Subhash Bhagwat Shares History of U.S. Energy Experiences in Kazakhstan
From August 15 through 31, 2013, ISGS retiree Subhash Bhagwat visited Kazakhstan as a Senior Fulbright Specialist by invitation of the United States Embassy in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The travel was jointly financed by the Embassy and the Fulbright Program. The purpose of the visit was to present a series of lectures on a broad range of energy experiences from the perspective of the United States in the decades since 1950. U.S. Ambassador Kenneth J. Fairfax graciously received Bhagwat and explained the reasons for U.S. support for the endeavor. He also provided full assistance by assigning a diplomatic vehicle and an embassy driver during the entire visit. The lectures formed the core of a Summer College program at two prominent universities in Kazakhstan: Al-Farabi National University in Almaty and Nazarbayev University in Astana. The Summer College represented the beginning of Kazakhstan’s national preparedness initiative for the EXPO 2017 to be held in Astana on the theme “Energy for the Future.” Although Kazakhstan is rich in oil reserves as well as uranium deposits, the country envisions a much larger role for alternative (“green”) energies and plans to devote 1% of its GDP to promote their development.
Bhagwat presented a series of five lectures at each university, covering topics ranging from analysis of the development of demand–supply patterns to the economic rationale for alternative energy, optimal economic ways to promote them, the pros and cons of various methods used to advance alternative forms of energy, and the role of technology transfer in spreading the use of alternative energies. At Al-Farabi National University, the audience consisted of graduate students from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Russia, as well as several faculty members. At Nazarbayev University, the audience included graduate students as well as researchers and faculty members. In addition to the Summer College lectures, meetings and discussions were held with researchers at the Kazakh Institute for Strategic Studies and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia, with the Vice Minister and Head of the Department of Green Technologies of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and with the General Director of the KazEnergy Association. Aside from the official program, Bhagwat met with Dr. Ali Abishev, Vice President of the Association of Kazakhstan Universities and President of CAMAN (the association of educational institutions in the Central-Asian region) and discussed a wide range of topics related to energy and economics.