On March 31 – April 1, the U.S.-Kazakhstan University Partnerships Program brought together 30 representatives of 6 Kazakhstan higher education institutions in Astana, Kazakhstan for a workshop led by University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) experts. UW-Madison shared their best practices and coached the Kazakhstan universities on university governance, financial planning, revenue generation and program administration.

Kazakhstan universities used their time with the UW-Madison to further develop their proposed pilot projects which were designed to innovate in such areas as diversifying revenue, improving human resource policies and practices, and reframing or speeding up decision-making. The Kazakhstan universities will implement their projects over the next nine months.

To celebrate the month of Ramadan, American Councils and the U.S. Embassy organized an iftar/auyzashar dinner for workshop participants and other education officials.  Kuanysh Yergaliyev, Vice-Minister of Science and Higher Education of Kazakhstan and Judy Kuo, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan  welcomed guests. Judy Kuo, Deputy Chief of Mission, noted that “the University Governance and Financial Management Workshop and tonight’s dinner with the workshop guests is all about connecting new and long-standing partners. … We all gathered here because we share the goal of exchanging ideas and looking for ways to collaborate.”

Kuanysh Yergaliev, Vice-Minister for Science and Higher education highlighted the importance of bringing together people of different ethnic, religious and cultural background in one place to appreciate the diversity and show the common values we have. “As we share the meal today, we make this first steps to break barriers between each other and build the bridge to better understand each other, … as we are gathered today let us remember the importance of building bridges of peace and understanding between our cultures and nations”. He concluded his speech by thanking everyone for supporting the ministry’s initiative to make Kazakhstan the education hub of the region.

The U.S.-Kazakhstan University Partnerships Program is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan and the U.S. Department of State and is administered by American Councils for International Education.