Some of the best graduate students from Central Asia will be able to study at Cambridge thanks to a co-funding scholarship agreement signed last week between the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the University of Central Asia.

The signing last Friday was witnessed by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, and His Highness the Aga Khan, visiting Cambridge to receive an Honorary Degree later in the day.

Signatories were Professor Bohdan Krawchenko, the Director of the University of Central Asia (UCA), and Michael O’Sullivan, Director of the Cambridge Overseas Trust.

The agreement is an outcome of the strong links established at an academic level with the University of Central Asia by the Cambridge Central Asia Forum (CCAF), the Cavendish Laboratory and others.

It will fund two graduate students each year at Cambridge, and has two main aims – to bring some of the best students from the region of Central Asia to study here, and to assist in the development of the future faculty of the University of Central Asia.

The scholarships are for MPhil degrees followed by PhD research for candidates who reach the necessary standard.

The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan. This is its first collaboration with Cambridge University.

The UCA is currently building its physical plant on three sites in spectacular, remote areas of the three founding countries; its stated aims are to promote the socio-economic development of Central Asia’s mountain societies, while at the same time helping the diverse peoples of the region to preserve and draw upon their cultural traditions as assets for the future.

The link between the two universities is highly valued, as is the link with the Aga Khan Development Network, which shares many common aims with the University of Cambridge, in particular the value placed on widening access to further education at its highest level.

CCAF has a long history of contact with various arms of the Aga Khan Development Network. Dr. Saxena of CCAF and the Cavendish Laboratory initiated the contact between Dr Krawchenko and the Overseas Trust, together with Professor Peter Littlewood, FRS, head of the Cavendish.

Also present at the signing were family and staff of His Highness, Sir Richard Dearlove, the Master of Pembroke College, who kindly hosted the occasion in his home, Dr Siddarth Saxena Chair, of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, and Peter Agar, the University’s Director of Development,

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