This is me, Emma Sabzalieva. Hello and welcome to my website!
Since 2011, I’ve been blogging about education, society and politics in Central Asia. I’m particularly interested in higher education and social change, which stems from working in Central Asia for an educational charity in the early 2000s, plus subsequent freelance and voluntary work as well as a host of other ongoing connections and commitments to the region.
My blog has been named one of The Guardian’s “best social media accounts for academics” (2016) and my blog posts have attracted attention from a wider audience, including El País, Huffington Post and Yahoo Canada. I’ve also written about Central Asia in academic journals and online magazines. Find out more on the Publications page of this website.
In addition to this regional specialization, my core research interests are the global politics of higher education and international academic relations. I am currently completing a PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada, on how and why change happens in higher education, with a focus on post-Soviet higher education systems. Part of my doctoral research was awarded the 2018 Excellent Paper Award for an Emerging Scholar by the Knowledge Politics and Policies Standing Group of the European Consortium of Political Researchers.
I am a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto in Canada, a Board Director of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, and have taught at the University of Toronto on courses in international development, international academic relations and comparative educational theories and methods.
I am the proud recipient of two prestigious scholarships for my PhD. In 2015-17, I held a Study Abroad Studentship, funded by the UK’s Leverhulme Trust. This transformational award enabled me to make the move from the UK to Canada and from higher education administration towards an academic career in research and teaching.
From 2017-20 I am the recipient of a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. This Canadian government funded scholarship rewards academic excellence, research potential, and leadership. In the year I received my award, just 167 scholarships were offered nationwide, making the success rate less than 10%. I am the first recipient of the scholarship in my department since 2012.
Prior to starting doctoral research, I worked in higher education administration and management for 13 years in universities in Central Asia and the UK. I am co-author of Managing your career in higher education administration (2014), part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Universities into the 21st century series.
I’m keen to build up links with others working in and on Central Asian and post-Soviet higher education with a view to future collaborations and knowledge exchange, so please get in touch.
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