Mr. Shigeo Katsu is President of Nazarbayev University, a position he has held since December 2010. He also holds such positions as Chairman of the Board of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, Board member of Nazarbayev Fund and Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Heartland Jýsan Bank JSC. Prior to Nazarbayev University, over the course of a 30-year career at the World Bank, Mr. Shigeo Katsu held various positions including leading financial sector reform support for China, Director for Cote d’Ivoire, and Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. After his retirement from the World Bank, he served for a few years on the US board of a youth-oriented international development NGO. Between 2011 and 2015 he was an Advisory Panel member of the ASEAN+3 Macro-Economic Research Office (AMRO). In addition to his responsibilities at the university he is a member of the National Commission on the Modernization of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and serves as advisor to international and bilateral development institutions. In 2010/2011 he authored a chapter of “Asia, 2050: Realizing the Asian Century” by the Asian Development Bank, in 2014 he served as an editor for the book “Kazakhstan 2050 – Towards a Modern Society for All” (2014), and in 2015/16 was involved in the book “Central Asia 2050 – Unleashing the Region’s Potential”.
Ilesanmi ADESIDA | Provost
Professor Ilesanmi Adesida is a successful scientist and administrator in both scientific and educational circles. Prior to his appointment at Nazarbayev University, Professor Adesida served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).He received his Bachelor of Science in 1974, Master of Science in 1975, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1979 (University of California, Berkeley). From 1979 to 1984, he served as a visiting researcher and assistant professor at Cornell University. Subsequently, he was Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Tafawa Balewa in Nigeria from 1985 to 1987. He joined the ranks of the University of Illinois faculty in 1987, where he was a professor of Engineering Sciences, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as special advisor on International Programs. He served as the Director of the Laboratory of Micro- and Nanotechnology from 2000 to 2005, as well as the Director of the Center for Nanoscale Sciences and Technologies from 2001 to 2012. In addition, during those years, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He also nurtured a number of national and international partnerships in the field of education, research, and innovation entrepreneurship. Professor Adesida has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles and has made more than 250 presentations at international conferences. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Vacuum Society, Optical Society of America and the Materials Research Society. He was awarded the Oakley Kunde Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. He was also named an Outstanding Graduate of the Department of EECS, University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the IEEE EDS for Special Merits in 2011. In 2016 he won the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Functional Materials John Bardeen Award. Professor Adesida was also a member of the Board of ASEE Engineering Deans and acted as Chairman of its Public Policy Committee from 2009 to 2011. Professor Adesida was Chairman of the session of the 5th Global University Summit held in Chicago in 2012, which was attended by the presidents and chancellors of some the largest international universities to discuss Developing Talent to Drive Innovation in a Global Society. He has served as Chairman of the NSF Engineering Advisory Board, an NSF Waterman Award Committee member, and worked for Committee on Institutional Cooperation and Provost Committees. He has also worked in a number of committees of the United States’ National Academies and is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering of the United States.
Argin KIPSHAKOV | Executive Vice President
Argin Kipshakov graduated from Moscow Machine Tool Institute majoring in “Automation of Technological Processes and Production” and from the Institute of Market at Kazakh State Academy of Management majoring in “Finance and Credit”. Since 1994, he has worked for the tax authorities. From 2008 to 2014, he held the position Deputy Chairman of the Tax Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, from 2015 to 2018 – Deputy Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He worked on the Tax Administration Reform Project, where the business processes of the tax authorities we redesigned and reformed in consultation with the World Bank. Moreover, under the Project “Modernization of Kazakhstan 3.0”, he led the project “Improved Tax Collection” aimed at introducing new initiatives to digitize tax and customs administration.
Kadisha DAIROVA | Vice-President for Student Affairs and International Cooperation
Mrs. Dairova graduated from Almaty State Teachers’ Institute of Foreign Languages, with a specialty in “English Language”. She holds a degree of Candidate of Philological Sciences from Moscow Teachers’ Institute of Foreign Languages. Earlier, she worked as the Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA; and the Second Secretary of the Department of American, and European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Mrs. Dairova was an Associate Professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Kazakh State University, and a founder and president of the publicly funded “Linguistic Center” for the development of languages in Almaty. From 1998 to 2005, Mrs.
Dairova was a representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA, and Advisor of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan on humanitarian issues of bilateral cooperation. Her priority responsibility was administration of the “Bolashak” Presidential Program of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the USA and Canada.In addition, Mrs. Dairova was also President of the Center for International Programs JSC, Vice-Rector for Development of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP); and Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
Yerden KUSSAIN | Vice President for Innovation
Mr Yerden Kussain joined Nazarbayev University in 2009 and held positions of a General Counsel, Executive Vice President until his appointment in 2018 as the Vice President for Innovation. Before joining Nazarbayev University he worked at Prime-Minister’s Office of Kazakhstan, Administration of the President of Kazakhstan, and local law firms in Kazakhstan. Yerden received his law degree from Kazakh State Law Academy in 2001, his LL.M. from Duke University School of Law in 2004, MSc in Public Policy from London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009. He is a board member of University Medical Center and ABC-I2BF Seed Fund.
Roza NURGOZHAYEVA | Vice President – General Counsel
Prior to her appointment as General Counsel, Dr. Roza Nurgozhayeva served as the Head of the Office for coordination of international contracts at Nazarbayev University. Before joining Nazarbayev University in 2014, Dr. Nurgozhayeva practiced law for more than 7 years as an in-house counsel of a commercial bank, the member of an international financial group, where she provided in-house support for bank operations, major acquisitions, securities’ issuance, and litigation. She completed her bachelor degrees in law (cum laude) and economics in Kazakhstan and LL.M. at Cornell Law School. She has a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degree from Cornell University.
Massimo Pignatelli | Vice President for Medicine – Dean of School of Medicine
Dr. Massimo Pignatelli, MD, Ph.D., a distinguished pathologist and biomedical scientist, prior to his appointment held the position of the Dean of Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM), which was formally established in January 2014. Before coming to NUSOM in November 2013, Dr. Pignatelli was at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine, where he served as international lead in the College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences and head of the School of Medicine, which includes the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing and Health Care. He also held the St. Mungo-Notman Chair as head of pathology. Dr. Pignatelli joined the University of Glasgow in 2011 following an academic career at Imperial College, London as senior lecturer/reader in pathology and at the University of Bristol, where he was professor of histopathology and head of clinical sciences. Dr. Pignatelli earned his MD summa cum laude from the University of Bologna, Italy, and his PhD from University College, London. He is a noted and well-published physician-scientist whose research focuses on epithelial adhesion molecules and particularly on their exploitation as biomarkers for tissue diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment.
Dr. Loretta O’Donnell was appointed in 2013 as the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. She also served as Interim Provost in 2016. As the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. O’Donnell coordinates with Deans to develop international quality academic systems for educational programs. She liaises with Nazarbayev University strategic partners, including Duke, National University of Singapore and University of Wisconsin-Madison to implement the academic mission of the University and to share NU experiences with local and regional universities. Dr. O’Donnell is the co-founder and co-chair of the NU/KAZGUU Annual International Academic Integrity Conference. She presents on Eurasian higher education themes at international conferences including: ASEF (Asian European Foundation) Rectors’ Conference; Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum; Times Higher Education Asian Universities Summit and University Alliance of the Silk Road and the NU Annual Gender Forum. She has over twenty years of experience in teaching Executive MBA, postgraduate and undergraduate business students in the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales (UNSW) located in Sydney, Australia. As an elected faculty member of the UNSW Academic Board, and as Associate Dean Education, she combined academic policy development and implementation with her teaching, learning and research interests. She was Program Director for the UNSW AGSM Graduate Certificate in Change Management and for the Masters of Commerce program. Dr. O’Donnell has won awards for her teaching and for research on human capital analysis in financial markets. Previously, she consulted in organizational change for a large global firm in Sydney and Chicago, and in a boutique firm specializing in developing management systems to sustain change. Her academic qualifications include PhD in Management (Macquarie Graduate School of Management); MBA (AGSM, UNSW), Graduate Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (N’cle).
Vassilios TOURASSIS | Vice Provost for Industry Engagement and Dean of the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences
Professor Tourassis is an international higher education administrator and transformational leader with diverse experience in multi-cultural environments, in building academic programs and in enabling organizations to transition to the next level.
He has been with Nazarbayev University, serving continuously in various capacities, since 2012. He has been awarded a Presidential Letter of Gratitude from the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan for “personal contributions to the development of higher education” in the country.
His international career spans a range of institutions and roles. He was previously a Research Fellow at Carnegie-Mellon’s Robotics Institute, a tenured Professor at the University of Rochester in New York and the Vice Rector for Finance, Research and Development at Democritus University in Greece. He holds an MSc and a PhD degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.
Professor Tourassis has served in the past as an invited expert of the Council of Europe and of the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Education Hub; as a Governing Board Member of the OECD Program on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE); and as a Senior Program Evaluator for the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency. He currently serves as the only foreign Governing Board Member of the national Science Fund of Kazakhstan.
Chester JABLONSKI | Associate Provost for Graduate Studies
Dr. Chester Jablonski is an experienced academic administrator in graduate education. He was appointed as Dean of Graduate Studies at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland Canada in 1997, Dean of Graduate Studies at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates in 2008 and Associate Provost Graduate Studies at Nazarbayev University in 2018. He has chaired the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Postgraduate Scholarship Committee for Physical Sciences, served on the executive of the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) and is professionally recognized as a fellow of the Canadian Chemistry Society for his research in transition metal chiral catalysis. As Nazarbayev University Associate Provost of Graduate Studies Dr. Jablonski oversees academic and administrative support for all NU masters and doctoral students as well as post-doctoral scholars.
Chris HANDLEY | Chief Information Officer
Chris Handley is the first Chief Information Officer of Nazarbayev University, a position he has held since October 2018. Chris is leading the digital transformation at the University by developing an IT Strategy that supports NU’s strategic goals and objectives, and also selecting an enabling technology platform for NU. Prior to joining Nazarbayev University, Chris was the first CIO at Aga Khan University and Hospitals managing IT in 6 countries across Asia, Africa and the UK for seven years. Included in his experience are IT leadership positions either both in full time or interim roles at the University of Toronto, Stanford University, the Hewlett Foundation, Washington State Community and Technical College System, Best Doctors Inc., and as a high level consultant for Coopers and Lybrand, PriceWaterhousecoopers, Information Methodologies, and the Exeter Group. As a volunteer Chris was a Board member of Women’s College Hospital for 10 years resigning as Vice-Chair and Academics Without Borders Canada for 10 years.