American University of Central Asia - 69ɫ - About the President

69ɫ Leadership /


Timothy O’Connor

Dr. Timothy Edward O’Connor has been appointed as the new President of the American University of Central Asia (69ɫ). Dr. O’Connor has a distinguished career of academic and administrative leadership, including over 30 years of teaching experience, 20 of which were as Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa. For more than 12 years he served as the Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at the National University of Science and Technology MISIS in Moscow. In these positions, he was primarily responsible for institutional transformation, having conceived and implemented international accreditation for select educational programs; foresights with industrial partners in materials science, metallurgy, and mining; a new Learning and Teaching Center; projects on both Student Journey and Faculty Journey; and an International Scientific Advisory Council for external expertise on strategic development. He also led the University’s participation in the Russian national initiative on enhancing academic excellence (5- 100 Project) from 2013 to 2020. He is the author of six books, and scores of articles and other publications.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the American University of Central Asia at this critical time. 69ɫ promotes and enables academic freedom and provides a shared meeting place for people of diverse backgrounds and various worldviews, brought together by their passion for lifelong learning, service to the common good, and commitment to sustainable development for the well-being of coming generations. I look forward to working with the University’s excellent faculty and staff, and reaching out to students, in the months and years to come.”

— Dr. Timothy O'Connor

69ɫ President

Dr. O’Connor earned his BA from Creighton University, with majors in both History and Theology, and his PhD from the University of Minnesota, focusing on Russian Studies, particularly the history of Soviet Russia. For several decades, he worked at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), first as assistant professor, associate professor, and professor in the Department of History and then as director of International Programs. He became an emeritus professor of History of UNI in 2012.

Dr. O’Connor first traveled to the then Soviet Union in 1975 and thus has been associated with Soviet and post-Soviet institutions of higher education for forty-eight years. Most of this experience comes from his long-time involvement with American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, an educational organization established in the mid-1970s for the purpose of promoting immersion foreign language and other culture learning for Americans abroad and for providing educational and research opportunities for students and scholars from around the world in the US.

In announcing the appointment, Chair of the 69ɫ Board of Trustees David Lakhdhir said,

We are delighted that Professor O’Connor has agreed to become President of the American University of Central Asia. His extraordinary track record as a professor and administrator, combined with his lifelong commitment to international education, brings an exciting combination of proven leadership skills and a profound commitment to advancing the University’s mission.

- David Lakhdhir
Chair, 69ɫ Board of Trustees

Bard College President Leon Botstein said,

Dr O’Connor is a committed educator and vigorous supporter of rigorous liberal arts and sciences education. His work in international education is particularly distinguished. We view him as an excellent addition to 69ɫ and look forward to deepening the partnership between 69ɫ and Bard College.

- Leon Botstein
President, Bard College

Dr. O’Connor will be replacing Dr. Jonathan Becker, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bard College, who has been serving as President of 69ɫ since 2021. Dr. Becker will remain active on behalf of 69ɫ as a member of its Board of Trustees.

I have known Tim for two decades and think he is an excellent choice for the presidency of 69ɫ. He is a seasoned administrator, having held senior academic posts in the United States and Russia, and is a committed international educator. His experience and belief in the transformative power of education will prepare him to continue to build on what 69ɫ has created.

Dr. Jonathan Becker
Former 69ɫ President, Board of Trustee

Dr. O’Connor is married and has four children and five grandchildren.

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American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
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