On March 24-25, 2023 Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN) Internationalization Workshop brought together over 40 Central Asian university representatives from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The distinguished delegation from 5 Turkmenistan higher education institutions attending for the first time marked a significant moment in the history of the UniCEN program, reflecting the growing interest and commitment to internationalization and cross-border partnerships in the region.
The workshop aimed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to initiate and sustain international partnerships, enhance faculty and research development projects, foster academic and student mobility, including virtual exchanges, and adapt curriculum for improved student outcomes. The event also provided information about U.S. higher education system and practical tips on initiating outreach and sustaining communication with U.S. university representatives, including templates for effective communication with U.S. colleagues. The workshop served as a platform for learning from both US experts and UniCEN team, networking, and generating ideas for future collaborations.
During the event Dr. Susan Buck Sutton, Fellow at IIE’s Center on International Partnerships, and Prof. Tiffany MacQuarrie, Professor in Charge of Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE) at the Pennsylvania State University, both distinguished experts in the fields, provided valuable insights into various aspects of internationalization. Their contributions were instrumental in helping the participants understand latest trends and the best practices in international partnerships, given their previous experience with the region.
Azamat Naimanbaev, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, highlighted the government’s commitment to the internationalization of universities, stating that “the Program of Education Development in the Kyrgyz Republic is dedicated to improving the quality of education and
modernizing its content in accordance with international trends and constantly changing requirements for the competencies of graduates.”
Miranda Lupion, a Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, expressed her support for the program, stating that “UniCEN program means so much to the U.S. Embassy in helping to advance bilateral and regional ties between universities in the Kyrgyz Republic and in the United States.”
UniCEN program is an essential platform for promoting cross-border academic partnerships, and we are pleased to see its growing impact in Central Asia. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the workshop and the new collaborations that will emerge from it.
The Central Asia University Partnership Program (UniCEN), funded by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent and administered by American Councils for International Education, strengthens capacities of U.S. and Central Asian university administrators and faculty to jointly address global challenges. Through over 75 partnership grants, UniCEN partners at U.S. and Central Asian universities have collaborated since 2018 to modernize curricula, co-develop jointly taught courses, and conduct research with economic impact. For more information please visit: https://unicen.americancouncils.org/