Chancellor signs partnership linking UW-Madison with Kazakhstan

March 4, 2010

A newly created partnership will increase cooperation between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a new university in Kazakhstan.

Chancellor Carolyn Biddy Martin signs a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with members of a delegation from the New University of Astana in the Republic of Kazakhstan during a meeting in Martin’s office on March 4, 2010. In the background left to right are Gilles Bousquet, dean of UW-Madison’s Division of International Studies, and Yerbol Orynbayev, deputy prime minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Photo: Jeff Miller

Aslan Sarinzhipov, CEO of JSC New University of Astana, and additional members of a Kazakh delegation joined UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin in signing a contract for partnership today (Thursday, March 4) in Bascom Hall.

The contract pledges that UW-Madison, through the Division of International Studies in cooperation with the College of Letters and Science, will undertake a feasibility study to develop models for a School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the New University of Astana. Uli Schamiloglu, chair and professor of Central Asian Studies, will head the study that will include other UW faculty and staff.

"We are honored and delighted to be selected by Kazakhstan as a partner as they embark on establishing a new university to bring the benefits of education to their people and the entire region in the tradition of the Wisconsin Idea," says Gilles Bousquet, dean of International Studies and director of the International Institute.

UW-Madison is the only university in the United States teaching the Kazakh language. Its Central Asian Studies Program includes faculty, staff, and other resources dedicated to the study of Kazakh history, literature and culture.

The government of Kazakhstan has supported thousands of students in their studies outside of the country. With construction of the New University of Astana (also known as Nursultan Nazarbayev University, after the country's president), Kazakhstan hopes to provide students with a world-class, English-language education in their home country.

The university is modeled after top universities around the world, including other partners with whom the university has signed similar partnerships. These institutions include the University of College-London and several leading U.S. universities, including Carnegie-Mellon, Harvard and Duke.