and in the US) seem to come from a place of misplaced expectations. These are people who choose to ignore common ground in favor of “the way things used to be,” wherever they worked before.

I also had to make changes to my leadership style. In the US during a meeting, anyone, regardless of their position, will interrupt to ask a question or give their opinion. Many Westerners are like this, but I also had many colleagues who would wait patiently to be asked their opinion in meetings, and who did not feel comfortable speaking out of turn.

Writing this at the end of my time here in Bishkek I’m inclined to tell any inquiring souls that there are not so many differences between working in the United States and working in the Kyrgyz Republic. The basic,

After working for three years in the Kyrgyz Republic (or in any foreign country), we all have a way of forgetting those initial cultural shocks and adjustments that shaped our first few months on the ground. As my friend and I continued discussing, I realized that I now took the multicultural and multilingual environment for granted; it was my new normal, the new expected. Just as I didn’t think twice about the work environment in DC, I now did not think twice to place phone calls to Khorog, Tajikistan, or arrange for a translator for an upcoming meeting in Naryn with German or Swiss visitors. Even those are easily pinpointed experiences; at some point, I’ve also sorted appropriate behaviors, actions, and conversational tendencies from those less appropriate or perhaps subtly offensive. My friend also highlighted the fact that much of the working abroad experience is individual. Why do some individuals enter a new workplace abroad and seamlessly maneuver the new norms within a week without any help, while others may need to seek out support from human resources in order to help the manage their transition? No easy answer exists, although I am convinced of the value of talking through the transition to understand what’s taking place. Reading this might lead you to believe that a move to the United States or the Kyrgyz Republic would put an expatriate’s mind into overdrive. Fortunately, our minds do not tend towards reflection at every turn of the day; some of the adjustment comes

core elements of the work experience remain the same – emails to be read, meetings to hold, projects to plan. For me work is perhaps the one constant – the true differences are encountered in the life you lead outside the workplace. Just as I needed to navigate my new life in Bishkek, a recent AUCA grad about to start a new job in Washington, DC, would be faced with taking on not only the new job but also new expectations, structures, laws, etc. The job may then become source of continuity and comfort in such a situation.

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Working

So my advice for those starting a new job, wherever it may be, is to leave your expectations at the door. Listen and learn to what is going on around you. Find a mentor who is willing to guide you through the organization. And, whether you are in the US or in the Kyrgyz Republic, remember, it is just a job.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

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Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

to work at AUCA, I sent an application from America. After only a few days, I had a Skype-interview. This demonstrates the degree of seriousness with which the university regards its employees.

Kumar Sharshembiev Returns KUMAR SHARSHEMBIEV – an alumnus of Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia, one of the best universities in the US, graduated with a bachelor’s in computer engineering. He also received his master’s from ODU. After graduation, he was invited to stay in the US, but he decided to return home to support his country of birth. Kumar is a talented software engineer who currently teaches at the American University in Central Asia. You graduated from a prestigious American institute of higher education. Please tell us what drew you to studying in the US? I graduated from the physics and mathematics-focused School #61 in Bishkek. I gained good knowledge there. While I was a senior there, my parents and I started to think about which university I’d attend. We examined Russian and Turkish universities. We recalled that my English teacher said that I have good English language skills (I loved this subject in school, and I did my best to learn it). He advised me to apply to an American university. His advice convinced me. I talked with parents, and it was decided that I would go to the US.

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

What made you choose both Old Dominion and your major? After long discussions with my parents, I chose Old Dominion University because it seemed like the best fit for me. I applied to a TOEFL preparation program in Almaty, submitted all the necessary documents, and set out to Virginia. The entrance exams were not hard for me, as the main subject was mathematics. Because I graduated from a mathematicsfocused high school, it was a snap. My university advisors suggested I join the software engineering program, so I did. Tell us about the university and the challenges you faced studying there. The Department of Software Engineering was one of the best and most prestigious departments at the university. A number of alumni are employed at NASA, as well as branches of the US military. Yes, it was difficult to study, because I had a heavy course load. I had no time to be bored. It should be noted that students in this department were really strong. What was your life like at an American university? The first year was easy. During that period, I determined what I wanted to study.

Classes became more difficult after the second year, but I got to pick them for myself. At the same time, you have to remember that you are choosing a career. I knew a lot of American students for whom software engineering was their element. They were totally absorbed in it. We could spend 24 hours a day studying the topic, but nobody made us do it. Sure, it was necessary to study, but really, we just liked it. About 80 students, including myself, studied by choice in that department. What difficulties did you encounter? I think that software engineering is creative work. You should have different approaches to studying. Patience and assiduity are needed because you have to sit for hours and develop complex programs and algorithms. I want to say again that we had so much work, and were so excited by it, that we didn’t have much time to spend off campus. It was quite normal for us to spend hours working. OK, did you have any days off? How did you spend your free time? In my sophomore year, I started to work at the university. There was a team of students that operated the university’s computer system. I had friends on this team. I also communicated with students

How would you compare the Kyrgyz and American education systems? The main difference with the American education is that you can take elective courses. Of course, there are required courses too, but even then you can select one of ten different classes to meet your requirement. All courses are filtered. I’m sure this system is good. I think that is the main difference. You are aware of how corruption in the Kyrgyz education system hampers the training of highly skilled specialists. Did you ever encounter corruption in the US? American faculty members have good salaries. The government pays attention to education and science. There weren’t any cases where students gave bribes. That would be absurd. At most, students can cheat. Nothing more. If student fails a course, he or she repeats the year. Students can continue getting an education as long as necessary, providing he or she can pay for it. Everyone understands that education is the future. You can’t do anything in America without education. Americans choose their profession deliberately. It’s almost a spiritual choice. In America, people go to universities to get knowledge, and not for a certificate or diploma. Tell us about the American hiring process. CV’s are not ruled out, but the main requirement is knowledge. For example, software engineers have four stage interview-tests. You have to answer questions, then develop programs. Naturally, an employer will check your diploma, it is also important, but they give priority to your skills and knowledge. You found academic success at Old Dominion. Were you ever tempted to stay in the US? You know, my fear of coming home and becoming a misfit was stronger than the temptation to live abroad. I was afraid that I wouldn’t achieve my goals. I know a lot of Kyrgyz guys who are studying and working

in America. All of them want to return, but they have the same problem - fear. However, life in America is completely different and expensive. All nice things require money and effort. For instance, companies often ask their staffs to work until 9 or even 11 at night. Our citizens are not aware of how hard it is to live and work in the U.S. There needs to be investment in youth. This investment is the future of every country. Corruption must be eradicated. Young people should enter to university to gain knowledge, not to get a diploma. Our nation has a lot of talented sons and daughters. When you decided to leave the US, did you have any idea what you were going to do once you returned home? I had some offers in the Kyrgyz Republic. I also wanted to come back. I learned in America that I wanted to teach and do research. After graduation, I badly wanted to join the faculty at AUCA. There isn’t corruption like you find at other Kyrgyz universities. The American University has a good reputation among students and faculty. Furthermore, the university strives for a high level of education; adheres to a principle of freedom of expression; has a serious approach to study and academic honesty. Taking all this into consideration, my decision was obvious. What convinced you that AUCA was a place where you could grow professionally? When I decided to work at AUCA, I sent an application from America. After only a few days, I had a Skypeinterview. This demonstrates the degree of seriousness with which the university regards its employees. The university’s hiring policy grants equal access to applicants to all vacancies. Race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, age, political views or personal relations don’t influence hiring. AUCA does as much as possible to create favorable conditions for professional advancement and to help realize the potential of all members of the university community. How would you describe the atmosphere at AUCA? I think that students, faculty and staff, come to university everyday with the desire to achieve definite goals. The atmosphere in the university is favorable to that. Everyone shows goodwill to one

another. The distinguishing feature of AUCA is diversity. Young people from more than 20 countries study here. Our students represent diverse cultures, languages, religions, physical capabilities and opinions. Everyone who enters to the campus feels the positive energy that pervades the university. Tell us about your plans for the future. I want to take on more difficult classes, and not just for the third year. I’m looking hard at students, and I plan to create a team. I want to create a team to create automated systems like those on cellular devices. I’ve only been in the Kyrgyz Republic for two months. I hope that all my work from now on will be related to software engineering. If I meet people who support my ideas, even students, and who have the desire and skills to do something, this will help me to realize achieve my goals. What must the Kyrgyz Republic do in terms of development? I’m sure that education is the key to the country’s development. There needs to be investment in youth. This investment is the future of every nation. Corruption must be eradicated. Young people should enter to university to gain knowledge, not to get a diploma. Our nation has a lot of talented sons and daughters. They are strong. I want to restate that a student’s desire to study is most important in choosing a degree. Last year, AUCA began a unique project to give talented young people from low-income families an opportunity to take part in an innovative training program to prepare for entrance into the university. This project is called the New Generation Academy (NGA). After completing the program, young men and women can apply to AUCA, and the strongest candidate can get a scholarship. In 20 years, more than 2,000 students have graduated from AUCA. I can say with confidence that AUCA alumni are in demand in the job market. They hold leading positions in the government and the academic community. There are also successful, well-known businessmen among AUCA alumni; many of who love to help their alma mater. In spite the fact that AUCA alumni can find work all over the world, most of them are ready and willing to work and live in the Kyrgyz Republic.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

When I decided

from other departments, not only with my classmates. Sometimes, we traveled in our free time. Our university was located in the American South, so sometimes we would take trips to northern states. I wanted to visit other places. We went to ski-resorts. Our holidays were always active.

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Журнал АУЦА

«АУЦА ГОТОВИТ СТУДЕНТОВ К ЖИЗНИ»

Двадцатилетие образовательной деятельности Американского университета Центральной Азии, которое в этом году отпраздновал вуз, и конец года – прекрасная возможность для подведения итогов, а также определения новых планов. Не преминув воспользоваться такой возможностью, мы побеседовали с президентом АУЦА Эндрю Вахтелем о прошлом, настоящем и будущем вуза. С чем университет заканчивает 2013-й год? Год хороший, учитывая, что из ничего в финансовом плане мы что-то делаем. Когда я говорю своим коллегам в штатах, какой у нас бюджет, они начинают хохотать. Потому что в университете в США эту сумму - 7-9 млн. долларов тратят на футбольные мячи, а мы даем образование более чем тысячи студентам. А главное, что наши студенты конкурентоспособны не только здесь, но и, что особенно важно, заграницей. Не то что бы мы им даем абсолютно всё, что нужно - это совершенно невозможно сделать. Мы даем им те инструменты, которые им нужны, чтобы дальше развиваться.

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Большего ожидать от университета в современном мире невозможно, да и не нужно. Когда у меня спрашивают, выпускаем ли мы готовых специалистов, я прямо отвечаю: «Нет!». Если наши выпускники сразу будут готовыми специалистами, которым уже ничего не нужно больше знать, это будет значить, что я зря потратил свое время. Поскольку то, что выпускник знает сегодня, не будет ему полезно завтра или через пять лет. Значит, я не привил студенту ту гибкость, которая позволит ему развиваться и быть востребованным: и через пять, и через 10, 15 лет. Значит, я готовлю его к смерти. А мы готовим наших студентов к жизни. Чтобы они могли жить интересно и быть полезными и через 20 лет. Наш университет не тот, куда приезжаешь утром, присутствуешь на лекции и уезжаешь. У наших студентов есть право слушать то, что они хотят. График учебы у каждого индивидуальный, есть возможность посидеть, пообщаться. И через это общение ты получаешь даже больше, чем от классов. Есть ли что-то, над чем хотелось бы поработать? Мы продолжаем работать над развитием

исследовательских качеств профессорскопреподавательского состава университета. Кыргызстан находится в некоторой изоляции от остального мира. Мы не можем позволить себе направлять наших преподавателей на различные международные научные конференции по всему миру, у нас нет на это средств. Конечно, они могут общаться со своими коллегами из-за рубежа через Интернет, однако он не заменит живое общение. К тому же наши профессора в основном молодые, и им самим еще требуется учиться у своих более опытных старших коллег, нарабатывать опыт. Вообще ощущается нехватка кадров. Потеряно целое поколение - ученые, чья молодость пришлась на конец 80-х - 90-е годы прошлого века, уехали из страны. Получается, здесь осталось либо более старшее поколение в возрасте 60-65 лет, получившее качественное советское образование, представители которого могут не разбираться в некоторых современных направлениях науки, либо совсем молодое поколение. Они молодые, энергичные, но им не хватает ряда базовых знаний. У вас есть программа поддержки детей из малоимущих семей? Да, мы решили дать возможность обучения способным детям из малоимущих семей из регионов. Нашли спонсора, готового создать такую программу поддержки, рассчитанную на пять лет. Бесплатно в течение года обучается 70 молодых людей. Это как дополнительный год занятий в школе с упором на английский язык и математику. В прошлом году из 70 человек прошли конкурс и поступили в наш вуз 56. Из них 35-40 мы оплачиваем обучение. Мы построим Посмотрим, как пройдет самое интересное наш эксперимент, что академическое здание покажут результаты первого семестра. Пока в Центральной Азии, могу сказать одно: по более интересное, чем мотивации и своему здание Университета стремлению хорошо Назарбаева. учиться и старанию эти Планируем завершить дети лучше всех.

строительство через год. Это будет главный академический корпус площадью 17,5 тыс. кв. м - в три раза больше по размеру, чем нынешнее здание.

Я знаю, что вы сейчас работаете над большим строительным проектом. Расскажите об этом подробнее. О-о, за последние два года я уже стал разбираться в

строительстве, хотя ничего о б этом не знаю, ведь я литературовед по профессии (смеется). Над проектом работают американские архитекторы, строительство ведется по американским нормам, которые нужно сочетать с местными нормами, взятыми из советских 70-х годов прошлого века. Проект серьезный - рассчитан на 25-27 млн. долларов. Мы построим самое интересное академическое здание в Центральной Азии, более интересное, чем здание Университета Назарбаева. Планируем завершить строительство через год. Это будет главный академический корпус площадью 17,5 тыс. кв. м - в три раза больше по размеру, чем нынешнее здание. Будут спортивные поля, квартиры для преподавателей вуза и общежитие для студентов. Будет сохранена нынешняя теплая атмосфера вуза, несмотря на то, что здание будет гораздо больше. В этом здании впервые в Центральной Азии запланировано использовать геотермальную систему охлаждения и отопления. Это будет демонстрацией нового подхода к использованию нетрадиционных источников энергии, поскольку будет использоваться неисчерпаемая энергия воды из-под земли. Наше здание будет потреблять всего 15% электроэнергии по сравнению с типовыми зданиями. Оно станет своеобразным учебным пособием нашего нового курса по экологии. Есть еще сюрпризы, о которых я пока умолчу, вы увидите их на открытии корпуса. Поделитесь, пожалуйста, вашими планами на будущее. Мы много чего могли бы сделать, особенно для получения научно-технического образования (должны быть профессора, лаборатории, материалы, практические занятия), но это зависит от ресурсов. У нас есть новая программа моделирования сложных систем, существуют программы по software, по устойчивому развитию и экологии (в партнерстве с Аграрным университетом, поскольку у них есть база). Думаю, следующей программой мы добавим геологию, поскольку эта отрасль важна для Кыргызстана, а специалистов мало. Есть идея открыть филиал в Казахстане, поскольку мы - университет Центральной Азии. Хотим расширить контингент иностранных студентов из дальнего зарубежья - из Кореи, Китая, Индии, Пакистана. Это было бы интересно для местных студентов - учиться с настоящими иностранцами. Таковы наши планы на ближайшие пять лет.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Журнал АУЦА

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Журнал АУЦА

10 лет доброй помощи

The OSCE Academy is a regional centre of postgraduate education and a forum for regional security dialogue and research. Its MA programmes are designed for young people who wish to broaden their education and gain the knowledge and skills necessary for professional or academic careers in the areas of politics, security, international relations, conflict prevention, international development, economics and governance. The MA programmes of the OSCE Academy are licensed (АЛ #600) and accredited by the Ministry of the Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic. MA in Politics and Security Programme is a 13-month programme. The academic year starts in September each year. The admissions period: September- early April

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Eligibility: Degree of higher education (BA, MA, MSc, Diploma) in a related academic field;

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Applicants from other OSCE participating states can be accepted for the programme, but on a limited basis only.

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Application from (www.osce-academy.net)

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Число лиц, нуждающихся в бесплатной юридической помощи, неуклонно увеличивается в силу различных причин: рост криминальных преступлений, правонарушений в гражданском обороте, нарушений работодателями трудового и гражданского законодательств в отношении наемных работников и т.д. В результате страдает в большей степени малоимущее население, не имеющее возможности оплатить услуги квалифицированных адвокатов. Для многих клиентов юридическая консультация - это единственно возможное средство доступа к правовой помощи. Не только из-за безвозмездности оказываемых услуг, но и потому, что в других местах (в госорганах, адвокатуре) людям по объективным причинам не могут уделить много времени и внимания. При консультации же много времени уделяют именно обстоятельному подробному разговору с клиентом. Опыт живого общения с «носителем социальной проблемы» часто открывает глаза на истинную природу права и смысла профессии. Одной из таких общественных приемных является юридическая клиника при Американском университете в Центральной Азии. На наши вопросы ответили директор юридической клиники АУЦА Нуриля Исаева и старший преподаватель, арбитр Международного Третейского суда Сагын Омуралиев. Нуриля, расскажите, пожалуйста, в каком году была создана юридическая клиника при АУЦА и с какой целью? Юридическая клиника является учебной дисциплиной, разработанной в 2003 году специально для студентов старших курсов программы АУЦА «Международное и бизнес-право» и предназначенной для достижения теоретических, аналитических, практических и этических задач обучения. Основными целями являются: первое - совершенствование форм и методов обучения, второе - преодоление в учебном процессе разрыва между практическим и теоретическим

юридическим образованием, третье выработка у студентов профессионально значимых качеств и навыков и четвертое - правовое просвещение местного населения. Скажите, кто преимущественно обращается в вашу клинику? Основными клиентами юридической клиники являются социально незащищенные группы населения, а именно малоимущие, пожилые люди, безработные, люди с ограниченными возможностями, а также студенты и преподаватели АУЦА. Какие услуги оказывает

юридическая клиника? В рамках юридической клиники студенты-юристы под контролем практикующего юриста предоставляют гражданам консультации по различным правовым вопросам на бесплатной основе. Консультации предоставляются по следующим направлениям: гражданское, трудовое, семейное, жилищное, административное право, международное частное право, коммерческое право и право социального обеспечения. Наши консультации не ограничиваются только разъяснением положений законодательства Кыргызской Республики. Наши студенты также могут успешно защищать права и

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

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интересы граждан в судебных органах Кыргызстана. Студенты работают под контролем руководителя – куратора. Процесс обучения строится следующим образом: студентом ведется сбор и анализ информации, детальное изучение правовой проблемы, поиск возможных решений, подготовка и оказание консультации. Основная роль куратора заключается в корректировке действий студентов, а не в инструктировании, что и как надо делать. Студент самостоятельно через собственные действия должен понять, что было ошибочно, а что верно. Обращение же к эксперту возможно лишь для проверки юридической грамотности предлагаемой консультации. Один из экспертов, который курирует работу студентов, старший преподаватель, арбитр Международного Третейского суда Сагын Омуралиев также ответил на несколько наших вопросов. Как построен график работы студентов? Один раз в неделю для студентов проводятся теоретические занятия “Юридическая клиника” (лекции), которые ведёт юрист-практик, имеющий опыт работы в юридической компании. С понедельника по пятницу, в свободное от учёбных занятий время студенты осваивают профессию юриста в клинике на практике. Согласно графику с 12:05 до 16:45 каждый студент два раза в неделю дежурит 40 или 80 минут в зависимости от учебной нагрузки. В это же время, т. е. с 12:05 до 16:45, в клинике каждый день находится соответствующий преподаватель – куратор, который наблюдает, как работает студент с клиентом, и как он/она ведет дела. Расскажите, как работают учащиеся, по скольку дел ведут? Дежурный студент принимает клиента, ведёт с ним предварительную беседу, выясняет имеющуюся правовую проблему, регистрирует клиента в компьютерной базе данных. Затем студент даёт ему на ознакомление и подпись уведомление, в котором описываются условия работы и принципы юридической клиники. Далее данное дело рассматривается дирекцией клиники и распределяется уже конкретному студенту в зависимости от нагрузок, возможно, тому же студенту, который зарегистрировал дело во время

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дежурства. В среднем каждый студент ведёт от 2-х до 4-х дел в зависимости от сложности и длительности рассмотрения, подготовки документов и возможного участия в судебных процессах. Ваши студенты не рассамтривают уголовные дела. Почему? Наши студенты пока ещё не имеют высшего юридического образования и диплома юриста и, соответственно, лицензии адвоката. По уголовным делам интересы сторон могут представлять только лицензированные адвокаты, а студенты могут представлять стороны только в качестве представителей и только по гражданским делам. Бывают ли ваши студенты на слушаниях представителями своих клиентов? Да. При необходимости и по просьбе клиента по отдельным делам студенты могут получить нотариально заверенную доверенность от клиента/ клиентов и защищать их интересы как с самого начала судебных тяжб, так и в начавшихся судебных слушаниях. Были случаи, когла студенты участвовали во всех трёх судебных инстанциях (районный/городской суд; областной суд; Верховный суд) и выигрывали все процессы. Расскажите про меру ответственности ваших подопечных. Во-первых, все студенты оказывают юридические услуги бесплатно, поэтому в клинику в основном обращаются малообеспеченные слои населения, и наша помощь для этих людей немаловажна. Во-вторых, по итогам семестра за освоение теоретических материалов и практическое активное/неактивное участие в деятельности клиники по работе с клиентами, а также качество ведения дел преподавателямикураторами выставляются оценки. Это большой стимул для студентов – оценки. Назовите количество рассмотренных и тех дел, которые находятся сейчас на стадии рассмотрения. С начала осеннего семестра в производстве юридической клиники находится 30 дел, в том числе несколько

сложных, так называемых “длящихся” с весеннего семестра дел. Несколько дел уже завершены, и по ним сданы отчёты. Расскажите про клиентов, какие люди к вам обращаются? Как я отметил ранее, в основном к нам обращаются малообеспеченные слои населения, поскольку они не могут нанимать юристов, которым надо платить, и зачастую большие деньги. Но было несколько случаев, когда обращались и состоятельные бизнесмены, которые знают цену зарабатываемым деньгам и оплате труда квалифицированных юристов. Студенты оказывали правовую помощь и таким клиентам. Среди дипломированных практикующих юристов есть немало так называемых “чёрных адвокатов”, которые только выманивают деньги у клиентов, умышленно затягивая их дела. Есть и такие горе-юристы, которые работают, как говорится, “и вашим, и нашим”, т.е. на два фронта, получая мзду с обеих сторон. Среди клиентов, наверное, встречаются и агрессивные? Юрист – профессия очень сложная. Привлекая студентов в юрклинику, мы даём им понять, что в будущем им придётся работать с разными клиентами – богатыми и бедными, с разной психологией, физиологией, воспитанием и образованием. Все клиенты не могут быть одинаковыми и, так сказать, “шёлковыми. За время моего кураторства в течение последних нескольких лет в клинику обращались и психически больные люди, официально состоящие на учёте в соответствующем диспансере. Агрессивные, готовые кинуться с кулаками на студентов и на куратора, а также жалобщики на имя президента АУЦА. С каждым подобным случаем мы, преподаватели, тщательно анализируем ситуацию и делаем соотвествующие выводы. Как в таких случаях ведут себя студенты, и какой для них это опыт? Политика нашего университета – не только дать студентам высококачественные знания (а это действительно так по сравнению с другими вузами нашей страны), но и воспитать в них уверенность в себе, не теряться в сложных ситуациях и, владея собой, контролируя свои действия, находить правильное решение. Они не боятся трудностей, уже сейчас адаптируются в далеко не простой политико-экономической

ситуации как в мире, так и в нашей стране. В основном с такими клиентами они ведут себя очень грамотно и адекватно. В конце концов есть мы, преподаватели, с достаточным жизненным и практическим опытом. Мы своих студентов в обиду не даём, постоянно поддерживаем их и помогаем. Например, одна из студенток отказалась работать с одним из вышеупомянутых клиентов с психическим отклонением, и мы её не осудили, а поручили дело другому студенту. Вы можете сказать, что ваши студенты дают профессиональную консультацию? Студенты старших курсов, можно сказать, готовые юристы. В большинстве своем они – очень добросовестные, инициативные ребята, очень скрупулёзно подходят к проблемам своих клиентов и зачастую с большим профессионализмом решают их юридичесие проблемы. Большую роль в этом играют хорошая техническая оснащённость университета, шикарная библиотека, обширная база данных по нормативно-правовым актам не тольо Кыргызстана, но и других государств. И самое главное – это очень прогрессивная система образования, а также отсутствие коррупции среди преподавателей и студентов. Как оценивается работа студентов, как-нибудь поощряется? По итогам работы с каждым клиентом студенты пишут промежуточное (если это “длящееся” дело) или окончательное юридическое заключение. Оно изучается преподавателями и по итогам теоретических (лекционных) занятий, а также практической работы с клиентами в клинике выставляется окончательная оценка. Насколько студенты заинтересованы в том, что делают, есть среди них особенно талантливые? Как и везде, среди студентов есть и “передовики”, и “слабаки”. Подавляющее большинство понимает, что впереди их ждёт очень сложная жизнь, и если получишь слабые знания, то останешься у подножия горы, которую покоряешь, а не на её вершине. Кроме того, все они (их родители либо родственники) платят за учёбу большие деньги, поэтому стараются учиться хорошо. Знания и образование – это тоже товар. “Слабаков” сразу видно: по их отношению к клиенту клиники, защите их интересов,

подготовке юридических документов. Такие студенты не совсем успевают и по другим дисциплинам. Но подавляющее большинство – это хорошие студенты! Ваши планы по развитию юридической клиники? Наша клиника одна и работает по разным направлениям гражданского законодательства. Я стажировался в нескольких вузах США (в том числе в прошлом году 4 месяца в Колумбийском университете, Нью-Йорк), Великобритании, Венгрии, Турции, где при одном университете создано несколько самостоятельных юридических клиник, которые работают по конкретным направлениям: по правам человека, семейно-брачным отношениям, по проблемам несовершеннолетних и т.п. Так, в Университете им. Вашингтона в г. Сент-Луис, штат Миссури, США, студенты помогают клиентам даже по уголовным делам и официально участвуют в судебных процессах. Полагаю, что и наш университет в недалёком будущем создаст такие же юридические клиники. По вашему мнению, наши вузы дают качественное юридическое образование? В стране около полусотни вузов при 5-миллионном населении, и в некоторых из них имеются юридические факультеты. В большинстве своем, особенно на юридических факультетах, уровень преподавания, конечно, слабый. Плюс, как я уже отмечал, имеет место коррумпированность преподавательского состава. Можно представить, какие юристы будут выпущены из стен таких университетов – потенциальные “чёрные адвокаты”. Чем может похвастать АУЦА? Это единственный в своём роде вуз во всей Центральной Азии (недаром и название такое - АУЦА), который вот уже 20 лет готовит высококвалифицированных специалистов, выпускники которого нарасхват во всех направлениях политики и экономики не только в Кыргызстане, но и далеко за его пределами. Все дело в современной цивилизованной системе образования, высококолассном профессорскопреподавательском составе (большинство преподавателей – с передовым западным образованием), высокой технической оснащённости. Здесь всё предназначено

для студента плюс, повторюсь, отсутствует коррумпированность. Каким видите будущее АУЦА? Будущее прекрасное, поскольку это самый востребованный и престижный вуз в Центральной Азии. Совсем скоро будут сданы в эксплуатацию новые корпуса и кампусы университета, что очень обнадёживает весь наш многонациональный коллектив, настоящих и будущих студентов, для которых АУЦА – Alma Mater. Выпускники, которые работали в консультации, обычно легко устраиваются на работу и демонстрируют свою практическую подготовку работодателям. Директор юридической клиники Нуриля Исаева, подводя итоги деятельности службы, отметила, что к 20-летнему юбилею АУЦА достигнуты определенные успехи. За 10 лет своего существования юридическая клиника успешно справляется с поставленными задачами, а именно: благодаря особенности деятельности клиники, которая предполагает работу студента-юриста с реальными клиентами над настоящими жизненными ситуациями, студенты получают возможность овладеть такими практическими навыками будущей профессии, как интервьюирование, консультирование, ведение переговоров, правовая оценка дела и правовой анализ, выработка позиции, аргументация и критическое мышление, юридическое письмо, судебное представительство. Эффективность работы можно определить по тому, что многие наши клиенты повторно обращаются к нам или советуют нас своим близким и друзьям. Более того, многие местные государственные учреждения и суды направляют граждан в нашу клинику для получения квалифицированной юридической помощи. В планах у нас – постоянное улучшение качества предоставляемых нами услуг.

Беседу вела Динара Орозбаева.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

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Alumni Spotlight

creating a dream

Tell us your story, where did it all start for you? If you believe in fairytales then my story fits this genre. Since I was a kid I

had an interest in design, but becoming a designer as a profession seemed impossible to me. It was just my hobby until I moved to Moscow and started my own fashion project

creating headwear and clothing. I just left my regular job and immersed myself in the world of headwear. It’s now been a year since I established my headwear brand Lilia

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Lilia Fisher, AUCA alumna, studied Journalism and Mass Communications, now a millinery designer in Moscow. Fashionmongers and socialites love Lilia’s hats and accessories. Her talents have been spotted in such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Hello, Joy, Burda, Top Beauty, ELLE, Grazia Paris, Coco London and many others. She also took part in the runway during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. And we are proud that she has created a year book for AUCA graduates 2007

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Alumni Spotlight

At AUCA you studied journalism. Who or what inspired you to become a designer? For a long time I convinced myself that I was a serious person and should have a serious job. After working as PR director for some big energy and fashion companies, I realized that my vocation is design. Now my work is my life, and to be precise, a lifestyle. I always dreamed of being designer and my dream came true. You have been involved with a lot of cool lines, collaborations with top magazines in Russia, TV-channels, and fashion blogs. You have also participated in fashion week. What has been your favorite project to work on so far and why? Every creation is my child, and so it is difficult to pick just one project. My first significant step as a designer was at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I had dreamed about this since childhood - to see models with my headwear walk the runway. Words can’t express my feelings! I was dreaming while awake! How do you balance creativity with commerce? I’m not a business person, and because of that I suffer periodically. I can spend all my money on feathers and bangles. I have to learn to balance my budget. My current collections are bringing in profits, and I also make some for creation and self-expression. Overall I do hats because it’s what I love to do. Money is just a tool to do what I love. Moscow is a very competitive city, what challenges did you face as an expatriate entrepreneur? When I moved to Moscow I changed my citizenship. So I wouldn’t say that I have had problems with that. Moreover, there’s not that much competition in my sphere. It’s a very particular market, and each designer here has their own style. Celebrities wear your accessories and hats. Who was the most demanding client? Actually I am a very lucky person as

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my clients are very nice people and we always come to an understanding. Usually they come, try on dozens of hats, and lose their minds. I have to help them stop and choose, because most of them are just ready to stay here forever and buy them all!

Coco Chanel made a major contribution to my creative development.

Who inspires you the most in fashion? Coco Chanel made a major contribution to my creative development. I have watched her biographical movie a dozen times, and have read all her books. I admire this outstanding woman. She helped me to find myself and develop my own style. What role did AUCA play in your life? I would say that AUCA is like a second set of parents. AUCA brought me up and gave me a good start. When I moved to Moscow, I didn’t know anyone here, and the AUCA spirit helped at this point. I didn’t have any experience in PR, but still I found a good job within a week, and a flat to rent within a day. But it took me another four years before I found myself. Do you miss the good old times at AUCA? Very often I have dreams about AUCA. When I visit Bishkek I try to come to the university, sit on the patio, sneak a peek at the classrooms. My student years were unforgettable, and If I could live my life once more, I would gladly return to AUCA, and I would promise not to miss a single class! Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? I want to open a fashion house, and participate in a fashion week abroad. I also want a cover in Vogue! What is your advice to other aspiring designers? Believe in yourself and in your dreams. Never give up, no matter what others say. I believe that you will succeed! I did it, and you can too!

Yama Hotak

on Returning to Afghanistan When I opened my eyes that morning, I saw destruction in the form of shootings, killings, and bombings. It was 1988, and Afghanistan was consumed by war as the mujahadeen revolted against the last communist president, Dr. Najibullah. My parents are originally from Kandahar, a province located in the southern part of Afghanistan. I was born and raised in an educated and openminded family in Kabul. I first went to school during the time of the mujahadeen. The mujahedeen were too busy fighting for power with rival factions to pay much attention to education. There were few schools and conditions were very poor at the schools that did exist. For instance, my school had no chairs, black boards, or textbooks. In addition, most school buildings were either semi damaged or completely destroyed. I remember that mine had no designated room for teachers and administrative staff. They had to bring their own desks and chairs every day. They used to sit under a tree in the yard of the school after the mujahedeen government collapsed and the Taliban took power. The Taliban passed strict and absurd laws that hurt the education system in our country. Boys were forced to wear turbans at school, while girls were deprived of the right to go at all. There were fewer educational institutions, and yet there also was a shortage of qualified teachers. The whole education system was completely disorganized and inadequate. Three years after the collapse of the Taliban regime, I graduated from high school. Around that time, I found out that the American University in Central Asia (AUCA) was enrolling students for their fellowship program. I applied, took an English language exam and did an interview. I did well and, incredibly, received a five-year scholarship to attend the university. This opened doors to a whole new world for me and allowed me to earn a BA in journalism and mass communications. From freshman to senior year at AUCA, I worked as a writer and editor for an independent student newspaper called the New Star. During those four years, I voiced many student

concerns to university administrators. My article, “Where Does Our Money Go?” was chosen as the second best article in the 2009-2010 Print Journalism Competition. Considering the opportunities available to me in the Kyrgyz Republic, I decided to return to Afghanistan for several reasons. First, Afghani society was and is in dire need of experts like me to return from our educations abroad to help rebuild and develop our country. I believe that my Afghani classmates and I received a scholarship in order to learn something new and important that we could take home after graduation. We have a responsibility to our countrymen to play a role in the changes that are happening there. The second reason is that knowledge has a two parts: Theory and application. AUCA provided me with a great amount of theory, but Afghanistan was a unique opportunity to put those theories into practice. I would like to expand my horizons further by obtaining my master’s degree outside of Afghanistan, probably in Australia or United States. I believe both countries have a media sector that is relevant to Afghanistan- large territories with isolated populations in their interiors. I understand that people in the interiors depend on communication media; both mass media and information communication technology (ICT), to stay connected and informed. Studying present-day communications in Australia or United States will be like studying that of Afghanistan in the future. The U.S. and Australia have institutions of higher education renowned for their excellence and welcoming attitude towards international students. All the training in the world is of no use without a place to put that theory into practice. At the moment, I am not sure that Afghanistan’s private sector wants or is able to increase its spending on communications. Afghani state universities are still using a 70’s era curriculum focused on the theory of journalism, not practice. They do not offer courses on investigative journalism, media law, or

business development. Few people in the Afghani media are aware of how to build a successful, sustainable media outlet. Also, because there is no legal specialization in Afghanistan on the subject and universities do not offer courses on media law, lawyers do not know how to deal with the legal issues surrounding telecommunications.

My goals:

1. Be the country’s first fully-qualified media researcher and analyst. 2. Write about Afghanistan’s communications environment in international journals. 3. Teach journalism to students at Afghan state universities. 4. Teach journalism students about innovations and new media technologies. 5. Increase the professional skills of the Afghani independent media. 6. Increase coordination and advocacy within the independent media sector. 7. Help the Afghani independent media organizations with their business development plans. 8. Assist members of the Afghani media on the issues of advocacy and the protection of journalists. 9. Advise and consult with Afghani media groups in an effort to help them be sustainable and profitably develop. 10. Study and understand the role and importance of communication media in Afghanistan’s social development.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Fisher.

Alumni Spotlight

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Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

ALUMNI

Gulru Nabieva

American Studies’07, Magna Cum Laude, Project Coordinator at International Alert, UK.

success

Jamil Kasimov

My name is Gulru and I am from Khujand, Tajikistan. In 2007 I graduated from AUCA with a BA in American Studies. During my studies, I developed an increasing interest in the field of pre- & post-conflict management. Consequently, I continued my education at the University of York, UK, and got my MA in Post-war recovery studies in order to gain greater insight into the broader problems, debates, and practices involved in post-war reconstruction and development. Currently, I work at the London-based peacebuilding organization International Alert and coordinate initiatives within its Economy & Conflict program.

International and Comparative Politics’06, Magna Cum Laude, Central Asian Regional Environmental Centre Kazakhstan Originally coming from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, I moved to Bishkek in 2003 and graduated in 2006. I studied International and Comparative Politics and minored in International Law. Right after graduation I moved to Almaty, where I live now. I began as a Logistics coordinator at the International Relations Department of one of the biggest banks in Kazakhstan at that time, Alliance Bank. After that I moved to the International Republican Institute (IRI) as a project manager when they reopened their office in Kazakhstan in 2008, working with political parties and NGOs in Kazakhstan. In 2010 I got a scholarship from Open Society Foundations and the French Embassy to get my MA degree in International Project Management. As a part of my MA program I had a four-month internship at the UN Economic

When asked to tell the most interesting thing about AUCA or provide some tips, my mind was flooded with an array of words, which I am trying to sum up now. AUCA life was never just about studying. It was a new chapter in life full of transformative and unforgettable social and academic events and friendships. In regards to my major at AUCA, the best advantage of being an American Studies student was understanding subjects and issues from multiple perspectives, so that you can always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. So, while studying AS, please take advantage of the vast resources available!

Commission for Europe in Geneva. Nowadays I work for the Trans-boundary Water Management project at the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC). The project is sponsored by the European Commission and is implemented by GIZ and CAREC. For me AUCA was not only a school of academic learning, it taught me to survive, to strive, and, finally, to achieve. It was not always easy, especially in the beginning, but it was definitely worth it. The great teachers and good friends that I met at AUCA are still very dear to me, and I am very thankful that I have such people in my life.

Kubat Alymkulov

I began my career with KPMG, and along the way worked for Deloitte and Touche the Kyrgyz Republic, Aiten Consulting Group, and finally established a local auditing firm which subsequently joined the global network of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International is the world’s 8th largest audit network that unites 26,000 people in 131 countries. As of today Baker Tilly Bishkek manages two additional offices in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan that provide audit, tax, accounting advisory, valuation and IT audit services throughout the region. Being an employer for three countries in the region, I can compare the quality of students we hire in our offices. AUCA annually provides hundreds of English speaking professionals which make the hiring process much easier. AUCA has a great team of professors and students, the joint efforts of which provide a strong base for success. Thank you, AUCA! You make our society and economy much better!

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Medina Aitieva

Sociology ’01, PhD candidate at the University of Manchester I grew up in Naryn. I had a lifechanging experience as an exchange student in the US, which then led me to enter (then) KAF. AUCA holds a very special place in my heart as an alumna, ex-faculty, fan, and friend for life. With my AUCA sociology degree in hand, I started my career by furthering my sociological imagination at

Ball State University (USA). I returned to my alma mater and taught sociology for seven marvelous years. Currently, I am working on my doctoral dissertation at the University of Manchester (UK). My fondest memories are tied to the days when my entire group would show up at 7 AM and we would individually go over our homework before our professor entered the room at 8 AM. AUCA was a special place where I learned to act like a grown-up, work hard, and stay thirsty for knowledge. AUCA was a phenomenal place with its original curricula, multi-lingual pedagogy,

My advice is to take advantage of the opportunities (both in and outside of your department and university) by actively engaging in issues that matter. It is the doing that will make you a well-rounded person, a better citizen, and prepared for life after AUCA. If you try hard enough, there are no limits as to what you can achieve. The university is the best place to challenge yourself, to enlarge your social networks, and to create opportunities. Do not take anything for granted. Study hard, and don’t forget to have fun responsibly.

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Business Administration ’05, Magna Cum Laude, Audit Director and Equity Partner at Baker Tilly Bishkek (ACCA, CAP)

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

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and advanced academic resources.


Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

International and Comparative Politics ‘07. 2005-2006 AUCA Student Senate Chairman. Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the People’s Republic of China It might sound idealistic, but I was always attracted by the idea of serving my country, and therefore public service was a logical choice for me. My first experience with public service was with the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry back when I was a sophomore at AUCA. That was tremendously inspiring, because I got to work with a lot of dedicated people. Later, while still at the university, I qualified for an internship at two major diplomatic missions in Bishkek. After graduating I gained experience at an international NGO in Bishkek, enhanced my language skills in Chinese, and finally returned to the Foreign Ministry. My first foreign posting was to Vienna, and now I serve in Beijing. I once told AUCA students in a letter to the New Star Newspaper that as a student I was guided by the idea that the more you give to the university, the more it will give back to you. I will add that in my daily work I often count on what I have gained at AUCA. I believe this is true for many of us AUCA alumni. Knowledge is power. Dream and make your dreams come true.

Rashid Ivaev

Economics ’05, Business Development Manager at Microsoft in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan My name is Rashid Ivaev, and I come from one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan, Bukhara. I am an AUCA Alumnus from ‘05, having BA degree in Economics and a Minor in Business Administration. When applying to AUCA, I was choosing between Economics and Software Engineering. Ironically, having selected and graduated in Economics, my career brought me to the field of IT and Telecommunications, which I really enjoy. After a few short-term jobs in the field of finance and tax consulting, in 2006, I successfully applied to a Cisco Sales Associate Program in Amsterdam. Returning back home after Amsterdam, I worked as a Sales Manager/Country Representative for Cisco in Uzbekistan for 4 years. Later I had chance to represent NIL, one of the biggest Slovenian IT companies, developing the cloud (Desktop-as-a-Service) solutions market in Central Asia. Starting in May 2010, I joined Microsoft and currently hold a position as a Business Development Manager for Microsoft in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. Do not limit yourself to learning what is taught in and during classes. Involve yourself in many different activities outside of class and try to develop your hidden talents. This will help you to be wellrounded and flexible, and easily adjust to the changing world and capture good opportunities.

Rashid Daurov

Business Administration ’04, Chief Financial Officer at HSBC Kazakhstan. I started my career at Ernst & Young as an auditor in Almaty. After a year and a half, I decided to try sales at Procter & Gamble, but soon realized that my true calling was finance. I joined Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to work on Merger & Acquisition financial due diligence projects. After a couple years, I moved to Raimbek Group (FCMG holding) to manage accounting and tax functions. In 2010, I joined HSBC Kazakhstan where I continue to work in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer. I have a lot of interesting memories from my time at AUCA, but what I remember most are the people at AUCA (both faculty and students) – diverse, open-minded and eager people ready to change the world for the better. My advice to students: always go the extra mile and try to distinguish yourself. Make yourself visible and build a good network. In general, young people tend to focus on developing technical knowledge and skills whereas the key to success is actually soft skills.

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AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Nargiza Hakimova

Business Administration ’99, Client Relations of Asset Servicing at National Bank of Australia. Before immigrating to Australia in 2004, I worked for ACCELS/USAID’s National Testing Initiative project for three years as a National Testing Administrator. My current career is in the investments industry. I work in Client Relations of Asset Servicing, which is one of the departments in the National Australia Bank (a publicly listed company, not to be confused with the Reserve Bank of Australia). NAB is one of the largest banks in Australia and has one of the highest credit ratings in the world. Asset Servicing manages investments for large pension funds and investment funds. I have been with NAB for over seven years. I am also a Lieutenant with the Australian Army Reserve in part time active service. Currently, I serve as troop commander in the Royal Australian Engineers Corps. I would like to thank the AUCA faculty for their great work! I am proud of many of my classmates for their outstanding contribution to the Kyrgyz Republic development and wish them further success! Thanks to the world wide web, we are always in touch.

Isa Imanbaev

International Business Law ’06, Lawyer at Islamic Development Bank After graduating from AUCA, I worked for both local and regional law firms. I was given a chance to make a minor contribution to AUCA by giving lectures, participating in graduation examinations, and sitting on thesis evaluation committees. Currently I working at the Islamic Development Bank. Being an AUCA student is a very special and complex experience, and it is difficult to highlight the most interesting part. The faculty, students, staff, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, facilities, and many other aspects contribute to that very special experience of being a student at AUCA. Needless to say, AUCA should be listed as one of the top tier institutions for prospective students in the region. AUCA provides opportunities to build a comprehensive, solid set of knowledge and skills that allow students to pursue their dreams, and realize their most ambitious plans. It is essential to grasp and make full use of such opportunities at AUCA. I want to extend my warmest regards to the faculty, and my colleagues and friends at AUCA.

Anastasia Slastnikova

Psychology’ 05, Studio AKME Founder. I received my Master of Arts in Counseling from Manchester University. I am one of the founders of the Psychological Center – Studio Akme, in Bishkek. I work as a psychologist and trainer with vulnerable groups and other diverse patients, providing psychological help and educational tutoring. The most memorable part of being an AUCA student was the unique spirit of AUCA and the warm and caring environment within the Psychological Department. We enjoyed staying at AUCA late into the night, and the feeling that you were not alone never left me. My advice for current and prospective students is this: pay attention to both the things you like and the things you dislike, as one day the things you do not like will be important for your career. Things that seem insignificant for you now could become very relevant in your life.

Anton Kaliujin

Software Engineering ’02, Web Developer at Microsoft (USA) I started working as a software developer when I was still a student at AUCA. I was developing accounting applications and later doing web development. After I moved to the USA, I worked with a number of teams at Microsoft, in Seattle, and a couple of smaller companies. Currently, I am working at Microsoft as a web developer. My team works on the microsoftstore.com portal. AUCA is the first serious step into adult life. It gives students a solid base for future professional education and career development. Learning is a lifelong venture, and students should be prepared for that. For example, I had to take some classes at the University of Washington to be more competitive in my job search in Seattle. I miss my classmates and the faculty. Thanks to the internet, I have been able to stay in touch with a lot of my fellow alumni who are now scattered all over the world. When I come to Bishkek, I always make sure I visit AUCA to follow the changes that the university goes through and to see the faculty members who still remember me. I hope that my classmates are on their way to achieving the goals that they had when we were graduating. I thank my professors for their hard work, as their efforts are really paying off for me now.

AUCA Magazine | Winter 2014

Published by American University of Central Asia | Bishkek | Kyrgyz Republic

Mirbek Karybaev

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AUCA Magazine Winter 2014  

American University of Central Asia, founded in 1993, is dedicated to educating leaders for the democratic transformation of the region. It...

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