On November 4-5, U.S.-Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN) hosted a Sustainability and Grant Writing Workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Professor Khanjan Mehta, Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry at Lehigh University and Dr. Woden Teachout, a Leadership & Public Policy Professor at Union Institute and University facilitated the workshop. Both Dr. Teachout and Vice Provost Mehta have extensive careers in higher education programming, international project design and approach, and expertise in grant writing and management in the field of higher education.
40 senior university administrators and heads of international relations departments from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan were invited to take part in an interactive workshop focused on sustainable internationalization solutions and strategies at their respective universities throughout Central Asia. Focus on grant writing, international donor relationship building, and financing various types of internationalization projects provided for a robust conversation around further engagement with U.S. university partners. In addition to building local capacity related to grant writing, UniCEN team offered sessions on monitoring and evaluation, financial and programmatic reporting, and provided additional opportunities for peer learning in support of participants’ areas of interest.
At the end of the workshop, each Central Asian team presented their interdisciplinary project, value proposition for each of the three most important stakeholders, explained the approach and proposed solution, and discussed how they first implement their innovation for a sizeable number of people and later replicate/scale their innovation to other regions and ensure the project sustainability. UniCEN team members together with a grant writing consultant will continue working with Central Asian partners after the workshop to facilitate the proposal writing and further engagement with the U.S. university representatives.
“I am very pleased that our Embassy supports the UniCEN program because it helps foster the education reforms that President Mirzoyeyev and the Uzbekistani government here have introduced in order to modernize and internationalize the higher education system,” stated Kendall Anthony, Public Diplomacy Specialist, U.S. Embassy Tashkent.
Through UniCEN, U.S. and Central Asian institutions of higher learning have engaged in a variety of bilateral small grants that have bolstered faculty exchange, publication of international journal articles, enhanced joint research around several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and contributed to sustainable partners between the United States and Central Asia and between universities and institutions within Central Asia.
The Central Asia University Partnership Program (UniCEN), funded by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent and administered by American Councils for International Education, strengthens capacities of U.S. and Central Asian university administrators and faculty to jointly address global challenges.
Through over 70 partnership grants, UniCEN partners at U.S. and Central Asian universities have collaborated since 2018 to modernize curricula, co-develop jointly taught courses, and conduct research with economic impact. This year, partner universities are creating regional knowledge hubs across the region and increase research capacities that support long-term and sustainable partnerships that strengthen the role of higher education in society.