DAVID LAKHDHIR has since 1992 been a partner in the international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. For the past dozen years he has co-headed the firm’s office in London, and from 1993-97 he was partner-in-charge of its office in Tokyo. He has particular expertise in cross-border corporate acquisitions, investments and joint ventures, including in the financial sector, media, semiconductor, power and electronics sectors. His clients include some of the world’s leading private equity, financial services, media, internet, power, semiconductor and manufacturing companies. A graduate of Harvard College, magna cum laude (1980), and of the Harvard Law School, cum laude (1983), Mr. Lakhdhir also served as a Teaching Assistant in the Government Department and Law Tutor at Harvard, and in 1983-84 was a Visiting Scholar at the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi. He currently serves as the Chair of both the Asian Advisory Committee and the London Committee of Human Rights Watch, was the chair of the International Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1999 to 2001, and has served on a number of other commissions and study groups. He is admitted to practice as a lawyer in New York, the District of Columbia, and as a solicitor in England and Wales.
Leonard Benardo serves as Regional Director for Eurasia and Director of the Open Society Fellowship. He began his work with Open Society Foundations in the mid 1990’s with the Soros Foundation Moscow, before going on to oversee the Russia Program’s full range of grantmaking activities, as well as those in the Baltics, Poland and Hungary. He is the founding director of the Open Society Fellowship program, which expanded in 2016 to include four initiatives focused on individuals’ potential to advance open society. Benardo sits on the board of the American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, and the European Humanities University, Lithuania.
Benardo holds a BA from the University of Michigan, and a MA/MPHIL in Political Science from Columbia University, and is a registered walking tour guide for the City of New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the International Herald Tribune, and Bookforum, and he is the co-author of Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names, and Citizen-in-Chief: The Second Lives of the American Presidents.
JONATHAN BECKER is the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College, where he also serves as Vice President and Dean of International Affairs and Civic Engagement, Associate Professor of Political Studies, and Director of the Global and International Studies Program. Through Bard, Dr. Becker provides support to several of Bard’s international partner universities including Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences/ Smolny College (St. Petersburg, Russia), Al-Quds University (Palestine), and AUCA, where he has served on the board since 2008. He is the author of Soviet and Russian Press Coverage of the United States: Press, Politics and Identity in Transition (1999, 2002) and articles and chapters in a variety of publications, including the European Journal of Communication, Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly, and the Globalist, among others. Previously, he served as Assistant Vice President of the Central European University in Budapest and the European Director of the Civic Education Project. He has also served as co-chair of the Higher Education Group of the US/Russian Civil Society Partnership Program and as a consultant to the National Intelligence Council on its Global Trends 2020 project. Dr. Becker earned his BA from McGill University and his D. Phil from St. Antony’s College, Oxford.
WILLIAM H. NEWTON-SMITH has had a distinguished academic and non-profit career. For over 35 years he was a professor of philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford University. Dr. Newton-Smith also serves as chair of the board of the Open Society Foundation (London) and has been a senior advisor to the Open Society network of foundations for over 20 years. Dr. Newton-Smith sits on several other education and non-profit boards, and currently lives in Wales with his wife, Nancy. Dr. Newton-Smith has served on the board of AUCA since 2005.
ALMAS CHUKIN is currently on the board of directors of Visor Holding, a Kazakhstani investment firm. Mr. Chukin has extensive experience in banking and investment, working in executive positions at Halyk Bank and Samruk Kazyna. Prior to leaving the public sphere in 1997 he has served in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as Charge d’Affaires at the Kyrgyz Embassy in the United States. Mr. Chukin started his career as an associate professor of political economy at Kyrgyz State University after graduating from undergraduate and post-graduate studies at Moscow State University. Mr. Chukin has served on the AUCA board of trustees since 2000, and is a key supporter of AUCA’s new campus project.
SCOTT HORTON is the director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, president of the International League for Human Rights, chair of the U.S.-China Education Foundation, director of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, and a trustee of AUCA. Mr. Horton has been a partner of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP since 1990. He also works as an adjunct law faculty at Columbia Law School. Mr. Horton has served on the AUCA board since 1999.
Nazira Beishenalieva is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of CJSC "Bank of Asia," where she oversees the activities of the Board in the formation of bank policy and the execution of bank strategy. Previously, Nazira Beishenalieva was a Chairperson of Bishkek Business Club, a business association that promotes and supports the interests of small and medium businesses in the country. In addition, Nazira was President of the Rotary Club of Bishkek for the 2013-2014 term and was responsible for various charity projects of the club. For the last seven years, Nazira has engaged in educational, cultural and social charity projects of the country. In 2013, she received awards from the Mayor of the City of Bishkek and the Ministry of Social Protection for her contributions to social and economic life. Nazira Beishenalieva holds a BA in Journalism and Public Relations from the American University of Central Asia (1998), a degree in Accounting, Analysis and Audit from Moscow Institute of Entrepreneurship and Law, Bishkek Branch (2004), and a Degree in Law from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University (2005). She also graduated from the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School (2014).
STANISLAV KARPOVICH was in the first graduating class of AUCA in 1997. Since then he has excelled in business as a top manager in several consulting and investment companies. Currently he is the General Director of Silk Road Investments and Deputy Managing Director, FNT Consultants. Mr. Karpovich is the Chairman of the Board of Enactus Kyrgyzstan (http://www.enactus.org/), as well as the Past-President of the Rotary Club of Bishkek (http://www.rotary.org/). He has served on the board of AUCA since 2004.
Aidan Karibjanov is from Almaty, Kazakhstan. He graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations with an MSc in International Economics. Mr. Karibjanov has accumulated 20 years of experience in finance, working at institutions in France and Kazakhstan in top management positions. In 2009 he was appointed managing director of Samruk-Kazyna, the Kazakhstani sovereign wealth fund, with subsequent appointment as its deputy Chairman in 2011. In his capacity of deputy chairman at SamrukKazyna, he was acting as a chairman of the board of directors of various national companies of Kazakhstan including BTA Bank, Kazakhtelecom, Alliance Bank, Kazpost, Investment Fund of Kazakhstan and Development Bank of Kazakhstan where he played an important role in supporting the economy of Kazakhstan in the post-crisis era. He rejoined Visor Holding in 2012 as chairman of the board of directors. Aidan has been a great supporter of education and AUCA, and has served on the board since 2002.
Aijan Chynybaeva graduated from American University in Central Asia in 1999 with a Bachelors in Business Administration. She is currently the owner of the Club Dostuk Hotel and Prego Restaurant. She has over 15 years of business experience, and has worked for several international firms over her career. Ms. Chynybaeva is an active member of the Rotary Club Bishkek, and the American Chamber of Commerce. She also contributes significant time to providing workshops on positive thinking to students and women in need. She has served on the board of AUCA since 2012.
Liviu Matei is the provost and pro-rector of Central European University (CEU) and a professor of higher education policy in the Department of Public Policy. He directs CEU’s center for higher education. He studied at the University of Bucharest (PhD in sociology of higher education) and Babes-Bolyai University Cluj (BA in philosophy and history). He benefited from fellowships at the Institut Supérieure de Formation Sociale et Communication Bruxelles, New School University, Université Paris Nanterre, Université de Savoie, and Salzburg Seminar. He has also worked as the academic secretary of CEU, senior lecturer at Babes-Bolyai University, director general for international relations at the Romanian Ministry of Education, and has consulted in the area of higher education policy for UNESCO, OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the European Commission. He served on the Steering Committee of the UNESCO-EU Commission Project on Management of Higher Education in South-East Europe, and was co-chair of the Working Group on Higher Education, Task Force Education and Youth, Stability Pact for South East Europe. He has worked as an expert in higher education policy for several international organisations. He is a member of the International Higher Education Support Program’s advisory board and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the European Higher Education Area.
Graham O'Donoghue is an entrepreneur and lawyer with experience in government, commercial and public law, logistics operations, and commodities trading. From 2013 to 2015, he served as President and CEO for Mina Group and was responsible for all global operations. Previously, he has served as a lawyer and consultant advising multi-national companies, family offices, emerging enterprises, and entrepreneurs across a broad range of industry sectors and geographies. He has also served as a board director and officer for portfolio companies of his venture capital clients, operating in a range of industries from telecommunications security to luxury goods and commodities trading. Previously, Mr. O’Donoghue was an attorney at the New York law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he specialized in complex commercial litigation and trans-national disputes. From 2007 to 2009, he served in The White House as Associate Counsel to the President of the United States and, previously, Deputy Associate Counsel. In that capacity, Mr. O’Donoghue represented the White House in numerous investigations and other sensitive matters before the U.S. Congress and other federal government agencies. He also provided legal counsel to the White House staff on a range of matters. He served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He holds a law degree from Columbia Law School and a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Harvard University. Mr. O’Donoghue also sits on the board of the New Generation Academy at the American University of Central Asia, which offers promising high school graduates from Central Asia the opportunity to prepare for university admission through an intensive one-year curriculum.
Asset Abdualiyev is an international management consultant. He worked as an advisor to Almaty’s mayor on innovation and urban development. He identified and supported over 200 innovative projects and startups as part of Central Asia’s first “smart city” project. He also coordinated the launch and design of five major public spaces in Almaty. Previously, Asset held leadership roles with the organizing committee of the 2017 Almaty Winter Universiade. Asset graduated with an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School and an MSc in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Cholponbek Jumashukurov has been a Senior Managing Partner of Highland Capital in Kyrgyzstan since 2015. His prior work experience includes his investment management experience at Farallon Capital Management in the USA, management consulting experience at McKinsey & Co in Russia, auditing experience at ATCF Consulting in Kyrgyzstan and an internship at Goldman Sachs in the USA. He received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in the American University Central Asia (1998) and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School (2008). He is currently also a member of the Supervisory Board of ProKG professionals association in Kyrgyzstan.