The Kyrgyz Republic, sometimes called the "Switzerland of Asia," is one of five independent states in Central Asia. Its citizens have worked to build an open and democratic society, exemplified by a peaceful transfer of power between presidents in December 2011 and October 2017. A country slightly smaller than South Dakota, the Kyrgyz Republic shares common borders with China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is known for its unique felt crafts, traditional oral legends and rich natural history consisting of mountainous regions, the world’s largest natural-growth walnut forest, as well as a number of endangered species, including the snow leopard and Marco Polo sheep. The Kyrgyz Republic hosted the Third World Nomad Games in 2018, a celebration of nomadic heritage that gathers artists, athletes and visitors from around the world to compete in traditional nomadic games such as horse wrestling, kok boru (dead goat polo), and horseback archery.
There are 54 higher education institutes in the Kyrgyz Republic: 33 public and 21 private institutions. Private higher education institutions have increased their role and students' enrollment is increasing due to the better quality education offered. Universities are increasingly interested in Fulbright Scholars with a preference to teach, though Universities offer many research opportunities for scholars interested in Central Asian studies, particularly elements of traditional Kyrgyz culture, including literature, music, history, Kyrgyz and Russian linguistic studies and post-Soviet politics. Universities in Bishkek and the southern city of Osh express preference for Scholars focused on Engineering and Robotics; Computer Science and Information Technology; Instructional Design; Agricultural and Food Security; Geology and Environmental Science. Likewise, Scholars will find their teaching skills in high demand at universities in the following disciplines: Film, Creative Writing, Journalism, and Education. With the small but burgeoning tech industry in the Kyrgyz Republic, university leadership has turned their focus to STEM fields. The mountainous landscape of Kyrgyzstan provides an exceptional platform for research and collaboration with Kyrgyz scholars and institutions. Scholars in Business Administration and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will find themselves in the Kyrgyz Republic during a unique moment in their shift to internationalization of universities and seeking more international collaborations to strengthen their entrepreneurial and scientific work.