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Aida Aidarkulova

Executive Director

Aida Aidarkulova holds a PhD in Public International Law. Her research interests include human rights, reproductive human rights, and the law of armed conflict. She has more than 12 years of professional experience in civil society sector in Kazakhstan. In 2006-2009 Aida has worked as an expert at the Institute for Law Monitoring, Expertise, and Analyses in Astana. In this capacity, she was involved to the legal expertise of the different draft laws initiated by the Government of Kazakhstan including the Medical Code, Ecological Code, Administrative Offences Code, legislation on the youth participation, and etc. Aida joined to Soros Foundation Kazakhstan in 2009 as a Director of Law Reform Program, and she was responsible for different projects focused on the rule of law, strengthening the bar, access to justice, access to information, human rights, and civil society development.

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Nargiz Kasenova


Nargis Kassenova is Senior Fellow and director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Harvard University) and Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies of KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). She is the former founder and director of the KIMEP Central Asian Studies Center (CASC) and the China and Central Asia Studies Center (CCASC). Dr. Kassenova holds a PhD in International Cooperation Studies from the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University (Japan). Her research focuses on Central Asian politics and security, Eurasian geopolitics, China’s Belt and Road Initiative and governance in Central Asia, and history of state-making in Central Asia. Dr. Kassenova is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Europe and Central Asia Division, the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, the Advisory Group of the EU Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) program, and the Academic Council of the European Neighbourhood Council (ENC). She is on the editorial boards of Central Asian Survey, Central Asian Affairs, REGION: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia Journal and Asia Policy Journal. 

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Anna Zhvanko


Graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Sociology of Kazakh State University named after Al-Farabi, majoring in International Economic Relations in 2000.

In 2000 – 2014 worked for several large private commercial organizations, in 2015-2020 for the British Council Kazakhstan.

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Aizada Bakirlanova

Office Manager

Aizada Bakirlanova is a graduate of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, faculty of international relations, PhD student of the program “Conflictology”. She studied academic mobility at the Institute of Political Studies Rennes (Rennes, France), interned at the University of Lille 2 (Lille, France). She worked in the field of higher education for more than 10 years and was involved in scientific projects in the field of political research in the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

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Damir Islamgulov


In 2008, graduated from the Faculty of Radio Engineering and Communications of the Almaty Institute of Energy and Communications, majoring in communications networks and switching systems engineer.