Nazik Beishenaly, Start-Up Nation Central Scholarship

An experienced policy advisor is inspired by the cross-disciplinary MPP

Before joining the MPP course as a Start-Up Nation Central Scholar, Nazik Beishenaly worked in policy development for the UN and the government of Kyrgyzstan. While she has coordinated wide-ranging policy research projects, her special expertise lies in the development of cooperatives in the agricultural sector, and she was elected as President of the Cooperatives Union.

The last few decades have seen a swift democratisation process in Kyrgyzstan, making it an exciting time to be involved in policy development. “We have a dynamic government and I will be very happy to share what I have learned after receiving my MPP. I am very thankful to the Blavatnik School and the SNC for the scholarship.”

Although Nazik has extensive experience in policymaking, she wanted to gain a professional qualification, and so she chose to study for an MPP.

"Like many of my colleagues, I didn’t have a formal background in public policy. We were doing most of our work intuitively, so it is very interesting to be at the Blavatnik School of Government and think about what we were doing right, and what we could have done differently. It’s also great to feel that we are not the only country in the world facing certain challenges."

Nazik is particularly enjoying the Foundations module, which has given her the opportunity to reflect on questions of national identity, just like her mother did. “I have an economic background, and my mother was a philosopher. Economics and Foundations are two of the modules we have at the School, so it’s like reviewing our conversations although she left us two years ago. I have started reflecting on our region’s development challenges, and I have her manuscripts where she writes about how Kyrgyz people could maintain their identity throughout history, and she also tackles the issues of the democratic values of nomad people, identity, nationhood, state-building and the role of government. It’s great to have guidance from our lectures, seminars, case study sessions, and discussions on these topics”.

The course has inspired Nazik to pursue ideas about Kyrgyz national identity further.

"After graduation, I would like to develop my research ideas, at least for a certain time, using the tools and instruments that I’m being taught here. I hope I will help my people understand their identity and our path to development, and to adapt their identities and values to new contexts in a dynamic world."

Alongside her growing interest in philosophy, the hands-on, practical aspect of the course appeals to Nazik. “At some universities, you are just given academic material and then resolve problems without really thinking. Here we are obliged to think critically. Our teachers don’t want us to learn by heart, they want us to acknowledge that there are no ready-made solutions: we have to learn techniques to tackle these very complex issues.”