Director, Mountain Societies Research Institute; with joint-appointment as Associate or Full Profes
Khorog, Tajikistan with frequent travel to Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic Deadline: March 30, 2018 (or until filled)
The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an International Treaty signed by the Presidents of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan; ratified by their respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of the University and His Highness is the Chancellor. 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. UCA brings with it the commitment and partnership of the broader Aga Khan Development Network. For more information: www.ucentralasia.org.
Mountain Society Research Institute (MSRI)
Established in 2011, MSRI is one of two institutes of the Graduate School of Development addressing the multi-dimensional nature of development through research and education. The other is the Institute of Public Policy and Administration, and new units are being planned. MSRI is dedicated to the generation of interdisciplinary knowledge and its application for the sustainable development of mountain societies of Central Asia and beyond. MSRI is concerned with the quality of life and wellbeing of mountain societies and the factors affecting their environments and livelihoods. Current thematic areas include: natural resource management and livelihoods, mountain hazards risk mitigation, climate change and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, food security, and socioeconomic resilience in light of global changes. Operating at the interface of academia and development, MSRI conducts original research and serves as a regional knowledge hub for scholars and practitioners, enhances research capacity through educational programmes, and seeks to impact development policy and practice.
MSRI’s core geographic scope includes the three Founding States – Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan – as well as Northern Afghanistan where UCA has ongoing strategic educational programmes. Following the 2016 opening of UCA’s fully-residential campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic, the launch of facilities in Khorog, Tajikistan where the School of Arts and Sciences undergraduate programme will offer a research-oriented major in the earth and environmental sciences adds new dimensions that will enrich MSRI’s activities. Headquartered in Khorog, MSRI will maintain an active team in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, reflecting its broad regional mission. MSRI is engaged with the global mountain studies community and is linked to universities in Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland and other countries. It has received significant funding in recent years from international development agencies as well as joint research funding with partnering universities. MSRI serves as host for the regional office of ICRAF – World Agroforestry Centre, and it is an institutional member of the International Mountain Society which publishes Mountain Research & Development.
MSRI’s close relationship with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network, and their rich experience of work in mountain communities in Central Asia, is of particular significance to the quality of research and service. MSRI collaborates with UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education that operates learning centres in 12 locations throughout Central Asia and Northern Afghanistan in the delivery of training programmes. Joint appointments in the School of Arts and Sciences provide MSRI researchers the opportunity to teach and involve undergraduate students in research.
Summary of Position and Key Responsibilities
MSRI is seeking a Director who will build on its unique long-term vision and current commitment in Central Asia and will advance it to become a leading international centre in the study of mountain societies. The Director will strategically guide and support the development of an international research team as well as strengthen and develop new research themes and graduate education programmes that will enable MSRI to have the greatest impact on mountain societies by advancing sustainable mountain development through research, education, capacity development, and targeted contributions aiming to influence development practice and policy. Critical to MSRI’s advancement will be the Director’s cultivation of partnerships with international and regional universities, research institutions and development agencies, and engagement with multiple levels of government as well as communities and civil society. With a joint-appointment in the undergraduate Earth and Environmental Sciences programme, of UCA’s School of Arts and Sciences, the Director will play an important role in promoting research-informed teaching. Moreover, a masters programme in mountain development under the Graduate School of Development is being considered. The position reports directly to the Dean Graduate School of Development with a dotted line reporting to the Dean School of Arts Sciences for the undergraduate programme.
Required Qualifications and Experience
- PhD in a relevant field in earth and/or environmental sciences, natural resource management, geography, adaptation to climate change; mountain hazards risk mitigation; strong record of scholarly achievement and externally funded research
- Leadership of significant international interdisciplinary research projects; experience in leading a research centre desirable
- Demonstrated skills in communications, team building, and capacity development
- Demonstrated experience in project management, including financial management
- Demonstrated commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education
- Critical understanding of key issues facing the Central Asian region, with network of colleagues and academic/institutional contacts working on mountain society research
- First-hand experience in implementation of development work would be a valuable asset, especially in mountain regions (either as practitioner or in policy development)
- Excellent command of English; working knowledge of Russian, a Central Asian language, or a second European language are desirable
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
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