Twentieth anniversary of the founding of the first internationally chartered university, the University of Central Asia

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The University of Central Asia (UCA) was established on August 28, 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an international treaty signed by the presidents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan, and Mawlana Hazar Imam; ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations. The presidents are the Patrons of the University and Mawlana Hazar Imam is the University’s Chancellor. UCA is the world’s first internationally chartered institution of higher education.

The treaty was signed in Astana, Kazakhstan, on August 31, 2000.

UCA aga khan dushanbe tajikistan
Mawlana Hazar Imam and His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, signed the International Treaty establishing the University of Central Asia in a ceremony in Dushanbe. Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte
Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan sign the founding Treaty in Bishkek. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
UCA Kazakhstan
Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan congratulate each other and exchange signed copies of the International Treaty. Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte

Announcing a total endowment of US$15 million for the University at its inception, Mawlana Hazar Imam stated that US$5 million of this sum would be allocated for the University’s programmes in Kazakhstan.
AKDN Press Release


UCA’s mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain communities, by offering an internationally recognised standard of higher education, and enabling the peoples of the region to preserve their rich cultural heritage as assets for the future.

Naryn Campus, Kyrgyz Republic
The Naryn campus, the first campus of the UCA, was inaugurated by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Kyrgyz Prime Minister HE Sooronbay Jeenbekov on October 19, 2016.

UCA naryn Aga Khan
Mawlana Hazar Imam and Kyrgyz Prime Minister HE Sooronbay Jeenbekov unveil the plaque to officially inaugurate the campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic. Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte

Students of world history remind us how Central Asia, a thousand years ago, “led the world” in trade and investment, in urban development, in cultural and intellectual achievement. This was the place that leading thinkers from around the known world would look to for leadership. What were the latest breakthroughs in astronomy or mathematics, in chemistry or medicine, in philosophy or music? This was the place to find out. This region is where algebra got its name, where the earth’s diameter was precisely calculated, where some of the world’s greatest poetry was penned.”
Mawlana Hazar Imam

Khorog Campus, Tajikistan
The foundation stone was laid by Mawlana Hazar Imam, President Emomali Rahmonov, and Afghanistan’s Vice-President Nematullah Shahrani on July 6, 2004

UCA central asia khorog
Mawlana Hazar Imam, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmonov, and Afghanistan’s Vice-President Nematullah Shahrani lay the foundation stone for the Khorog Campus. Photo: AKDN / Gary Otte

The campus was formally inaugurated on September 14, 2018 by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmonov.

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President Emomali Rahmon unveiling the plaque inaugurating the Khorog Campus. Photo: The.Ismaili/UCA
UCA khorog university Aga Khan
UCA Khorog Campus. Photo: AKDN

Tekeli Campus, Khazakhstan – expected to open in 2022

UCA Tekeli campus, Kazakhstan

The University also has three main schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Development, and the School of Professional and Continuing Education.

AKDN Press Release
UCA – Birth of a Development University
About the University of Central Asia 
School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE)
Partnership with University of Cambridge