Kyrgyzstan Education Scholarships
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Kyrgyzstan, a.k.a. Kyrgyz Republic, is ancient Mongol territory and sits on the outside edge of former Soviet countries and adjacent to China. The entire Eurasian region is chock-full of ethnic groups: Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and from time to time their differences have erupted in violent conflict. This is usually the point at which they find their place on our international radar, God knows their economic and political prowess do not make headline news.
The scholarships most prevalent to the Kyrgyz region are those targeted to students with advanced research in such areas as social and political sciences. The region remains high on the list of countries of interest to national security, so there are government scholarships as well.
The National Security Education Program, from which the David L. Boren Scholarships were spawned, was established to make more high quality study abroad programs available to more American students in areas of critical interest to national security, such as former Soviet countries like Kyrgyzstan. Candidates for the Boren Scholarships may be undergraduate or graduate students intent on a challenging study abroad program in a non-Western European country. Preference is given to those who express an interest in a security career. Boren Scholars are expected to repay the favor of the scholarship with a year of work within the federal government, ideally utilizing their niche know-how of a specific culture, language and region.
Fulbright Scholarships remain one of the oldest and most prestigious study abroad scholarships won by hundreds of U.S. students each year. Applicants must be grad students or advanced level scholars. A couple of fully funded grants are awarded for study in Kyrgyzstan. Candidates must have a well-defined program of research. Awards include travel, living, and tuition.
- Because the main languages in Kyrgyzstan are Russian and Kyrgyz, recipients of a Fulbright Scholarship may also opt to take advantage of the Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award if language skills are a prerequisite of their program. Awards cover six months of intensive language study.
Money is available for graduate and post-graduate students through the School of Russian and Asian Studies. The SRAS Research Grants provide lucrative funding for those wishing to conduct up to a year of proposed research in Russia or Kyrgyzstan. These are highly competitive and applicants must be enrolling in one of the school’s programs to be considered. Besides a research project outline, applicants must also submit two lengthy essays and have a 3.2 GPA or above. Fellowships are $1,000.
- Language Exploration program offers $500 awards for students to study Kyrgyz in combination with participation in a program at the SRAS. Applicants must have stellar academic records as well as previous work in the Russian or Kyrgyz language.
The International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) operates programs in over four dozen countries. The mission is to provide educational platforms and project support for advanced scholars and students who require funding and collaborative environments in which to conduct research or network with fellow scholars in disparate locations. Fellowships available applicable to those pursuing research in Kyrgyzstan, include:
- Independent Advanced Research Opportunities Fellowships are funded in part by the Department of State under the Title VIII initiative. Awards are given in the following study categories: Masters, Post-Graduate, Doctoral, Post-Doctoral and Professional, allowing for a wide berth of expertise and focus. All projects must be relevant to U.S.-Kyrgyzstan policy or closely related. Fellowships cover travel, living, any tuition, monthly stipend and medical insurance. Depending on category, candidates may receive funding for up to nine months.
- IREX Short-Term Travel Fellowships are expressly designed for those who only require a couple of months on location in Kyrgyzstan. Awards are $5,000 and cover travel and living expenses. Candidates must submit a well-defined project that clearly demonstrates need for on location work as well as deadlines.
The Department of State also funds many of the programs offered by the American Councils for International Exchange. The Title VIII initiative was established to earmark government monies for educational opportunities between American and Eastern European/Eurasian students and scholars, the ultimate goal being a more intelligent understanding of cultures and socio-political goals. American Councils provides a smorgasbord of educational programs that are fiercely competitive and generously funded:
- Title VIII Combined Research and Language Training Program is designed for students whose research requires they know the language of Kyrgyz or another in the Eastern European/Eurasian region. The program is structured to provide a minimal number of intensive language courses while allowing students the balance of time to focus on research projects. Funds cover travel, tuition, living and some expenses and may range from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on program and length of stay. Research must be relative to U.S.-Kyrgyzstan relations/policy or closely related.
- Title VIII Special Initiatives Fellowship Program is designed for the advanced post-doctoral scholar with an intensive term of region-specific research to conduct either over the course of a couple months or a full academic year. $35,000 is given for these very competitive fellowships.