December 13, 2022
The American University of Central Asia and the Institute of Seismology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic are together building the basis for enhanced opportunities for successful cooperation in research. The two institutions created, in 2018, a consortium with the aim to improve the seismic safety in Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries through interdisciplinary research and consulting in seismology, urbanism and sustainable development. Combining the research potential of these two well-respected institutions will improve the quality of life of our citizens through improved planning, construction, and provision of vital services of cities.
The Tien Shan mountains are characterized by high seismological activity. More than 5,000 earthquakes are registered every year, 7-9 of which are strong with a magnitude of 4.5 or more. Seismic monitoring is one of the most critical tasks in the region. The Institute of Seismology of the Kyrgyz Republic assesses the seismic risk in the area of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. The Institute’s staff is continuously working on compiling earthquake catalogs, conducting macroseismic surveys of the effects of earthquakes, and developing recommendations for reducing social, economic, and environmental damage from earthquakes.
Adequate infrastructure and comfortable working conditions are required for this research activity. Unfortunately, the current facility of the Institute of Seismology, erected in the 1980s, has hardly been repaired since it was built due to the lack of funds and has gradually fallen into disrepair. Due to obsolete communications and the lack of a heating system, the operation of the building has become challenging, especially in winter. The construction of a new, modern building for the Institute of Seismology became a strategically important matter for the region.
At the end of 2018, within the framework of consortium between AUCA and the Institute of Seismology, the American University of Central Asia received by the decision of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic a portion of the territory of the Institute of Seismology for the construction of research and educational facilities. AUCA also committed to build a new building for the Institute of Seismology. The construction project is fully funded by AUCA thanks to the support of the Open Society Foundations.
After completion of the construction, which is currently well underway, the Institute of Seismology will take possession of a modern, two-story building (with a basement), built for its intended use as a headquarters and research hub.
The President of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic Kanatbek Abdrakhmatov is enthusiastic about the cooperation with AUCA: “Cooperation with AUCA is a great opportunity for us. Over the past 30 years, not a single new building has been built for the National Academy of Sciences. Thanks to the cooperation with AUCA, we will receive a new building. In this building, in addition to our own research, we will conduct joint research projects with AUCA.”
Jonathan Becker, AUCA Acting President and Bard College Vice-President, is enthusiastic about the project: “We are thrilled to see this project moving forward. We believe it will contribute to new and outstanding research opportunities and much improved conditions for the Institute of Seismology and tremendous opportunities for future cooperation between AUCA and the National Academy of Sciences. Such cooperative activities are tremendously rewarding for both institutions and for the future of the Kyrgyz Republic.”
The cooperation between the American University of Central Asia and the Institute of Seismology will help to bring the learning and research capacity of both institutions to a higher level, and lay a solid foundation for joint interdisciplinary projects aimed at improving the quality of life in Kyrgyzstan and larger in Central Asia.
“We are delighted to be working closely with the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan on this important project,” said David Lakhdhir, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AUCA. “Not only will this provide the Seismological Institute with a new, purpose-built home, but it will facilitate opportunities for future research collaboration between the University and the Institute of Seismology in service of the needs and interests of the Kyrgyz nation.”
According to the AUCA Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Chyngyz Shamshiev, who is leading the cooperation between AUCA and the Institute of Seismology: “The staff of the Institute will be finally able to work in comfortable and decent conditions. For the first time in the history of the independent Kyrgyzstan, the National Academy of Sciences will have a brand-new building. The cooperation between AUCA and the Institute of Seismology is the very first and excellent example of an efficient not-for-profit research-oriented public-private partnership for the benefit of the Kyrgyz science and citizens.”
The construction of a new administrative building is in full swing. All floors, engineering networks, and windows blocks have already been erected. The finishing works are underway. It is planned to put the building into service in spring 2023.