The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Open Society Institute have awarded Indiana University $15 million to establish an endowment fund for the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The endowment’s financial assets will be managed by the Indiana University Foundation and will help to underwrite AUCA’s operational costs.
Founded in 1997, AUCA enrolls some 1,100 students. Available fields of study include business administration, economics, journalism, and Western legal and political systems. AUCA courses are taught in English by professors who have studied in the United States or who have benefited from exchange visits by American educators. Over the past five years, more than 35 AUCA faculty and administrators have visited IU’s Bloomington campus or other higher education institutions in the state. Nearly 40 faculty members from IU and other institutions have spent time with their counterparts in Bishkek.
In 2002, USAID approached IU with a request to manage an endowment for AUCA. Having made substantial investments in AUCA, USAID and OSI wanted to institutionalize their commitments through the endowment. The new agreement will establish the legal, administrative, and financial components of the endowment for a period of five years, with the possibility of a renewal for an additional five years.
AUCA expects to establish its own foundation in the United States and assume responsibility for management of funds from the newly established endowment. Until then, an advisory board will guide the distribution of funds. The board includes John O’Keefe, former U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan; William Newton-Smith, chair of the OSI subcommittee on education; Cliff Brown, USAID country representative to Kyrgyzstan; AUCA president Ellen Hurwitz; two at-large members; and representatives from IU.