NU GSPP hosted the School’s graduation 2022 ceremony

On June 10, 2022, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy (NU GSPP) hosted the School’s annual graduation ceremony. This year 100 students – including 37 students under the Master in Public Policy (MPP) program, 57 students under the Master in Public Administration (MPA) program, and 6 students under the PhD in Public Policy program – graduated from NU GSPP. It is the largest graduating cohort in the ten-year history of NU GSPP.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the learning process over the past two years. Graduating Master’s students had classes online during Semesters 1 and 2 and experienced the Hy-Flex education format during Semester 3 and came back on campus during Semester 4. PhD students faced huge challenges while working on their theses with data collection that requires face-to-face activities.

For the first time in three years, the NU and the Schools were able to conduct the graduation ceremony in person. It has become a good tradition for the School to invite prominent public and political figures of Kazakhstan to the graduation ceremony. This year the School was honored to host Mr. Maulen Ashimbayev, the Chairperson of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Welcoming the graduates, the Senate Speaker noted that NU GSPP students have completed their programs during a very responsible and important period for the country: “The latest constitutional reforms set a ground for New Kazakhstan, where social justice will be the main value. This Kazakhstan will be built by the young generation.” The Senate Speaker also noted the importance of reformatting the work of the state apparatus in light of these constitutional changes. “The new tasks facing our country require a new quality of the state apparatus. As President Tokayev has repeatedly emphasized, we are talking about a radical transformation of the model of public administration. It will be necessary to continue systematic work to improve the efficiency of public administration,” he said. The video of his speech is available here

Congratulating graduates, NU President Shigeo Katsu stressed that pandemic which hit in March 2020 was a huge hit on humanity and caused not only technical but also mental challenges. He emphasized the reforms in governmental institutions and the latest referendum conducted by the initiative of the President Tokayev noting their importance in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world we all live in. Finalizing his address, President Katsu repeated his famous ABCDE HR speech that is familiar to all NU graduating classes since 2015. He wished the graduates to be A – ambitious, B – believe in their ambitions, C – commit to their dreams, D – do something to pursue their dreams, E – enjoy and have fun, H – be humble and have a sense of humility, R – respect others as they would like to be respected by others.

The special guest of the event – Dr. Francesco Mancini, the Vice Dean of Executive Education and Associate Professor in Practice of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) also attended the graduation ceremony in person in Nur-Sultan. Dr. Mancini stressed that LKYSPP has been a partner of NU GSPP since the very beginning. He wished the graduates to keep alive in their memory the feelings that they experience at the very moment of their graduation, the moment when so many roads are open in the front of them.

Following the awarding of degrees, student speakers from each cohort delivered their graduation speeches. PhD graduate Zhanar Ashikbayeva stressed: “There is no doubt, Nazarbayev University provides a great opportunity for all the students coming from different cultures, backgrounds, to communicate for sharing knowledge, experiences, and interests. This is a huge opportunity for our students. It is such a healthy learning environment for students and researchers, and I applaud the Nazarbayev University for its dedication in nurturing this.”

MPA graduate and Senior Project Assistant in the Politico-Military Dimension of the OSCE Program Office in Nur-Sultan Mikhail Assafov said: “I found the process of studying at NU GSPP very rewarding. Getting a deep understanding of public management, leadership, economics, ethics, and even how national identity shapes specific public policy approaches enabled me to look from an entirely new angle at policymaking in Kazakhstan through a good governance prism.”

MPP graduate Baurzhan Tleumetov thanked professors for their hard work and professionalism, for the knowledge and values they have given the students.  In addition he thanked the School’s team members, who have always been a real support throughout the academic process.

This year, NU GSPP celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its launch in 2012, the School has maintained a strong strategic partnership with the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

NU GSPP master’s programs are fully accredited by the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation (EAPAA) that guarantees high-quality European standards. NU GSPP is currently the only School in Central Asia that has the EAPAA formal accreditation received in 2019 for seven years. Now the School is working to achieve global accreditation status with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

NU GSPP is proud to be the Alma Mater of about 300 alumni from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. The School’s graduates have various professional backgrounds and serve in the state, quasi-state, and private sectors in government, non-governmental, and international organizations. Some of the School’s graduates are enrolled in the Presidential Youth Personnel Reserve of Kazakhstan.