Project Update #14: Graduating the First Student with a Minor in Gender Studies


Project Update #14: Graduating the First Student with a Minor in Gender Studies 


August 1, 2018

Part of: World Bank & Sexual Violence Research Initiative Project: ‘Combatting Sexual Violence in Kyrgyzstan through Innovative Education and Information Technology (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia)’

Dr Elena Kim, Dr Elena Molchanova, Aigerim Bakubatova, and Dr Frank G. Karioris



In September 2017, the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) established the first academic program in Gender Studies in Central Asia. This momentous step was nearly a year in the works, with AUCA students requesting the program from the President. The President, Dr Wachtel, contacted Dr Frank G. Karioris who speared the process. After analysis and assessment, Dr Karioris worked to get the program passed through the proper channels and get it approved.


With the program established, courses in the program begin being offered, including the co-taught course ‘Gender, Ethics, and the Politics of Violence’offered by Dr Elena Molchanova, Dr Elena Kim, and Dr Frank G. Karioris. One of the students in this class was Dursun Rejepova. She was a Senior student in International and Comparative Politics and had taken previous classes related to gender. It quickly became clear that she was interested in gender and in taking more courses on this topic.


Dursun approached the team with the desire to pursue the Minor in Gender Studies. Working with Dr Karioris, they looked at the requirements and the schedule and what courses were needed to complete the Minor. Though it was a challenge as a Senior student to fit all the required classes, with some quick thinking they were able to ensure that she would be able to be able to fulfill her goal.


Throughout the academic year 2017-2018 – and especially Spring 2018 – Dursun took a range of classes on gender topics, including an Independent Study course with Dursun ‘Special Topics in Gender Studies’. As part of this, she also worked as part of the Research Team looking at gender issues, working with the team of Master’s students.


In June 2018, the Center and its team were proud to award the first Minor in Gender Studies to Dursun. We are thrilled to have her as our first graduate, and are proud that the program has graduated its first student in its first year in existence. Dursun represents both the reason for the program, as well as what the program is capable of. We can’t wait to see what Dursun does next, and send all of our warmest wishes with her as she moves forward.


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