On April 7, 2021, Dr. Elise Ahn, Director, IPO, participated in a roundtable hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce in partnership with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Higher and Secondary-Specialized Education to discuss UW–Madison’s current contribution to Uzbekistan higher education and a potential for future endeavors. The roundtable focused on Uzbekistan’s current round of higher education reforms and how U.S. universities might collaborate with Uzbek institutions in operationalizing these reforms and build strong ties between the two countries.
The roundtable featured Daniel Rosenblum (U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan), representatives from the Uzbekistan Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education, as well as representatives from select U.S. and Uzbek universities. The panel discussion and presentations revolved around how collaboration between universities from the U.S. and Uzbekistan may aid in delivering quality tertiary educational experiences, developing curriculum that is relevant for Uzbekistan both today and in the future, expanding English-language competency, facilitating student and faculty mobility, and developing different types of individual and institutional collaborations.
Dr. Ahn’s presentation focused on the different ways UW–Madison may provide support in capacity building to Uzbek universities and helping strengthen internal logistical systems. She elaborated on UW’s long standing connection to Central Asia through campus units like the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia (CREECA), which is the largest affiliation of faculty focusing on Eurasia among U.S. Title VI centers, as well as UW’s Uzbek language programming through CREECA and through the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute. The focus of her presentation however, was UW’s partnership model and how it could be applied in the Uzbek context. Dr. Ahn provided the example of UW’s long-standing strategic partnership with Nazarbayev University (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan) to describe the benefits for partner institutes through every stage—consulting, capacity building, strategic planning, and collaborating. She also highlighted an exploratory partnership with the Tashkent Chemical Technological Institute (TCTI), funded by the American Councils UniCEN program. This UW-TCTI partnership focuses on developing a Makerspace at TCTI to help promote project-based learning in STEM and foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship among both students and faculty.