Central Asia: culture and community in teaching and learning

Central Asia: culture and community in teaching and learning

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 - 5:00pm
Dr Andrew Cunningham, Aga Khan Foundation
Education, Purpose and Human Flourishing in Uncertain Times

This seminar is part of the Education, Purpose and Human Flourishing in Uncertain Times research programme.

Theme 3: History and Politics

This series explores how we might better understand the ‘idea’ or indeed the ideal of flourishing, and the importance of education as a pathway to it. Previously, we first examined a variety of important concepts concerning personhood and society as it relates to flourishing, such as character and virtue, and asked whether flourishing lies in the development of these. In the second seminar series, we turned our attention to other notions interdependently related to flourishing, specifically the notions of culture and context. We asked whether and how the development of mind and socio-emotional qualities such as character, virtue, open-mindedness, resilience, and actualisation are differently, but no less meaningfully, shaped by history and culture across world contexts. In this third series, we are turning to the impact of history and politics on pathways and understandings of human flourishing. We ask to what extent we should consider enabling and disabling historical factors in national and international contexts, and point towards examples of collective endeavour and struggle in response to adversity.

These seminars are open to the public and can be joined in person, or virtually on the following MS Teams link: Click here to join the meeting.

Recordings of past seminars can be found at this link.


Schools 2030 is a ten-year participatory learning programme based in 1,000 government schools across ten countries. Andy’s paper examines the role of culture and community in teaching and learning, and the impact of history and politics on education systems in Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. It also examines the potential for participatory learning across countries with complex histories and cultures to become a pathway to human flourishing in education.


Dr Andrew (Andy) Cunningham is the Global Lead for Education at the Aga Khan Foundation, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, based at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Andy co-leads AKF's global education portfolio, working in partnership with governments, academia, philanthropy, school practitioners, civil society and the private sector to co-develop and scale innovations in education that strengthen the public provision of quality, lifelong learning across Africa, Asia and Europe. AKF works to transform education systems by increasing educational access, quality, and equity through innovation and catalytic partnerships for scale. Before joining AKF, Andy worked for UNICEF, the World Bank, World Learning, and the Education Above All Foundation, amongst others. 

Cunningham graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a double major in International Comparative Studies and Chinese and received a Masters in Comparative International Education at Oxford University with distinction. He earned his Doctorate degree from Oxford University in International Education, understanding local Kenyan realities of effective school leadership strategies for school improvement through mobile and cloud-based technologies.