Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Mahabat Baimyrzaeva

Associate Professor

What are you most passionate about?

In terms of teaching, I am passionate about bringing out the best in my students and helping them realize their potential.  Using innovative and learner-centered teaching methods I teach diverse subjects, including social innovation in public sector, organizational management, applied research design and implementation, nation building, participatory governance, and policy analysis. 

Research-wise I explore how institutions – rules and their enforcement mechanisms that mediate relationships in society, organizations, and families – change in order to understand how to design and change such institutions.  To answer these questions, I draw insights from multiple disciplines including organizational management, cognitive and behavioral sciences, public policy and administration, and international law and development.

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

I feel privileged to work with our exceptional 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. They inspire me to try harder and do my best to facilitate their learning and development.


Institution Building and Development, Institutional Change and Theory, Organizational Management and Development, Capacity Building and Development, Public Sector Reform, Corruption, Culture Analysis and Change, Policy Analysis, Applied Research Methods, Democratic Transition, and Innovative Teaching and Learning Methods.

Regional expertise: Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Post-Soviet Countries.

Recent Accomplishments

During 2011-2014, as the program’s academic lead, Mahabat redesigned the International Professional Service Semester Program to ensure it best meets students’ and employers’ needs and interests. In this capacity she also designed and implemented a new set of pre-departure training modules offering skills highly sought-after by our students and most employers; delivered professional development trainings on consulting and applied research design; advised program fellows on their consultancy projects conducted during their internships with influential intergovernmental organizations around the world; and coordinated the work of a dozen faculty advising the program fellows.

In 2014 Mahabat consulted for the Global Citizenship Report Card initiative to refine its methodology for performance ranking of all countries on internationally agreed norms and standards in poverty reduction, gender equity, environmental stewardship, human rights, humanitarian response, and global peace and justice.

In 2012 Mahabat published a single authored book “Institutional Reforms in Public Sector: What Did We Learn?” concerned with recurring failures in public sector institutional reforms promoted by international development agencies. It focuses on 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 Mahabat designed and delivered an intensive session titled “Strategic Planning in the Context of Counter Terrorism Efforts” at the Strategic Level Small Craft Combating Terrorism training 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 2012-2015 Mahabat I consulted for the Interactive Flow Studies (educational start-up) on strategic management and marketing.

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

In Spring 2011 Mahabat coordinated the colloquium on Nation Building Colloquium which brought together leading experts globally 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. She also worked as a teaching associate at the University of Southern California.


  • Ph.D. in Public Administration, University of Southern California, 2003-2010

  • Master of Public Administration, University of Hawaii, 2001-2003
  • International Management Graduate Certificate, College of Business Administration, University of Hawaii, 2002-2003
  • Leadership and Culture Program, East-West Center, Honolulu, 2002-2003
  • Undergraduate Degree in International Law, International University of Kyrgyzstan, 1994-1998

Select Journal Publications

  • “The Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Improving Citizen Participation in Governance,” International Journal of Public Administration, 2014, volume 15, issue 2, pp. 77-90

  • “Policy Analysis as a Profession in Government: Who Does What and How?” Occasional Paper No 2, November 2013, University of Central Asia (in English and Russian)
  • “Kyrgyzstan’s Public Sector Reforms: 1991 – 2010,” International Journal of Public Administration, 2011, volume 34, issue 9, pp. 555-566
  • “Analysis of Public Administration Reforms in Kyrgyzstan in Light of Its Recent Governance Crises,” International Public Management Review, 2011, Volume 12, issue 1. pp. 22-46
  • “Corruption and Legitimacy Problems in Post-Communist States” (a book review), Public Administration Review, 2007, May/June, pp. 592-594
  • “Institutional Reforms in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asian Studies Review, 2005, volume 4, issue 1, pp. 29-35

Select Conference Presentations

  • “Bringing it All Together: Institutional Development in Light of National Policy Changes,” a closing address delivered at the Global Center Consortium Directors Conference, organized by the Global Center for Security Cooperation, Department of Defense, Monterey, CA, U.S.A on January 13, 2011

  • “Collaborative Strategies in Combating Official Misconduct,” a talk delivered at the 68th National Conference of the American Society for Public Administration, Washington, DC, U.S.A. in April 2007
  • “Assessing Institutional Reform: the Case of Kyrgyzstan” a paper delivered at the 20th International Political Science Association Conference, Fukuoka, Japan, in July 2006
  • “Theoretical Framework for Understanding Anticorruption Strategies,” a paper delivered at the Sixth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, Boston University, MA, U.S.A. in October 2010
  • “Institution-Building Reforms in Kyrgyzstan,” a paper delivered at the Fifth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, Indiana University, Bloomington, U.S.A. in October 2004
Course List

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

DPPG 8516 - SPR:Leadership&Social Innov      

Leadership and Social Innovations (MPA gateway management course requirement)

Public, community, and nonprofit organizations are perceived to be lagging behind for-profit enterprises in innovativeness. Meanwhile, social challenges they are expected to tackle are increasing in scale and complexity, challenging their traditional ways of getting things done. To remain relevant and effective, pioneering organizations from various sectors, industries, and countries have been innovating with promising outcomes. This course intends to help students learn examples of such innovations and their methods. While the course predominantly focuses on organizational level (since organizations are a medium through which we get most things done), this course equally applies to individual, institutional, and policy levels. Moreover, the course can help you jumpstart your leadership training by providing knowledge as well as practical analytical and decision making tools and skills applicable in wide range of problem solving.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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DPPG 8519 - OrgPerspctvsForPolicy&MgmtPros      

Every student of policy and management will benefit from better understanding organizational perspective given that organizations are a medium through which we get most things done. The tools, skills, and knowledge learned in this course can make you more strategic and effective in proposing and implementing policies, programs, and projects. Moreover, the course can help you jumpstart your leadership training by providing practical analytical and decision making tools applicable in wide range of problem solving.

In this course you will study how organizations operate by focusing on key organizational management dimensions and functions. You will conduct weekly analysis, diagnosis, and problem solving exercises focusing on one organizational management dimension at a time for the organization you are familiar with. In the end of the course you will compile your weekly briefs into an organizational assessment report that can be shared with that entity.

While this course primarily focuses on public organizations, readings and exercises will be provided on management of nonprofit and private organizations as well so that students can better understand their differences and commonalities and draw practical inferences.

Fall 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG 8615 - Sem: Practicum Project      

Do you have a real life project in mind you would want to tackle using a faculty mentor’s help? Do you want to build and/or strengthen your skills and knowledge, ideally by working on a consulting project for an organization of your choice? If yes, the Capstone course is for you. In this course you will be in the driver’s seat working on your project, while the faculty will coach you and provide practical skills and tools to help you effectively articulate, design, and implement your project, and communicate your findings to your client. In addition to individualized feedback sessions, faculty will also guide you to right resources for additional relevant skill and knowledge building.

Please check the prereqs:

- Only open for DPP students in 3rd or 4th semesters who are using the course to fulfill their Practicum requirement.

- Students who are planning to enroll in FMS, DPMI+ or IPSS should not enroll in this course. Contact the instructor if requesting exceptions.

- Students may undertake projects individually or in teams (maximum 3 per team), but team justification must be compelling

Fall 2016 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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DPPG 8616 / FMSC 9650 / IPMG 9650 - Independent Practicum      

Students will choose a focal topic or challenge that is relevant to their degree. Under faculty member’s guidance, students will then implement a suitable plan of activities to shed significant light on this topic. Final products may take many forms including a traditional research paper, a guide or manual for practitioners, a video product, or alternative deliverable that would be of value to a well-defined audience of practitioners. Students must identify a faculty sponsor who has consented to supervise the project in order to enroll in this class. Work can be taken on-campus or in field settings. Credit is variable (4 or 6 units) and depends upon the scope, complexity and rigor of the project.

The B section is 3 credits and is only open to joint IEM/MPA students.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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