Mahabat Baimyrzaeva
Casa Fuente Building 443D
(831) 647-4134

Dr. Baimyrzaeva’s focus areas include organizational learning, capacity building, change, and strategic planning using socially innovative and design thinking approaches. In her work Dr. Baimyrzaeva aims to integrate insights from multiple disciplines, including organizational management, cognitive/behavioral sciences, public policy and administration, international law and development. She has designed and taught more than 40 courses on diverse subjects in the context of international development and policy, including organizational leadership/management, social innovations, nation building, policy analysis, and applied research methods and design. 

In addition to teaching, she regularly mentors students during their consultancies with influential local, national, and international organizations. She also authored many peer-reviewed publications about public management reforms. She also regularly delivers presentations, workshops, and trainings in policy analysis, applied research methods, strategic leadership, governance reforms, and culture change to government and nonprofit professionals in Central Asia and in the US

Prior to coming to the Institute Dr. Baimyrzaeva worked at various government, nonprofit, academic, and international organizations, including in the capacity of a civil society expert at National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and director of the Bureau of Legal and Social Assistance for Refugees in Kyrgyzstan. She is fluent in English, Russian, and Kyrgyz; speaks basic Turkish, and has basic familiarity with other Turkic languages.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Organizational Development and Leadership

This course offers you a meaningful learning opportunity to understand what it takes for organizations - a group of people with a shared goal – to work together and get things done. This presupposes a good understanding of human motivation and drivers of behavior and how to problem solve and make decisions in complex situations. These also happen to be the highest ranked among the 21stcentury skills. To learn about how organizations operate and how to lead them effectively, we will use readings, exercises, and case studies among other learning methods. In addition, you will engage in analysis, diagnosis, and problem-solving exercises focusing on one organization of your choice.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Second Half of Term, Spring 2021 - MIIS, Fall 2021 - MIIS

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Course Description

Do you have a real life project in mind you would want to tackle using a faculty mentor’s help? Do you want to build and/or strengthen your skills and knowledge, ideally by working on a consulting project for an organization of your choice? If yes, the Capstone course is for you. In this course you will be in the driver’s seat working on your project, while the faculty will coach you and provide practical skills and tools to help you effectively articulate, design, and implement your project, and communicate your findings to your client. In addition to individualized feedback sessions, faculty will also guide you to right resources for additional relevant skill and knowledge building.

Please check the prereqs:

- Only open for DPP students in 3rd or 4th semesters who are using the course to fulfill their Practicum requirement.

- Students who are planning to enroll in FMS, DPMI+ or IPSS should not enroll in this course. Contact the instructor if requesting exceptions.

- Students may undertake projects individually or in teams (maximum 3 per team), but team justification must be compelling

Terms Taught

Spring 2020 - MIIS, Fall 2020 - MIIS, Spring 2021 - MIIS, Fall 2021 - MIIS

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Course Description

COVID-19 Cross-Disciplinary Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis that has unleashed a vast amount of changes in all aspects of policy, and disrupted industries, organizations, and individuals in previously unimaginable ways. Leaders are tasked with making complex decisions, and societal inequities have intensified differential consequences for individuals and groups around the world. Navigating through implications of a global challenge of this scope is best suited to interdisciplinary perspectives, approaches, and actions. In this online course, students will analyze the current situation from multiple perspectives, engage with others across disciplines, and have the opportunity to mobilize their disciplinary knowledge and skills to address this particular global challenge. MIIS faculty and students can play a pivotal role in addressing these issues through praxis, moving from theory to reflection + action. In this course, students will engage with experts from multiple disciplines to examine how COVID-19 has impacted the economy, environment, education, public health, and much more. Students will critically evaluate the roles that complexity, systemic interactions, and individual perceptions and understandings play in shaping local, regional, and global responses to the pandemic across disciplines with an eye towards social justice and change. The course will provide students with tools to engage with a range of diverse audiences, to address complex problems, and to communicate their findings professionally as preparation for their future careers in a changing world.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020 - MIIS

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Course Description

Leadership and Org. Innovations (MPA gateway management course requirement)

Public, community, and nonprofit organizations are perceived to be lagging behind for-profit enterprises in innovativeness. Meanwhile, social challenges they are expected to tackle are increasing in scale and complexity, challenging their traditional ways of getting things done. To remain relevant and effective, pioneering organizations from various sectors, industries, and countries have been innovating with promising outcomes. This course intends to help students learn examples of such innovations and their methods. While the course predominantly focuses on organizational level (since organizations are a medium through which we get most things done), this course equally applies to individual, institutional, and policy levels. Moreover, the course can help you jumpstart your leadership training by providing knowledge as well as practical analytical and decision making tools and skills applicable in wide range of problem solving.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Areas of Interest

I am fascinated by how we learn – especially by how each of us filters and perceives information differently depending on our pre-existing ideas and assumptions. They color what we see and how we interpret the world. That is why instead of just introducing new content, I first try to help the learners – be they my students or clients – to uncover their deeply-seated ideas and assumptions, subject them to critical review, and, when necessary and possible, replace them with a more accurate view of reality. I encourage such deeper learning though uniquely designed sessions that help them actively reflect on their thought patterns and experiences.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development
  • MA in Public Administration & International Management Graduate Certificate, University of Hawaii College of Business Administration
  • BA in International Law, International University of Kyrgyzstan

Professor Baimyrzaeva has been teaching at the Institute since 2007.



  • “The Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Improving Citizen Participation in Governance,” International Journal of Public Administration, 2014, volume 15, issue 2, pp. 77-90
  • “Policy Analysis as a Profession in Government: Who Does What and How?” Occasional Paper No 2, November 2013, University of Central Asia (in English and Russian)
  • Institutional Reforms in the Public Sector: What did we Learn, published in 2012 by Emerald Publishing.
  • “Kyrgyzstan’s Public Sector Reforms: 1991 – 2010,” International Journal of Public Administration, 2011, volume 34, issue 9, pp. 555-566
  • “Analysis of Public Administration Reforms in Kyrgyzstan in Light of Its Recent Governance Crises,” International Public Management Review, 2011, Volume 12, issue 1. pp. 22-46
  • “Corruption and Legitimacy Problems in Post-Communist States” (a book review), Public Administration Review, 2007, May/June, pp. 592-594
  • “Institutional Reforms in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asian Studies Review, 2005, volume 4, issue 1, pp. 29-35

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