Kazakhstan has opened a new university in the capital, Astana, with ambitious aims of eventually offering a world-class education to 20,000 students per year and of ending the practice of sending the country’s best and brightest abroad to study.
Nazarbayev University – named after Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev – will teach only in English, and initially all of its professors will be foreigners, said Kadisha Dairova, the vice president of the school. The school is working closely to develop the programs of study with elite foreign universities, particularly American ones, including Carnegie Mellon, Duke and Harvard, aiming to derive the best from each university and combine them into a uniquely Kazakh mix.
The university “will become a national brand of Kazakhstan that will combine the advantages of the national education system and the best of international research and education practice,” said Nazarbayev at the school's opening ceremony at the end of June.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.