Mahabat Baimyrzaeva

Assistant Professor

What is it that you are most passionate about?

I am passionate about bringing the best in my students and help them realize their potential.   I am also very curious how institutions – rules and their enforcement mechanisms that mediate relationships in society, organizations, and families – change, so that we can design institutions that are more conducive for more fulfilling lives.    

What do you enjoy most about being a professor at MIIS?

I feel privileged to work with the many exceptional MIIS students who are pragmatic idealists - bright and courageous young people who understand the daunting challenges in building a better future globally, and yet remain optimistic and driven to make a positive contribution.  These students inspire me to try harder and do my best to facilitate their learning and development.


Institution Building/Development, Institutional Change and Theory, Nation/State Building, Governance, Public Sector Reform, Administrative Reform, Corruption, Capacity Building/Development, Organizational Management and Development, Culture Analysis and Change, Policy Analysis, International and Global Policy, Applied Research Methods , Democratic Transition, Civic Engagement Innovative Teaching and Learning Methods, Regional expertise: Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Post-Soviet Countries.

Recent Accomplishments

In 2012 published a single authored book “Institutional Reforms in Public Sector: What Did We Learn?”

This book is concerned with recurring failures in public sector institutional reforms promoted by international development agencies.  It answers the following pressing questions in international development theory and practice: What does it take to design effective government institutions and sustain positive changes?  What have we learned about the attempts to deliberately design and redesign public sector institutions in different countries?  What works and what doesn't, and why?  What happens when reforms fail?  This book pushes the boundaries of existing theories on institutional change and draws insights for researchers and practitioners of institutional reforms by synthesizing lessons from past experiences and findings from multiple disciplines.   

In 2012, Professor Baimyrzaeva designed and delivered Strategic Planning in the Context of Counter Terrorism Efforts an intensive half day session as part of the training “ Strategic Level Small Craft Combating Terrorism”, organized by Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) for participants from anti-terrorism units from 14 different countries around the world in Stennis, Mississippi.   

In 2011 and 2012, Professor Baimyrzaeva designed and delivered intensive trainings on policy analysis (in Russian) for government policy analysts and civil society representatives from various Central Asian states, by invitation from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. 

In spring 2011, Professor Baimyrzaeva coordinated the colloquium on Nation Building Colloquium which brought together leading experts specializing in various dimensions of nation building to weekly evening talks and social events with students.

Previous Work

Prior to joining the Monterey Institute, Mahabat held various positions in local and international organizations in Kyrgyzstan working on development, humanitarian assistance, and institutional capacity building, and also worked as a teaching associate at the University of Southern California. 


PhD, Public Administration from University of Southern California (USC);

Masters in Public Administration, University of Hawaii

Diploma, International law from International University of Kyrgyzstan

Recent Publications

Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat, (2012), Institutional Reforms in Public Sector: What Did We Learn?  Emerald Publishing.

Baimyrzaeva Mahabat, (2011).  Kyrgyzstan’s Public Sector Reforms: 1991 – 2010. International Journal of Public Administration, volume 34, issue 9, pp. 555-566

Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat, (2011).  Analysis of Public Administration Reforms in Kyrgyzstan in Light of Its Recent Governance Crises. International Public Management Review. Volume 12, issue 1. pp. 22-46.

Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat. (2011).  Book review, Public Administration in Southeast Asia: Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Macao by Evan Berman (ed.).  Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 12(2), pp. 209-211, June. 

Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat. (2007). Corruption and Legitimacy Problems in Post-Communist States (book review).  Public Administration Review, May/June, pp. 592-594.

Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat. (2005).  Institutional Reforms in Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Studies Review, volume 4, issue 1, pp. 29-35.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

IPOL 8508 - Power,SocialChange&Organizatns      

This case-based course will look at structural social change and the odd bedfellows, unlikely coalitions, and quirky collaborations that such change requires. The course will focus on macro social change – national-level improvements in the lives of excluded, marginalized, and endemically impoverished groups – and identify the factors that make such change possible. Included in the course will be long looks at Rwanda, Mali, China, Costa Rica, Botswana, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Mozambique. Students will acquire strategic thinking tools that promote and foster unusual and innovative partnerships to address knotty and complex social problem. Students will also learn and then improve upon a structured methodology to analyze and identify leverage points for change in complex adaptive systems. Behind these tools will be a persistent ostinato that challenges student’s ideas of what power is, how it works, and what it means, connecting power to culture in ways often ignored – or at least marginalized – by high-level development decision makers.

Fall 2011 - MIIS

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IPOL 8519 - Managing Public Organizations      

This course introduces students to different aspects of public organizations and key management concepts, ideas, tools, practices, and functions. Management here is broadly defined as a field of practice concerned with running organizations and implementing policies, programs, and projects.

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8537 - Applied Rsrch Methods & Tools      

This two-credit course will be offered over two weekends in Spring 2011 semester. The course intends to help students learn to designing and implement applied research projects using most popular tools of data collection and analysis. Applied research is used to clarify and confront actual policy, programmatic, and organizational problems, whereas scientific research aims to advance universal knowledge. The first part of the course will focus on research designs, specifically on case studies using mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methods. The second part will focus on data collection tools. The participants will learn to design and conduct different forms of interviews, surveys, and focus groups. For the final deliverable students will design and implement an applied research project using a combination of at least two data collection tools.

Spring 2011 - MIIS

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IPOL 8593 - GP&S Colloquium:EmergngMarkets      

In the past two decades, emerging economies—including, but not limited to, the celebrated “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). This course will take on, and contribute to, debates surrounding these emerging markets. How have they become the darlings of international capital markets, regional economic and political leaders, and the brightest lights in a gloomy global economic landscape? Along with this rapid economic growth, these same countries are also experiencing dramatic social changes, environmental problems, political transitions and foreign policy frictions. How can these growing pains be effectively managed?

Today’s global challenges often require global solutions and a small number of developed countries ( such as G8) can no longer effectively coordinate policy solution to address global crises, including economic recession, financial crisis, and climate change negotiations. As such, the G20, including a number of the emerging economies in its membership, has risen to prominence as a new forum for global governance. The experiences of these countries also offer an opportunity to think about larger questions of global order and national development. What constitutes power in the global political economy and how is it/should it be/is it beginning to be (re)distributed? How can state and market work together to generate equitable and participatory growth? How should the BRICS and other emerging economies be factored into the 21st century’s policy challenges, such as climate change or reworking international financial institutions after the recent economic crisis? What do the experiences of the emerging markets mean for the many people who still lack access to the fruits of such growth--- including over a billion citizens of these countries themselves?

Spring 2011 - MIIS

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IPSS 8520 - IPSS Professional Training      

The IPSS pre-departure training, consisting of six modules taught by select faculty, intends to help students refresh and/or obtain basic new knowledge and skills essential for successful professional service and future careers. These modules intend to provide a foundation – key skills, points, tools, and guiding resources – which students can use and build on in the future. The modules will use an interactive learning environment covering topics from facilitation, organizational context analysis, and applied research design to Excel essentials and communication and new media skills. A pass/fail grade will be assigned by the IPSS academic coordinator based on students’ attendance and performance in these modules.

Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS

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IPSS 8670 - High-ValueOrgCnsltingFieldWrk      

Students who take IPSS 8530A workshop may submit deliverables in the first month of their internship for one additional credit. These deliverables will help students apply the tools they have learned in the IPSS 8530 workshop to better understand their host organizations.

Spring 2014 - MIIS

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IPSS 8675 - IPSS Field Deliverables      

During their IPSS internships students complete applied academic deliverables for which they earn six academic credits. The academic credit is not awarded for the internship itself, but for the work that applies students’ academic training to contribute to their host organizations’ mission in area of student’s career interest. The letter grades will be assigned based on the assessment of the following four deliverables:

IPSS Field Project: By the end of their internships students must have completed an ambitious project or other relatively autonomous contribution that presents value for the host organization and builds on students’ strengths and advances his/her skills and knowledge. The field project can take the form of a policy or consultancy report, evaluation, analysis, a website, or other substantive contribution to their host organization that integrates high quality research, analysis, and other skills and subject-matter knowledge. Faculty with relevant expertise and assigned peers will provide every student regular feedback on the major steps of the field project. Student’s regular internship responsibilities ideally should overlap with, but are not limited to the core field assignment. The organizations receiving interns are encouraged to help students identify such assignments prior to their arrival or at the very latest within one month after the start of student’s internship. The organization should provide assistance and guidance in completing this assignment.

Presentation: In the final part of the internship students will present on their field project to their colleagues at their host organizations. The video recording of that presentation will be then reviewed by the MIIS faculty who will invite students for Q&A and also provide additional feedback to students to improve the quality of their final deliverable(s).

Peer feedback: Interns will collaborate with their assigned peers by providing mutual peer feedback on their core field assignments to improve the quality of their work and learn from each other.

Final reflection: Interns will submit a final reflection to IPSS faculty and staff near the end of their internship- summarizing their most important insights and lessons they obtained from the internship experience for their professional and academic development.

Optional: Students are also highly encouraged to blog about their reflections on their internship experiences and comment on each others’ blogs throughout the internship assignment to maximize their learning.

Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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MPAG 8519 - Managing Public Organizations      

This course introduces students to different aspects of public organizations and key management concepts, ideas, tools, practices, and functions. Management here is broadly defined as a field of practice concerned with running organizations and implementing policies, programs, and projects.

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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MPAG 8527 / IPOL 8527 - Public Policy & Social Change      

This class will prepare students to do policy analysis. Students will acquire skills and knowledge essential for engaging in policy development and change and for conducting applied policy research. The course uses a case-based approach to explore the complexities of policy systems, processes, and outcomes.

Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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MPAG 8573 - PublicSector&SocialInnovation      

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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MPAG 8605 / IPOL 8605 - Capstone:Rsch&Writing Proj-PA      

The capstone experience is a culminating learning opportunity for students in MPA program. The capstone requirement has two main objectives. First, it enables students to demonstrate, integrate, reflect on, apply, and deepen their knowledge and skills (such as those related to policy analysis, management, research methods, data analysis, communication, etc.) acquired in the MPA program to diagnose and solve actual problems in public and nonprofit organizations. In this course students will have opportunity to link theory with practice; deepen their knowledge and advance the skills applicable to their professional career objectives; apply relevant frameworks, skills, and other tools to gain better understanding of problems and needs of public and nonprofit organizations; and generate comprehensive, innovative, well-informed and thought-out solutions.

Second, this experience is designed to help students prepare for specific career paths they wish to pursue upon graduation. Ideally, capstone should serve as a stepping stone for the job a student wants to get upon graduation. Therefore for their capstone projects students are encouraged to select and explore the pressing themes, issues and problems concerning the organization/field they want to work with in the future. For example, students can do a thorough analysis of an emerging policy problem, do an organizational assessment, or evaluate programs or projects of the entities they are interested in working with. Students are encouraged to select capstone projects that build on their comparative advantage and/or their previous professional experiences and incorporate comparative approach.

Ultimately this seminar aims to help students produce a deliverable which they will be proud to submit to employers and/or journals. Be innovative, creative, critical, daring, and passionate in your research and writing. Make this capstone opportunity work for you.

The capstone deliverables – the final report and its presentation to the MIIS community – must demonstrate the student’s mastery of the MPA core competencies.

Content: Every capstone project must have a specific client who will benefit from student’s capstone work. Students will choose applied projects – the questions and tasks which will help existing organization and/or field – which can be pursued individually or in teams of students' choice. The capstone projects must focus on creating positive impact on actual practice of public administration, and should respond to public and/or nonprofit organizations’ needs and/or potential. Specific examples of capstone projects undertaken by MPA students are provided in the appendix.

Format: Capstone deliverables can take any form – a research paper, a website, a video etc. Select the format that which meets and facilitates the purposes of the capstone project best.

Fall 2010 - MIIS, Spring 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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WKSH 8587 - Participatory Policy Process      

How can policy processes be improved by involving greater public participation? This workshop explores the idea and possibilities of how more public involvement can contribute to improved policy processes and, ultimately, to more effective and legitimate governance and development. This question becomes relevant as the conventional representative and top down policy making processes and systems are questioned in the face of the increasing diversity, growing political polarization, and increasing disillusionment with governance.

The workshop is designed for students who wish to explore participatory processes and relevant tools in various policy areas such as health, education, environment, budgeting etc; in various levels and contexts, including local, national, international and global; as well as in various stages of policy process including agenda setting, formulation, program/project design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Examples of various innovations in policy processes from different countries and settings will help us explore the subject in greater depth.

The questions to be explored in this workshop include the following: What is participatory policy? Why is it important? How does participatory approach to policy process work in practice and in different contexts? What are the conditions, obstacles, and possibilities for this approach to contribute to improved goverance and social outcomes? What are the strengths and limitations of conventional and participatory approaches to policy processes and how can we optimize the strengths of both and limit their drawbacks?

Fall 2010 - MIIS

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