The future leaders of Central Asia | Devex (Part 3 of 3)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part three of a Devex series that examines the Aga Khan’s plan to create a new model for higher education in Central Asia, where the opportunity to achieve academic excellence is usually found somewhere else. Read part one here and part two here.

 

His Highness the Aga Khan: "What this University is all about is not only the power of education, but also the power of international cooperation" | Kabar - Kyrgyz National News
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan. (Image credit: Kabar – Kyrgyz National News)

“UCA  is not a typical startup university …

 

What this University is all about is not only the power of education, but also the power of international cooperation.  It is a power that can change peoples’ lives.

 

It is important to know that what we are doing here will be a valuable example of international cooperation for the future not only here in the region, but also for people far beyond the region.”

 

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan,

at the inauguration of the University of Central Asia

Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

October, 2016

 

The spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili muslims has staked a big share of his legacy and fortune on the University of Central Asia (UCA) – and the international cohort of students he hopes will help redefine leadership for a region that has struggled to recapture its spirit of openness.

 

Students from the University of Central Asia’s inaugural class during the inauguration ceremony in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. (image credit: Michael Igoe / Devex)
Students from the University of Central Asia’s inaugural class during the inauguration ceremony in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. (image credit: Michael Igoe / Devex)

 

Devex | Inside Development | Education
The future leaders of Central Asia
By Michael Igoe @AlterIgoe

3 February 2017 – Naryn, Kyrgyzstan — In the 15th century, a grandson of the Central Asian conqueror Timur — or Tamerlane — sought to turn the city of Samarkand into an intellectual capital of the Persian Empire. His name was Ulugh Beg, and he ruled over the territory now referred to somewhat dismissively as “the Stans.” Ulugh Beg built one of the largest astronomical observatories in the world, with an 11-meter sextant, and he used it to calculate the timing of eclipses.

 

His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the University, addresses the audience of more than 300 representatives of government, His Highness's family and AKDN leadership. (Image credit: Gary Otte/AKDN via UCA)
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the University, addresses the audience of more than 300 representatives of government, His Highness’s family and AKDN leadership. (Image credit: Gary Otte/AKDN via UCA)

“Central Asia, a thousand years ago, led the world in trade and investment, in urban development, in cultural and intellectual achievement. This was the place that leading thinkers from around the known world would look to for leadership.”

 

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan,

at the inauguration of the University of Central Asia

Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

October, 2016

 

“I can assure you that it would be a heck of a lot cheaper to take these 70 students and send them off on scholarships to the U.S. and Canada … than it is to build this university and keep them here,” said Valerie Lopes, director of teaching and learning at Seneca College in Toronto, who led the development of UCA’s preparatory year curriculum.

The Aga Khan has chosen to undertake a massive institution-building project in rural, mountainous areas. After this first preparatory year, UCA’s students will have the English-language proficiency to pass university entrance exams and the academic credentials to stand out among international applicants. But UCA’s basic mission is to promote socio-economic development in the region, not send qualified job-seekers abroad.

Read the complete story at the source: https://www.devex.com/news/the-future-leaders-of-central-asia-89541

About the author

Michael Igoe – @AlterIgoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider’s perspective.

 

 

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali


 

Earlier & Related

 

Previously on Ismailimail…

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