Dr Flynn at Kyrgyz parlimentAssociate Professor Patrice Flynn, Ph.D. worked in the Kyrgyz Republic in central Asia this summer as part of a team examining ways to strengthen the developing nation's private, nonprofit sector.

Dr. Flynn's trip was in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The team created a new five-year program to help strengthen the country's civil society, as well as its economy.

A key component of the program features collaboration with a consortium of Kyrgyz universities and the Ministry of Education to: (a) develop standards for civil society and nonprofit management programs, (b) establish new courses, and (c) enhance academic capabilities and resources for effective delivery at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Another component of the initiative entails working with the Kyrgyz National Statistical Committee to estimate civil society labor demand.

Nestled between China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic is a beautiful country with rugged snowcapped mountains, lush fertile valleys, and glacial-fed rivers and lakes. Most of the country was annexed to Russia in 1876 and later the Soviet Union in 1936 until independence in 1991. The small nation of 5.5 million people-33.7% of whom live in poverty-boasts a literacy rate of 98.7% and 55 public and private universities.

Kyrgyzstan's human capital and natural resources are attracting massive inflows of foreign direct investment. Hence, the Kyrgyz people's desire to develop a healthy collaboration between the three sectors of the economy: business, government, and civil society through this new initiative.