Advisory board

Miro Hacek

Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Ljubljana. Teaches courses Political Systems, Public Administration, Comparative Civil Service, Comparative Local Governments. Head of Political Science Department (2005-7, 2013-17). President of Central European Political Science Association (2018-21). Former General Secretary, Vice-President and President of the Slovenian Political Science Association. Editor In-Chief of Journal of Comparative Politics.


Reuven Hazan

Reuven Y. Hazan is a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (affiliation ). His research focuses on the interplay between electoral systems, political parties and legislative studies. He is on the editorial board of several major journals (Party Politics, International Political Science Review, Journal of Legislative Studies) and serves on the Executive Committee of the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research).

Gianfranco Pasquino

Prof. Gianfranco Pasquino, professor emeritus of political science, University of Bologna,  Fellow, Accademia dei Lincei, former President of the Italian Political Science Association, former Director of the Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, and former Senator of the Italian Republic.

Phoebe Koundouri

Professor Dr. Phoebe Koundouri is Chair of Sustainable Development (Economics and Econometrics) at the School of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece). She is also the elected President of the European Association of Environmental and Natural Resource Economists with more than 1200 scientific institutions as members from more than 75 different countries. Prof. Koundouri is listed in the 1% of most-cited women economists in the world, with 15 published books and more than 250 published scientific papers.

Vladimir Smakhtin

Vladimir Smakhtin has 30 years of experience as a Researcher and Manager in the broad area of water resources with an emphasis on global and regional water scarcity and food security. He initiated, managed or contributed to numerous research initiatives in over 20 countries worldwide and authored over 200 publications. He is currently the Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health based in Canada.

Stefanos Fotiou

Stefanos is an accomplished expert on environment and sustainable development and currently serving as the Director or the Environment and Development Division in the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific. In this capacity, Stefanos is providing strategic guidance for the planning and implementation of the UN ESCAP work on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Climate Change, Sustainable Urban Development and he is also coordinating ESCAP's overall approach on supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Keynote speakers

Vinod Thomas

Vinod Thomas is currently Visiting professor at National University of Singapore.

Previously he was Director General of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank (2011-2016).
Prior to ADB, Vinod was Director-General and Senior Vice-President of the Independent Evaluation Group at the World Bank Group (2006-2011). He was formerly Country Director for Brazil and Vice-President of the World Bank Institute. Having joined the World Bank in 1976, he was Chief Economist for the East
Asia and Pacific region, Director for the World Development Report, Chief of Trade Policy and Principal Economist for Colombia, and Economist for Bangladesh.

Vinod has a PhD and MA in Economics from the University of Chicago and a BA from St. Stephen's college, Delhi. He has authored 16 books, articles, and reports on macroeconomic, social and environmental issues. His books include The Quality of Growth, 2000, Multilateral Banks and the Development Process, (with Xubei Luo), 2012, Climate Change and Natural Disasters, 2017, and (with Namrata Chindarkar) Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development, 2019. 

He has taught at Vassar College, New York and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, been on several Boards and has addressed numerous fora in all regions. He has been advisor for evaluation at Global Climate Fund and at IFAD, and for Results for Development and the Emerging Market Forum.


Colin Knox

Colin is a Professor & Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. He did Ph.D. degree in Public Policy, 1989, Queen’s University, Belfast (UK)

Prior to joining Nazarbayev University, Dr. Knox worked at Ulster University in the United Kingdom where he taught modules (Public Administration and Governance, Research Methods and Contemporary Issues in Public Policy) on the Masters in Public Administration Programme. He also led a team which designed the Professional Doctorate Programme (D.Gov) aimed at senior officials working in the public sector.

Dr. Knox also spent 8 years as a practitioner working in local government in the UK prior to joining academia.

Riccardo Pelizzo

Riccardo is an Associate Professor & Vice Dean for Research
He has a Ph.D. degree in Political Science, 2004, The Johns Hopkins University
His research areas are Political Development, Political Parties, Good Governance, Parliamentary Strengthening, and Anti-corruption. Dr Pelizzo is the Associate Editor of Politics and Policy. He is the recipient of several fellowships, scholarships, competitive grants and awards. In addition to editing 3 volumes, Dr Pelizzo has authored 7 monographs and more than 50 peer reviewed articles. His studies have appeared or been translated into 11 languages (Arabic, Bahasa, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Kazakh and Vietnamese). In addition to keeping an active research agenda, he has engaged academic and non-academic audiences in 25 countries and has provided expert opinion to constitutional drafters, institutional reformers, and legislatures in developing countries from Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.

Peter Howie

Peter is an Associate Professor. He has a Ph.D. degree in Mineral Economics. 2002, Colorado School of Mines (USA) Peter’s research interests include energy and development issues in both developed and transition economies. The latter research uses Kazakhstan as a case study. Peter has published several articles including “An Application of a Stated Preference Method to Value Urban Amenities,” “Regional Development in Kazakhstan,” “Electricity Demand in Kazakhstan,” and “Mineral industry demand: The theory in practice.” Dr. Howie received a grant from the Economics Education and Research Consortium, based in Moscow, for his research on “Electricity Demand in Kazakhstan” and has presented his research findings at international conferences in Russia, the Ukraine, USA, and Canada. At Nazarbayev University he is teaching Natural Resource Economics, Public Finance, and Quantitative Methods.

Omer F. Baris

Omer is an Assistant Professor at Nazarbayev University. He has a Ph.D. degree in Economics. 2012, Georgia State University (USA)

Prior to accepting his present position at Nazarbayev University, Dr. Baris taught at the Public Policy department of the Georgia Institute of Technology and at the Economics department of Georgia State University, both located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He taught graduate and undergraduate level classes including Game Theory, Microeconomic Theory and Microeconomics for Public Policy, Applied Political Economy, and Economics, Philosophy and Public Policy.

Dina Sharipova

Dina is an Assistant Professor at Nazarbayev University. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Indian University, 2013. Dr. Sharipova’s research interests include nation and state-building, formal and informal institutions, identity politics, and social capital in Central Asia. Her recent publications include the book “State-building in Kazakhstan: Continuity and Transformation of Informal Institutions” published by Lexington Books in 2018. She also has a number of publications in scholarly journals such as Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Central Asian Survey, Central Asian Affairs, Nationalities Paper, and others.

Simeon Nanovsky

Simeon is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at Nazarbayev University. He has a Ph.D degree in Economics from the University of Kentucky. Simeon Nanovsky joined the Graduate School of Public Policy as Post-Doctoral Scholar in 2017. Dr. Simeon Nanovsky obtained his Ph.D in Economics from the University of Kentucky. Research interests of Dr. Nanovsky include International Economics; and Macroeconomics. Before joining Nazarbayev University Semion Nanovsky was teaching as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of North Florida.

Kanat Abdulla

Kanat is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at Nazarbayev University. He has a Ph.D degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel. His research areas include Human capital and Macroeconomics. Kanat Abdulla joined the Graduate School of Public Policy as Post-Doctoral Scholar in 2019. Dr. Kanat Abdulla has completed the five-year Ph.D. program in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018. Research interests of Dr. Abdulla include Human capital and Macroeconomics. Before joining Nazarbayev University, Kanat Abdulla worked in the public sector.

Phua Kai Hong

Phua Kai Hong is a Visiting Professor from Lew Kuan Yew School of Public policy from at Singapore National University. His education background is PhD (LSE), SM, AB cum laude (Harvard) University. Dr. PHUA Kai Hong is a tenured professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, where hegives lectures in global health, health economics and financing, population ageing and social policy. Previously, he was an Associate Professor and Headof Health Care Division, and Head, Health Services Research Unit, at the Department of Community, Occupational & Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore. He graduated with honours cum laude from Harvard University and received graduate degrees from Harvard School of Public Health and the London School of Economics & Political Science.He had worked previously at the Ministry of Health, Singapore, and the Office of Health Systems Management, New York State Department of Health, USA.

Stefanos Xenarios

Stefanos is an Associate Professor at Nazarbayev University. His educatiuon background is Ph.D., Environmental Economics, 2007, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Greece). Stefanos Xenarios joined the Graduate School of Public Policy in 2018. He is an environmental economist by training with focus on water resources and climate change aspects. He initially acquired a 3-years of postdoctoral experience in India and Ethiopia as a staff member of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Subsequently, Stefanos did research on climate change and agriculture in South Asia, based at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy (NIBIO), and worked as Head of the Water and Energy Security Unit at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office in Tajikistan. Before joining Nazarbayev University, he was a Senior Researcher in University of Central Asia leading activities on water-energy-food and environment nexus in the region. Xenarios is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Central Asian Journal of Water Research (CAJWR) while he is a committee member of the International Water Association’s Specialist Group on Statistics and Economics.

Zhanibek Arynov

Zhanibek is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at Nazarbayev University. His education background is Ph.D., International Relations, 2019, University of St Andrews, UK; MA, International Relations, 2014, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan. Zhanibek Arynov has joined the Graduate School of Public Policy as a Postdoctoral Scholar in July 2019. Dr Arynov received his doctoral degree in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews, UK. His research interests include Central Asian geopolitics and security, EU-Central Asia relations, international identity, image and perception studies. Prior to joining the GSPP, Zhanibek Arynov served as a Senior Expert of the Program of Eurasian Studies, Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP), a think-tank based in Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan.

Iftikhar Lodhi

Iftikhar Lodhi is an Assistant Professor, PhD in Public Policy, from LKYSPP, NUS, Singapore Dr. Iftikhar joined GSPP in 2016 as an Assistant Professor. His previous position was Assistant Professor (Tenure- track) at National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. He is interested in public policy (theory, analysis, and evaluation), quantitative and qualitative Research Methods (Stata), international and comparative public policy, international relations and institutions, energy security and climate change, political and regulatory risk analysis.

Manvel Badalyan

Manvel Badalyan graduated from the Economy Department of the Armenian Agricultural Institute, with the qualification of "Economist - Organizer of Agricultural Production". Mr. Badalyan holds a PhD in Economics. He is a chairman of the Center for Public Service Merit Systems Protection NGO, has been heading the Civil Service system in the Republic of Armenia for over 16 years (15 January 2002 - 16 July 2018) in his capacity of the Chairman of the Civil Service Council of the Republic of Armenia - an independent state body created by the Law on Civil Service.

Manvel Badalyan has specific contributions in education sector having expanded his career in teaching. He has been delivering lectures at the Chair of "Agribusiness Management" of the National Agrarian University of Armenia since 1991, and starting from 2003 at the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia, while further in 2009 at the Chair of Public Administration of Yerevan State University. He is Associate Professor (Docent) and author of a number of research articles.

Over the period between 1999 and 2002 he was Member of Parliament, Member to Committee on State and Legal Issues at National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, while in 1998-1999 he was Member to Political Council under the President of the Republic of Armenia.

As Chairman of the National Youth Council of Armenia over the years 1997-2002 he became proactively engaged in public affairs.

Iveta Reinholde

Iveta holds a PhD degree in Political Science:Public management
She is also an independent expert at Congress of Regional and Local Authorities, Council of Europe; Head of Public Council, Supreme Audit Institution, Latvia
Her research areas include public administration reform and modernization, EU impact on public administration, policy analysis.

Iveta Reinholde is an associate professor at the Department of Political Sciences of the University of Latvia. She has considerable experience in conducting policy evaluations, working in multi-national teams and international setting on such areas as public administration reform, internal audit, human security and public services. In addition, fields of her research include EU public policy, public policy evaluation and analysis, public sector organizations and organisation theory. She is experienced in advising national and local governments. Ms Reinholde has a considerable number of publications on public management issues. Since 2014, she is an independent expert for the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe. In 2019, she has been awarded with Alena Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration (NISPAcee).

Vitalis Nakrošis

Vitalis Nakrošis was awarded a Master’s degree in Political Economy of Transition from the London School of Economics (in 1998) and a PhD in social sciences from the Vilnius University (in 2004). Vitalis is a professor in public administration in the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (Vilnius University). His main research interests include public management reforms, public sector organisations, strategic/performance management, policy implementation and evaluation, as well as EU public policies and programmes.

Vitalis published a number of books, book chapters and articles on various public policy and administration subjects. The work of Vitalis appeared or will appear in International Review of Administrative Sciences, Public Policy and Administration, International Journal of Public Administration, Evaluation, Public Money and Management, NISPACEE Journal of Public Administration and Policy, Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences and Journal of Baltic Studies.

Vitalis was awarded the Alena Brunovska award for excellence in public administration (2015) and a few national awards for the best political science publications in Lithuania.

Kostiantyn Vashchenko

Educational background: 1995, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), 1998, Northwest Academy of Public Service, St. Petersburg (Russian Federation). Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine.

Mr. Vashchenko has been appointed as the Head of the National Agency of Ukraine on Civil Service in 2014. Prior to the present position, he served as First Vice President of the National Academy for Public Administration under the President of Ukraine and occupied positions in the state executive authorities. He is the author of over 150 scientific publications in the field of political science and public administration, member of the editorial board of
9 scientific publications in the sphere of public administration.

Aziza Umarova

Aziza Umarova has MA in International relations, St Andrews University (UK); BSc in Economics, University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Uzbekistan)

She is the CEO of SmartGov boutique consulting firm specializing in public sector reform in Central Asia. She offers unique systems thinking and multidisciplinary approach, grounded in academic degrees in international economics, political science and a decade of experience in governance. Extensive expertise spans across innovation in public sector, anti-corruption and integrity, public service delivery, eGovernance and digital transformation, regulatory quality. Served as Advisor in UNDP's Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in Singapore. Lately she joined GovInsider media platform dedicated to innovation in the public sector as the Associate Editor for Eurasia. Aziza also participates as the OECD monitoring expert, assessing compliance of selected countries under OECD’s Anti-Corruption Network in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

She is also a frequent public speaker on topics related to innovating public sector; developed and taught a course on Innovating a public sector at the Academy of Public Administration under President of Uzbekistan. Strong followers base on social media.


Irina Aghapishvili

Irina Aghapishvili is the Acting Deputy Head of the Civil Service Bureau of Georgia. She is a Candidate of Doctor of Law (JD); She did International Public Law, Master of Law at Tbilisi State University; International Legal Studies; LL.M. at University of Vienna

Ms. Aghapishvili has extensive knowledge in international law and public institutional setup, profound experience in lecturing and training, high expertise in organizational values and ethical conduct of civil servants, academic writing, anti-corruption mechanisms, open governance, and policy drafting.

Ms. Aghapishvili is Author of Commentary of the Code of Ethics and Conduct of Civil Servants; Guidebook on Ethics and Code of Conduct in Civil Service and various publications on international law topics. She is a certified trainer of Dbb Academy of Berlin and has vast experience of providing trainings for managers internationally.

Ablay Dosmaganbetov

Ablay Dosmaganbetov is a Ph.D. student in Public Policy (2017-2021), Graduates School of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University; He has Master in Information Technologies and Innovation Management (2012 - 2014), Graduate School of Management, Saint-Petersburg State University; Bachelor of Economics (2008-2012), Faculty of Economics and Management, Karaganda State Technical University. His research areas are foreign direct investments (FDI), state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), productivity, institutional/regulatory quality. He worked at RCG IA (2014-2015) as an analyst; at JSC 'BAST' (2015-2017) as a manager/managing director. His achievements and awards are The Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) Academy Challenge (2016, 2018), Top 20 winners; HOLT Valuation Challenge (2018), HOLT Partner status; Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) (2017), certificate of completion; WorldQuantChallenge, Autumn Alphathon (2015), Top 40 winners; Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2011), scholarship holder; Konrad Adenauer Foundation (2010), scholarship holder.

Janar Jandosova

Janar Jandosova is a PhD student at the GSPP at NU. She got her first doctoral degree in general psychology at the St. Petersburg University, Russia (1992). In 1997-1998 she was a Fulbright Scholar in the University of California, Riverside.

Janar is a founder of the Sange Research Center, one of the well-known sociological companies in Kazakhstan. Her work experience includes government service, the UN office in Kazakhstan, establishing the Transparency International chapter, work as a consultant for international organizations.

Janar’s sphere of interest and expertise covers corruption, governance, poverty, developmental economics, human development.