Naryn, the Kyrgyz Republic, 7 September 2017 - “The University of Central Asia (UCA) is not only important to Kyrgyzstan, but will also compete with universities around the world. It will forge friendships overseas and be an asset for all in the education sector.” The Governor of Naryn Oblast, Mr. Amanbay Kayipov, was Chief Guest at the First Day of Classes at UCA’s Naryn Campus on 7 September 2017. He also welcomed students from other Central Asian Countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, and added that “UCA has helped strengthen sports, culture, and inter-ethnic relations in Naryn.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Kudayberdi Kojobekov, stated, “UCA is an institution that is receiving recognition not only in Central Asia, but around the world. It is stimulating social and economic development, while preserving local traditions and heritage. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of His Highness the Aga Khan for establishing the University of Central Asia, which has made, and will continue making, significant contributions to the socio-economic development of mountain communities.”
Introducing the students, Dr. Diana Pauna, Dean of School of Arts and Science at UCA, informed the gathering that the Campus houses a diverse group of 68 students with demonstrated records of leadership. They are winners of academic competitions; presidents of student government; passionate advocates for the disadvantaged; talented artists and musicians; award-winning athletes; and enthusiastic volunteers who lend a hand in their communities. Over half the student body (56 percent) is female.
Commenting on the student profile, Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of UCA said, “It is very gratifying to note that 68 percent of the students on this Campus are from rural areas and secondary cities. This is a reflection of the affordability of studying at UCA. As a residential university, our fees also include attractive accommodation and meals, a laptop computer and many other facilities. Moreover, once a student is offered admission, we guarantee financial assistance.”
UCA Students Association Representative, Bagymdat Atabaeva, shared advice with the incoming students, “UCA will be an essential part of both your academic and personal growth. The curriculum, teachers, lessons and experiences at UCA made me realise that knowledge is not what is memorised, but that which benefits. What you learn here does not just come from the classroom, but from everything you receive from your classmates, and every person you meet.”
Following a tradition established at UCA, each new student contributed a personal message to the cohort time capsule to be unsealed at their graduation in 2022. In turn, graduating students will each contribute a class gift to a graduation capsule to be unlocked at the University’s Silver Jubilee in 2041. Students also inscribed their names in the UCA Legacy Book, symbolically inducting them into the University’s community.
UCA is one of the world’s few regional, fully residential, internationally chartered universities devoting considerable resources to mountain-based research. It is a secular, private, not-for-profit university, founded in 2000 by the Governments of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The Presidents of these countries are Patrons of the University, and His Highness the Aga Khan is the Chancellor.