On 4 February 2022, 40 students of the MA Programmes in Politics & Security and in Economic Governance & Development of the class of 2020-2021 received their degrees and graduated from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Graduation Ceremony was held in a hybrid format. While Bishkek-based students joined the ceremony in person, students from other countries of Central Asia, Mongolia, Russia and the USA joined via ZOOM.
Dr. Alexander Wolters, the Director of the OSCE Academy, welcomed the graduating students, the representatives of the Kyrgyz Government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, partners and donors, and highlighted the achievements of the OSCE Academy’s students in 2021. Dr. Wolters further expressed the Academy’s sincere gratitude to the Board of Trustees, to the Donors and Partners for their advice and guidance and their continuous support which has allowed to provide for all the necessary conditions to run educational programmes of excellence for the youth in Central Asia and beyond.
Ms. Helga Maria Schmid, OSCE Secretary General, addressed the graduates online and conveyed her felicitations - “The knowledge and skills you have learned in the past year and a half will serve you well in your personal life and professional career.” The Secretary General encouraged the graduates to be ambitious and positive about the future, as well as to stay curious and connected.
Following the Secretary General's message, Ambassador Alexey Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, congratulated the graduating class and shared with the students three pieces of advice: to remember that the life is not Olympic Games and there is no need to compare yourself to others; to be open-minded; and to be resent and do not let life pass by.
The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Deputy Minister Mr. Azizbek Madmarov, and of the Ministry of Education and Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Head of Department of International Cooperation and Interaction with Partners Ms. Aizada Apysheva, congratulated the students with their achievements and with the completion of studies in such a unique institution. “Kyrgyzstan considers the OSCE Academy as one of the brightest achievements within the framework of the 30-year participation in the OSCE and will be committed to support its further development and expansion,”- said the Deputy Minister.
Dr. Indra Overland from the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), one of the Academy's major donors and a long-time partner, sent his greetings to the graduates and highlighted that the degree from the OSCE Academy does not mean the end of the collaboration and that the newgraduates will have exciting opportunities and a rewarding exchange waiting for them as active members of the Alumni community.
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Marlene Laruelle, Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES); Director of the Illiberalism Studies Program; Director of the Central Asia Program as well as Co-director of PONARS Eurasia, at the George Washington University. Dr. Laruelle addressed the graduates saying “You need to realize that education is a privilege and you are all privileged to have been given such unique postgraduate education. You should share this chance and find a way to pay it back. …Giving back what you have learned is in fact very awarding... It can be by teaching the younger generation, it can be sharing your knowledge with a broader audience. Also, it can be being a good citizen of your community, country.” Dr. Laruelle highlighted the important role the graduates of the MA Programmes in Politics & Security and in Economic Governance & Development will play in building good governance and security in Central Asia and beyond.
Following the addresses and speeches, the students received their Diplomas awarded by Ambassador Rogov and Dr. Wolters in person and via Zoom. The programme continued with the announcement of nominees for Best Thesis awards and Top GPA Awards by Dr. Elena Zhirukhina, Senior Lecturer, OSCE Academy in Bishkek. The nominees received certificates and prizes for their outstanding academic achievements.
Representatives of the Academy’s faculty, pofessors, who had taught the students throughout the academic year sent their greetings as well. Dr. Lukasz Gruszczynski, Lecturer, and Dr. Viktoria Akchurina, Senior Lecturer, praised the students’ success in studying and working and called upon the new alumni to continue to be hardworking, to never stop learning and to explore the world.
As of February 2022, the total number of alumni has thus reached 594, out of which 305 are women and 289 are men.