Kyrgyz athletes encouraged to “do it like Iceland” at Rio Olympics

Footballing minnows Iceland stunned the world (or at least the parts of it that care that much about the beautiful game) in June by defeating England and knocking them out of the Euro 2016 championships, in the process progressing to the quarter finals for the first time in the nation's history. Their victory instantly became part of modern footballing legend. …

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How to get into university in Kyrgyzstan

Tuition fees were introduced in post-Soviet higher education systems further to the advice of international organizations such as the World Bank in the 1990s, as one way of relieving very constrained state budgets from the deteriorating economic situation most of the newly (re)independent states found themselves in further to the break-up of the Soviet Union. [Make of those …

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It’s hard to be a punk in Tajikistan (repost)

Ostensibly about punk and heavy metal cultures in Tajikistan, the article I'm reposting today from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting also serves as a fascinating insight into the ways that individuals and states respond to change from the outside. Think about the conscious choices that individuals who have adopted punk or heavy metal are …

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From the sublime to the ridiculous, and everything in between: Ten defining moments of Congress 2016

The big news in the Canadian academic world at the moment is Congress 2016 (on Twitter: #congressh), taking place right now at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Congress - or to name it in full, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences - is the annual gathering of 75 Canadian scholarly associations, with around 8,000 researchers, practitioners, …

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Higher education in the high mountains of Central Asia

Regular blog readers will know that I am passionate about higher education and about Central Asia. You may also know that I have been following the trajectory of some of the region's newest institutions with great interest, in order to better understand the motivations behind the creation of these universities and to observe what these institutions mean for the people …

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Metal detectors and security cameras: Beware exam cheats, the Kazakhstani government’s watching

How do you catch the attention of a global audience increasingly used to high participation in higher education? In the case of Kazakhstan, one journalist thinks he's found the answer, and that is to showcase the high stakes risks some people will take just to have the chance to compete for a place at one of the country's …

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The power of education: A journey from the mountains of Khorog, Tajikistan, to a world stage

Muslima Niyozmamadova, a high school student from Tajikistan studying at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya, is a powerful and uplifting example of how one person's journey in life can drive them to seek change and how education can provide the tools to make that change. Niyozmamadova has made two big moves already in her short years, firstly …

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Three dilemmas for students in Kazakhstan

Today's post draws on the findings of an April 2016 research report by the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Kazakh research institute Public Opinion, Youth of Central Asia: Kazakhstan [ru only]. Researchers interviewed 1,000 young people aged 14-28 in different regions of Kazakhstan to obtain their views on politics, values, education, family, sex, religion and leisure using a …

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Reflections on Association for the Study of Nationalities World Convention, New York, April 2016

During the past week I've been attending and presenting at the World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) in magnificent New York, and wanted to use this blog post to follow up and share some reflections from an excellent conference. ASN is a large conference with two overarching sets of themes. Firstly, topic-based, …

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