|President Kupchella, First Lady to visit Kyrgyz Republic|
President Charles Kupchella and First Lady Adele Kupchella are traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic to sign an historic accord with Osh State University (OSU) that will expand UND’s international presence.
“The Kyrgyz Republic is part of a key strategic area in the world, and we are thrilled to lead this mission to one of the largest universities in Central Asia,” Kupchella said. “When I hosted OSU Rector Mukhtar Orozbekov here at UND last year, we agreed that our two universities and our respective regions shared many common interests.”
Orozbekov visited UND, in part, to learn more about the school’s top-notch distance education programs. UND at the time also was hosting Fulbright scholar Sabira Kalygulova, a professor of English and dean of languages at OSU. Both Orozbekov and Kalygulova also were enthusiastic about expanding scholar exchange opportunities between the two universities.
“Like North Dakota, Kyrgystan, a former Soviet republic, is largely a rural area. Many of the students we serve are seeing the big city for the first time when they come to us, and many more who live in very remote areas depend distance learning to get their college education,” said Orozbekov, who is a Russian-trained Ph.D. civil engineer. “I think it’s essential for us to significantly strengthen and upgrade our distance learning capabilities. I see it as a key part of my country’s economic development.”
After signing a memorandum of understanding at UND to explore further ways to cooperate, including faculty and students exchanges, Orozbekov invited Kupchella to visit OSU and said he planned to show Kupchella and First Lady Adele the college, the town, and the Osh region.
Kupchella is expected to sign draft agreements with Orozbekov to help OSU develop expanded distance learning capabilities, including the addition of more English language instruction. Also, UND will be offering OSU two tuition-waiver scholarships for eligible Kyrgyz students. During his stay, Kupchella is hosting a UND “get-acquainted” evening banquet that will include the mayor of Osh and other dignitaries keen to see this new international partnership succeed.
In addition, Orozbekov has established a “UND Room” at OSU, which will feature Internet-accessible computers, UND, Grand Forks, and North Dakota publicity materials, course catalogs, and related publications. The UND Chester Fritz Library has also shipped several boxes of publications and books about the University and the region, including histories and research materials and several back issues of the North Dakota Quarterly. All of this material will be available at OSU’s UND Room.
Kupchella will be back on campus Sept. 24.