Students of Dr. William Potter’s popular Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty simulation course were treated to a unique opportunity this week to have an intimate discussion with Dr. Rosa Otunbayeva, the former president of the Kyrgyz Republic who led the first peaceful transition from an authoritarian to a parliamentary democracy in Central Asia. She also gave a public lecture titled “Obstacles to and Opportunities for Modernization in Central Asia” in the Institute’s Irvine Auditorium and answered questions from the audience, including students of the MIIS Russian Studies program.
Dr. Otunbayeva shared with Monterey Institute students her significant experience from serving as president from July 2010 through December 2011, and previously as leader of the opposition. Before her election to the Kyrgyz Parliament in 2007, she had a very impressive diplomatic career in the Soviet Foreign Service and working as the president of the Soviet National Commission of UNESCO. During 2002-2004 she was deputy head of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on a peacekeeping mission to Georgia, before returning to Kyrgyzstan to take an active role in democratic changes at home. She currently heads the “Initiative of Roza Otunbayeva” International Foundation.