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Kyrgyzstan|education|June 17, 2024 / 01:20 PM
University of Central Asia Naryn campus celebrates its fourth graduation

AKIPRESS.COM - The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Naryn campus celebrated the graduation at its School of Arts and Sciences at an elegant ceremony in Naryn on 15 June, UCA said.

Over 250 guests gathered to congratulate the 26 bright men and women who graduated majoring in Computer Science and Media and Communications. Guests included parents and friends of the graduates, local community members, members of UCA’s Board of Trustees, and university staff and faculty. A simultaneous graduation ceremony was held at UCA’s campus in Khorog, Tajikistan where 27 students graduated majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Global Economics.

The Chief Guest at the Naryn event was Ms. Dogdurkul Kendirbaeva, Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Minister thanked the University’s Founder His Highness Prince Aga Khan for establishing UCA that is imparting exceptional education, a “golden key, a rare opportunity”. The Minister asked the graduates to “fly high, reach great heights, and return. Never forget your country, as you are needed here. Your success should contribute to the development of Kyrgyzstan and humanity”. The Minister also encouraged the graduates to be critical thinkers and work for global peace and stability, especially in the areas of water conservation, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, UCA Trustee, delivering a virtual address, congratulated the graduates and also conveyed the wishes of UCA’s Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan. Princess Zahra thanked UCA’s faculty, staff, parents as well as donors, volunteers and partners across the globe. She also thanked UCA’s Founding States (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan) for having created the “enabling environment in which the University continues to thrive”. Princess Zahra encouraged graduates to “play a central role in fostering a vibrant and more inclusive global knowledge society” and asked the graduates to retain a “life-long commitment to learning”. She also encouraged graduates to consider UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education, which has trained some 250,000 learners in Central Asia, as they continue their educational journeys.

The Valedictorian, Kyzzhibek Zhanibekova from the Kyrgyz Republic, received this distinction in recognition of her excellent academic standing and leadership skills. Kyzzhibek Zhanibekova has also been a recipient of the prestigious award for academic excellence from the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. In her address, she spoke of how “UCA taught us to be attentive and thoughtful, to see beyond the challenges, to turn challenges into opportunities, and above all to share”.

Mr. Ali Velshi, Chief Correspondent of MSNBC and former anchor and correspondent for Al Jazeera and CNN, delivered the keynote address. He called the UCA students “bright, curious, and hardworking” and exhorted the graduates to make it their mission to dedicate themselves in the “service of others…Choose to make things better for those around you, and you will make things better for the world. Start with small acts. With each small success, you will get stronger and better able to solve bigger problems”.

Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Chairman UCA’s Board of Trustees highlighted that “UCA’s mission is to cultivate inspired and ethical leadership to drive positive change” and went to share three essentials of leadership: “an ethical framework, empowering others, and self-reflection, and adaptability”. Dr. Christopher Gerry, Acting Rector of UCA, also made remarks.

Speakers at the graduation also emphasised UCA’s and the Aga Khan Development Network’s current and future initiatives as part of a long-term vision to transform Naryn into a modern university town capable of thriving in the knowledge society age.

The event highlighted UCA’s contribution to human capital development in the Kyrgyz Republic and broader Central Asia. Many UCA graduates have been admitted, several on full scholarships, to internationally recognized universities including Brown, Duke, Michigan, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, University of Cambridge, and National University of Singapore. Graduates who have chosen employment have secured decent jobs and are using their knowledge in fields such as economy, environment, technology, and society to contribute to the economic prosperity and sustainability of the Kyrgyz Republic.

UCA's commitment to rigorous quality standards is exemplified through its academic partnerships with leading international universities, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and the University of Technology Sydney.

UCA admits students based on both academic excellence and their potential to be the future leaders without regard to their financial background by providing substantial scholarships.

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