List of UCA Staff:
Dr Bohdan Krawchenko
Zakiah A Kassam
Dr Horst Weyerhaeuser
Dr Roman Mogilevskii
Dr Elmira Köchümkulova
Dr Sharofat Mamadambarova
Dr Pulat Shozimov
Please also see: Research Staff
Educated at Bishop’s University, University of Toronto, University of Glasgow, he received a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Until 1991, he was professor in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta. He worked for many years as a consultant to the Secretary of State, Government of Canada, and Ministry of Culture, Province of Alberta. In 1991 he moved to Ukraine to become Director of Policy Studies at the Council of Advisors to the Parliament of Ukraine, and 1992 became founder and director of the Institute of Public Administration and Local Government, Cabinet of Ministers. In 1995 the Institute was re-organised into the Academy of Public Administration, Office of the President of Ukraine and he was appointed vice-rector for academic development and Director of the Centre for the Study of Administration Reform. Dr Krawchenko participated in numerous Ukrainian government committees, task forces and working groups. These include the President’s Council on Social and Economic Affairs, the Policy Unit of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Working Group on the Establishment of the Civil Service, the Working Group on Monetary Reform and the Commission on Administrative Reform. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank and OECD. He was visiting associate professor at Harvard University, Department of Government, and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Natolin, Poland. In 1995 he received an honourary doctorate from the University of North London, in 1997 was made an honourary professor of the University of ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’, in 2000 received an honourary doctorate from the Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration, and in 2000 was awarded an Order of Merit from the President of Ukraine. He was editor of “Occasional Papers in Public Administration and Public Policy” published by the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe, and member of international editorial boards of several journals among them Public Management and Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis. Dr Krawchenko joined the University of Central Asia in October 2004, where he currently serves as the Director General, and as a member of the Board Executive Committee.
Rahim Somani provides leadership and oversight over the Finance, Human Resources, Administration and Information Technology departments at UCA. His expertise extends to finance, strategic and financial planning, human resource management, systems and MIS, administration, capital projects, corporate affairs, internal audit, and programme management. Before joining UCA, Mr Somani spent over a decade working with Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKES, P), where he served at various times as the Programme Manager for Humanitarian Assistance Programmes, the General Manager for Finance, Planning and Support Services, the Company Secretary, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Acting CEO. Prior to AKES, P Mr Somani was associated with the Internal Audit department of the Aga Khan University Hospital. He completed his CA article-ship at A.F. Ferguson & Co. (a member firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers). Mr Somani is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Cost & Management Accountant. He holds an MA in Educational Planning, Economics and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London.
Grant Robertson leads the team managing the design and construction of the three UCA campuses. Prior to joining UCA, he was project director with Mace International responsible for a luxury 5-star hotel and residential development, constructed to 4 Seasons standards and specifications. He has extensive experience working in the former USSR, CIS and Eastern European countries, as well as in his home country of Scotland. Over the 25 years of his professional career, he has worked on projects in 13 countries and earned a well-respected reputation for the successful completion of complex projects in remote areas. Prior to joining UCA, Mr Robertson served as the Regional Director of Emerging Markets in Central and Eastern Europe with Bovis Lend Lease, an internationally renowned property group specializing in project management, construction, real estate investment and development. In that role, he led 13 projects across four countries and built a team to meet the demands of their growing business. Before that, Mr Robertson worked with Philip Morris Engineering, where he was responsible for the design, management, and operationalization of their tobacco plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Ms Zakiah A. Kassam was a part-time Professor with the University of Ottawa's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering where she taught undergraduate engineering courses. She simultaneously headed Gentsia Consulting Inc., a private consulting firm whose activities included environmental, financial, and strategic consulting for private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations. Ms Kassam also worked as a Manager of Technical Marketing at Plasco Energy Group, a waste conversion company, where she served as an interface between the engineering, finance, public policy, business development, and marketing business units, and liaised with government officials in Canada, the United States and Europe. As a Process Engineer for SNCLavalin International Inc., Ms Kassam was involved with process design, optimization, and capital and operating cost estimates for large oil and gas projects in Kazakhstan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Canada. Ms Kassam holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering from the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from McGill University.
Ms Sheizana Murji serves as UCA's Director of Legal Affairs and Government Relations. She is a Barrister and Solicitor in Canada and her experience includes advising clients in a broad range of matters with respect to project development, including structuring, financing, construction and ancillary service arrangements. Prior to joining UCA, Ms Murji practiced law at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in both its Alberta and Ontario offices in Canada with a broad commercial practice including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships, financings, corporate re-organizations, governance and service contracting. She has acted as counsel to local and international clients in a variety of industries from oil and gas, electricity, agri-business, financial services to automotive. Her experience involves work with federal parliamentarians and government agencies in Canada. Ms Murji has served in different capacities on a variety of boards, including as a Member on His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili National Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Canada. She holds a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Canada, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Canada and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Carleton University in Canada. Prior to that, she completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in Political Science and a Bachelors of Social Sciences with Honors in Economics at the University of Ottawa.
Ms Barlow leads the University of Central Asia's partnership and donor engagement. Prior to joining UCA in 2011, Ms Barlow held several positions within the Aga Khan Development Network, including co-Director of Programs with Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) and Regional Programme Manager, Aga Khan Foundation, East Africa. Ms Barlow has managed a wide range of portfolios supporting the AKDN's work in rural development, microfinance, health, and education systems strengthening, with a focus on Afghanistan and Central Asia, as well as countries of northern and eastern Africa. Prior to joining the AKDN in 2003, Ms Barlow worked for 7 years with non-profit organizations involved in education sector reform in the countries of the former-Soviet Union. Ms Barlow holds a Master of Arts degree in Soviet and East European Studies with a concentration in political-economy from Carleton University.
Dr Horst Weyerhaeuser leads the Mountain Societies Research Institute at UCA. He spent nearly 25 years working in Asia in the field of research for development. Prior to joining UCA, Dr Weyerhaeuser spent five years in Laos as an advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. There, he was responsible for the development and implementation of large scale research programs and involved in the development of national and regional research strategies. Before that, Dr Weyerhaeuser spent eight years as a senior scientist and country representative in China for the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), where he developed ICRAF’s research strategy, partnership programs, and the policy support framework for China. During that time he also set up and coordinated the joint Center for Mountain Ecosystem Research (CMES) in Kunming. Dr Weyerhaeuser received his PhD in Silviculture Management from Freiburg University, an MSc in Natural Resource Management from Cranfield University, and a BSc in Ecology from Tuebingen University.
Dr. Roman Mogilevskii coordinates the Institute of Public Policy and Administration at UCA. He has extensive experience researching trade policy, public finance, and macroeconomics in Central Asia and Central Europe. He has also participated in the implementation of research, advisory and training programs across the CIS and has published numerous papers on the issues of regional cooperation and economic policy. Dr. Mogilevskii has held advisory positions at a variety of international organizations operating in Central Asia, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the European Commission. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Social and Economic Research in Kyrgyzstan (CASE-Kyrgyzstan). Dr. Mogilevskii holds a Candidate of Sciences degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Institute of Mechanics of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and a degree in Engineering and Economics from the Frunze Polytechnic Institute.
Dr Elmira Köchümkulova coordinates the Cultural Heritage & Humanities Unit at the University of Central Asia (UCA). She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington and is one of the leading cultural anthropologists in the region. She has edited books and authored articles on Central Asian music, oral traditions, Islam and nomadic cultures. She has presented extensively at international conferences and lectured on Central Asian Islam, Kyrgyz musical and oral traditions, nomadic life and funeral customs at leading universities and research centres including Harvard University’s Central Asian Studies Group, the University of Chicago’s Central Asian Studies Society and Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Dr Köchümkulova’s research focuses on the historical and contemporary significance of traditions and customs in Turkic Central Asia. She is the co-editor of the UCA/Aga Khan Music Initiative textbook Music of Central Asia: An Introduction, contributing several chapters on Kyrgyz oral tradition and music and taught the UCA pilot course based on the textbook. She served as scholarly editor and coordinated the production of a seminal two-volume collection Kyrgyz Küüs: Analysis, Thoughts, and Opinions, the first scholarly text on Kyrgyz instrumental music authored by Asan Kaybïlda uulu and published by the UCA Cultural Heritage Book Series. Dr Köchümkulova is currently working on several books on topics ranging from Kyrgyz national identity to Kyrgyz funeral lamentations. . She speaks six languages and is an accomplished musician and composer, having performed widely across the United States and Central Asia.
Gulnara Djunushalieva supervises all activities and personnel of SPCE in the three countries, including administering the development, coordination, maintenance, and evaluation for the educational programme. She has built support with local communities and international organisations and has ensured quality of activities. Prior to joining UCA, she was Director of Bishkek International School of Management and Business (MBA program) under Academy of Management of President of Kyrgyz Republic and Manager of Economy Department of Kyrgyz State National University, ITPS. Ms Djunushalieva holds an MBA, and a degree in economic science, and is a Certified International Professional Accountant.
Singaporean Nisar Keshvani leads the University of Central Asia's communications department. He is a consultant, journalist and educator. In the last two decades, he has worked across five continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Australia/Oceania). He has extensive communications experience having worked in corporate communications for Chevron, Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Film Festival. He has lectured at Republic Polytechnic's Centre for Culture and Communication, Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Film and Media School, Queensland University of Technology's School of Media and Journalism and Murdoch University's Journalism programme, where he taught visual communications, media writing, news production and online journalism. Mr Keshvani has published papers in refereed journals, presented at 11 conferences (Japan, Manila, Myanmar, Singapore, Australia) in the areas of new media technologies, newsroom trends, education, art, science and technology. He has also received six grants totally $125,000 for various art and technology community service projects. In 2003 - 2004, Mr Keshvani was on consultancy with the Aga Khan Development Network, Geneva, where he strategized the www.AgaKhanSchools.org and www.AgaKhanHospitals.org websites. He was a member of the pioneering team that established www.theIsmaili.org. Since 1993, he has worked for various international magazines and newspapers. He was editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (MIT Press) and International Co-Editor of fineArt forum - one of the Internet's longest running arts publications from 1999 to date. He has sat on the Boards of the fineArt forum Management Committee, UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) "Digi-Arts" project, Singapore SIGGRAPH Chapter, Leonardo/International Society of Arts, Science & Technology (ASTN) and the Multimedia Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) Festival. Two films, he co-directed won the Special Jury Prize in the 1993 and 1994 Singapore Film Festivals. In 2001-2, Nisar curated an hour-long travelling screening programme as part of fAf’s15th Anniversary celebrations. It has travelled to Manila, Australia, Thailand, USA, UK, South Africa, and other countries.
Mir Khudobakhshov has worked with the University of Central Asia (UCA) for more than a decade and is responsible for the oversight of finance functions including systems development and compliance. In 2002, he joined UCA in Khorog, as Head of Operations and later moved to Bishkek as Finance Manager. Before joining UCA, he worked with the Aga Khan Development Network, Tajikistan as Liaison Officer and previously as Assistant Coordinator for FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance. Mir has a Master of Science in Development Policy and Project Management from the University of Bradford (UK) and is currently pursuing his ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants) qualification. Mir also has a Certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards from ACCA (UK) and Certificate in Business Communication from University of Toronto (Canada). Mir has played a key role in the implementation of iSCALA (financial information system) at UCA.
Dr Sharofat Mamadambarova has been affiliated with AKHP since 1998 in curriculum development and assessment, and as a Master Trainer at Khorog State University where she also served as head of the department, Dean of Humanities and as Deputy to the Rector from 1992-2000. Prior to joining UCA, Dr Mamadambarova taught and managed projects at Dushanbe Pedagogical University’s foreign languages faculty for more than 16 years as an assistant professor, head of the department and as a vice dean. Dr Mamadambarova has served as a consultant for research projects with the Christensen Fund and participated in numerous exchanges and trainings on pedagogy and assessment in the United States. She received her PhD from the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow in 1990. She is currently on sabbatical until March 2014.
Parviz Alidodkhonov joined the University of Central Asia in 2009. As Head of Administration, he is responsible for procurement, supply processes, travel, transportation, policy and regulations. He oversees the administrative function of the University across all three countries – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic. Before joining UCA, from 2002 – 2004, Parviz worked for the Aga Khan Foundation, Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, and with FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance from 2004 – 2005, managing their procurement and logistics. Parviz successfully completed his MBA in 2007 from the Bishkek Finance and Economic Academy. He also has a BSc in Philology from the Tajik-Russian Slavonic University.
Originally trained as a Civil Aviation Engineer, Dilovar Butabekov joined the University of Central Asia in 2006 as Head of the School of Professional and Continuing Education in Tajikistan responsible for providing overall management, leadership, and oversight for all programmes and services on campus. He also oversees the school’s projects in Afghanistan. Dilovar began working for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in 1995 as a junior staff member responsible for day to day administration and finance of the newly established AKDN office in Khorog. In 1997, he moved to the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) as its Administration Manager. He supported AKDN in its various activities in Tajikistan, including managing official high profile visits and ceremonies in the region and broader areas. Following its re-organisation in 2002, Dilovar was promoted to Director of Administration, AKF Tajikistan, where he oversaw its Administration and Human Resources in Tajikistan. Dilovar’s has an Executive MBA with merit from the Bradford University School of Management, United Kingdom (2007). His first degree is from the Kyiv Civil Aviation Engineering Institute (1992) and he has Diploma in Economics as a second degree from the School of Entrepreneurship, Ukraine (1994). Dilovar has been to various overseas training and courses.
Anara Duisheeva is Head of UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education Naryn Campus. She was Manager of Finance and Administrative Services at SPCE Naryn from 2009 – 2012. Prior to joining UCA, Anara worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) first as Office Manager and later as Finance Assistant. After UNDP, she worked as credit specialist with the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) and then as Junior Internal Auditor. She is a Law graduate from the Naryn State University, afterwhich she completed her Masters degree in Public Administration from Academy of Management under the President of Kyrgyz Republic in 2003. Anara is currently pursuing her Certified Accounting Practitioner certification.
Mira Altayeva received her Bachelors degree from Zhetysu State University and went on to complete her Masters of Business Administration at the American University of Central Asia. Mira worked as a Teacher before joining the University of Central Asia (UCA). She began her careeras a Student Services Officer and is now Learning Centre Coordinator, Taldykorgan for the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), Kazakhstan.