About a year ago I was invited to become a rector of the largest and oldest (52 years) economic university in Kazakhstan – Narxoz Univeristy. It was called New Economic University prior to my arrival, but we went back to the old name, Narxoz. About 140,000 graduates got their diplomas here, including most successful businessman and politicians, prime ministers and richest  Kazakhs.

Kazakhstan is a state with Islam as a dominant religion (more than 70% of citizens). But at the same time it is a state that separates religion with governance. You have many large and beautiful mosques in Almaty, you also have churches, people feel safe, they are friends no matter what religion they believe in. In Kazakhstan we celebrate all religions’ holidays, we are all friends, we are all one family.

What is the secret of this big success? Law forbids that religion dominates over civic life. If you want to pray, go to mosque or church. Praying at university is forbidden. People can live lives they chose, if women want to work they do, if they want to dance they do, if they want do drive they do. But many simply want to marry rich men, have many kids and live happy life. And it is fine. Average woman in Kazakhstan has 2-3 kids, unlike Europe’s one kid at the age of 30+.

At Narxoz we educate young Kazakhs to become future business professionals, leaders. Traditional family values come together with modern professional competences. A perfect mix.

I wish other countries learned from Kazakhstan how to develop its society, deal with modern challenges and secure tolerance in the XXI century.

Some statistics:

  • At Narxoz all three vice rectors are women

  • 3 out of 5 deans are women

  • almost all heads of chairs are women

At Narxoz, university in a society dominated by Islam, all key positions are held by women, who work hard and make sure that university becomes a driving, modernizing force in the country!!!!!!