Twenty-two bright young Kazakhs made up the first class of the two-year Master of Public Policy programme at the Graduate School of Public Policy (GSPP) at Nazarbayev University (NU) that started on 2 September in Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana. Sharing the same dream of transforming Central Asia and improving the lives of its 50 million people, they were selected from candidates from the public, private and non-governmental sectors in Kazakhstan and have a wide range of backgrounds; from the self-made businessman, Mr Yerbol Alshynbayev, General Director of ACCM-01 LLP, to George Washington University graduate Mr Olzhas Rakat, to the former Miss Kazakhstan runner-up and Lead Manager at JCS Center for International Programmes, Ms Madina Shungultayeva.
The LKY School is one of NU’s strategic partners in the initiative to set up the GSSP. Consultation began in 2010 and the partnership agreement was formally signed on 2 August 2012. During these first years, the LKY School is supporting GSPP by sending faculty to teach some of the core and elective modules. For example, the first semester begins with an “Introduction to Public Policy” by LKY School’s Associate Professor Wu Xun, and is followed by “Applied Statistics” by LKY Schools’ Adjunct Professor Shreekant Gupta, and “Social Policy” by LKY School’s Professor M Ramesh.
Last month, Professor Neil Collins was appointed the first Dean of GSPP and this was followed by an orientation programme that included sessions on “Good Governance and the Singapore Experience” given by Mr Donald Low, Associate Dean of LKY School, while LKY School Alumni Ms Aika Bolat and Mr Yernar Zharkeshov offered insights on their experience at one of the top public policy schools in the world.
Speaking at a dinner to celebrate the opening of the programme, Dr Shigeo Katsu, President of NU restated the importance of studying public policy in Central Asia and asked the students a question about the role of three Zhuz in the Kazakh public policy (literally the “three hundreds”, representing the three major divisions in Kazakh society — the great, middle and small, each with their own kings and tribes. It is still practised today as a way to identify Kazakhs.)
MPP candidate Mr Dias Baimagulov, Senior Manager at the Department of International Cooperation of Entrepreneurship Development Fund “Damu” JSC, on why he chose public policy at GSPP NU, said he was inspired by the words of John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”. He hoped the MPP programme would give him the knowledge to contribute to Kazakhstan’s development by finding policy solutions to its most challenging problems. He said, “For me it is not just about learning to be a better policy analyst but about being pushed to my limits by the exceptional faculty of GSPP and LKY School. I am excited about the next two years and I’m confident that I will realise my dream of becoming a future leader”.
For more information on the partnership with NU please contact Ms Aika Bolat at firstname.lastname@example.org