The University of Central Asia, a unique university on the New Silk Road being developed by China to link Asia to Europe, hopes to tag onto the new infrastructure to educate some of the most marginalised communities in the mountainous region – most of them living a nomadic lifestyle raising livestock and facing problems due to conflicts and climate change.
For development to be sustainable, universities need to work with the communities where they are located, not merely to educate populations and provide them with qualifications and certificates, but also by conducting research into issues that affect mountain communities, says Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Central Asia (UCA).
Founded in 2000 by the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, it has three campuses in each of the countries, located away from the major cities. They are on the historic Silk Route and UCA hopes to be at the heart of the economic and intellectual transformation taking place in the region, Kassim-Lakha told University World News.
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