Call for papers – “Global Bolognaization”: Central Asian Encounters with the European Higher Education Area

Are you a Central Asia based academic or practitioner with direct experience of the Bologna Process/European Higher Education Area? If so, we want to hear from you! I am co-Chair of a proposal for a roundtable at the European Consortium of Political Researchers (ECPR) General Conference, which will be held in August 2018 in Hamburg, …

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Fast facts on Central Asian higher education

I was asked recently to give an overview of Central Asia's higher education systems to a group of people who know a lot about higher education but less about the Central Asian context. This was a great task. It really got me thinking about what someone would need to know in order to get a sense …

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A visual tour of Central Asia’s universities

I've had a small gallery of my pictures of Central Asia's universities up on this site for a while, and have been meaning to update it after taking lots more photos this summer. So here we are, for your viewing pleasure (well, mainly for mine), here is a new and updated gallery showcasing just a …

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Bureaucracy 2.0: Red tape redux in Tajikistan

Bureaucracy lives and thrives in the higher education institutions of Central Asia. It may be more than 25 years since the Soviet Union collapsed but the volokita (red tape i.e. bureaucracy) that the USSR was so well known for remains in many social institutions of the formerly Soviet states. Universities are no exception. Opened to …

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Does study abroad lead to democracy in former Soviet countries?

These days, there's a lot of literature out there - both in the academic and the policy worlds - on studying abroad. You can read about why students choose to go abroad for higher education, how studying abroad changes students, how states compete to recruit the best students from around the world, what this all …

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A summer of learning: Fieldwork, conferences, and more in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

It's been rather quiet on the blog of late. Don't worry - I haven't run out of ideas to keep the blog going. On the contrary, I probably now have too many. I also have a LOT of new photos of universities to add to my photo gallery (see the bottom right part of the …

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The use and abuse of honorary titles in academia

I recently reported on a new China-led university alliance, and noted the increasing influence of China in Central Asia. So I thought it was good timing to note that Kyrgyz career diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Abdyldaev was recently awarded an honorary academic post by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The award of Honorary …

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Town and gown dispute update: Statement from University of Central Asia 

Shortly after my post on the rising tension in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan following an alleged town and gown dispute after a sports match, the University of Central Asia has now issued a detailed version of the incident on its Facebook page. The English version is copied below in full: UCA LOOKS TO BUILD BRIDGES FOLLOWING BASKETBALL …

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Town and gown clash at the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan

Reports are coming in of a clash between university students at the new campus of the University of Central Asia (UCA) in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, and local inhabitants. Tempers flared between town and gown in which some of the university's students from neighbouring Tajikistan allegedly "beat up locals during the basketball match" (source: Akipress). This led …

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Academic diplomacy aims to bolster Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations

Rifts between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are well documented, particularly in the border areas around the Ferghana Valley. The two most recent disputes that reached the international press came in March 2016 and August 2016. The geographical complexity of this area of Central Asia is visible in the second map below, which places the Ferghana Valley at the heart …

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