University of Central Asia

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University of Central Asia
File:Uca logo.png
Established 2000
Type International university
Chancellor His Highess the Aga Khan
Location Khorog, Tajikistan
Naryn, Kyrgyzstan
Tekeli, Kazakhstan

The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000. The presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan and His Highness the Aga Khan signed the International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular, not-for-profit, private university that was ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations.

UCA was established to offer an internationally recognised standard of higher education in Central Asia and prepare graduates to contribute leadership, ideas and innovation to the economies and communities of the region. UCA’s mission is to foster the socio-economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, while helping the peoples of the region preserve and draw upon their rich cultural heritages as assets for the future. The university is advancing construction of three campuses in Khorog, Tajikistan; Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic; and Tekeli, Kazakhstan.[1]

In the meantime, several UCA initiatives offer professional training and research opportunities and resources. These include the School of Professional and Continuing Education, the Institute of Public Policy and Administration, the Mountain Societies Research Institute, the Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit, the Central Asian Faculty Development Programme and the Aga Khan Humanities Project. The university brings with it the commitment and partnership of the Aga Khan Development Network. For more information on UCA, please visit

Currently, the director general of UCA is in charge of operations and planning at the Central Administration office in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

Campuses and facilities

UCA is constructing three campuses in Khorog, Tajikistan; Naryn, the Kyrgyz Republic; and Tekeli, Kazakhstan;[2] — creating one of Central Asia’s largest and most ambitious construction projects with the expertise of internationally renowned architects and designers.


The three campuses, hosting academic, administrative, residential, library, cultural and athletic facilities, will occupy between 280,000 and 300,000 square meters divided equally across the campuses and will accommodate a residential population of almost 4000 students, faculty and staff. Parklands will surround each UCA campus and will be open to the general public.

The campuses are being planned by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. Site designs and university parks are being developed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.

Until the campuses are built, research and other preparations are being carried out in offices in larger cities. For example, the Kyrgyzstan office is in Bishkek.

Khorog, Tajikistan

Khorog is the capital of the Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan. It is at an altitude of 2100 metres in the heart of the Pamir Mountains, near Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, and southwest Xinjiang in the People’s Republic of China.[3] The campus site, known locally as Dasht, Tajikistan, is an elevated triangular terrace northwest of the town centre. Future expansion will occur in Porshnev village, 16 km down the Panj River from Khorog.

Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic

Naryn oblast is at the geographical heart of the Tien-Shan mountain range and of Kyrgyzstan, sharing borders with four of the nation’s six other provinces. Its capital, Naryn, is four hours by car from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and an equal distance from Kashgar in the People's Republic of China. Ak-Kya, the UCA campus site, is along a bend of the Naryn River, 12 km downstream from the city.

Tekeli, Kazakhstan

Tekeli is a 35-minute drive east of the regional capital, Taldy-Korgan, and is three hours by car from Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty. The town sits at the mouth of the narrow valley along the Kazak steppe in the historic Jetisuw (or "Seven Rivers") region. It borders the Alatau and Dzungaria mountain ranges, with the Altai Mountains further north.

Organization and academic programmes

School of Professional and Continuing Education

The School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) will offer formal, university-based, non-degree educational programmes, including vocational, professional development and personal improvement opportunities for youth and adults. Established in 2006, SPCE is UCA's first operational academic programme and aims to foster economic development. It offers courses that improve employment and income generating opportunities, as well as professional development opportunities for mid-career professionals.

SPCE has programmes in:

  • Enterprise Development and Management for entrepreneurs to start and improve small enterprises or for professionals in finance and management who need to upgrade their qualifications.
  • Information Technology and New Mediaf or current and prospective IT professionals as well as business management and administration staff seeking to upgrade their skills.
  • Applied Languages for entrepreneurs, students and professionals seeking higher competencies in English, Russian, and Chinese for purposes such as business or education.
  • Public and Social Sector Management for policy administrators, public officials and managers in education, government and public health.
  • Vocational Education and Training for those seeking skills and experienced skilled workers looking to upgrade skills and qualifications. Vocational courses that are or will be offered include carpentry, construction, painting and plastering.
  • Post-Graduate Preparatory Programmes for undergraduate and graduate students seeking to enhance their analytical and critical thinking skills for future study.
  • Professional Development for mid-career public servants and other professionals seeking knowledge or skills in a format less demanding and more flexible than full-time study. Professional development courses that are or will be offered include accounting, language for specific purposes, computers and information technology, small business management, and tourism planning and development.
  • Personal Development and Improvement for those interested in short-term courses teaching best practices in leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and other skills to address the social and economic needs of their communities

School of Undergraduate Studies

The School of Undergraduate Studies will offer a four-year degree to instill graduates with global knowledge, leadership skills, and initiative. The course will include required foundation courses emphasizing critical thinking and interdisciplinary approaches; concentrations in the humanities, natural sciences, the social sciences, and management; and research requirements.

Other programmes

English Preparatory Support

At UCA, English will be the language of instruction for all degree courses. Most incoming students will need some preparation in English and computing. Therefore, UCA is establishing a one-year preparatory programme for undergraduates and a three-month programme for graduate students.

Distance Education

To make the University accessible to populations living in more isolated areas, UCA is establishing a distance education programme that will use information technologies and distance education teaching and learning.

Music Programme

UCA is developing a music programme that will provide instruction, research and performance opportunities in the musical traditions of Central Asia. The programme will support UCA’s academic programmes, enrich the cultural life of the three campuses and complement the work of the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia.


The UCA Research Programme will focus on addressing issues of socio-economic development and cultural preservation in Central Asia, with particular emphasis on mountain regions.


  1. "About the University of Central Asia (UCA)". University of Central Asia. Retrieved 19 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Campus Construction". University of Central Asia. Retrieved 19 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Campus Development: Khorog, Tajikistan". University of Central Asia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also

External links