Innovation and Urban Development in Kazakhstan 

Cities around the world, including Almaty, Kazakhstan, are undergoing significant urban transformation. As former deputy CEO of the Almaty Development Center and an advisor to the Mayor of Almaty on innovation and urban development, alumnus Asset Abdualiyev has been at the forefront of this effort implementing the city-for-people concept and pioneering the first Smart City project in Central Asia.

In 2015, Abdualiyev attended the Leaders in Development executive program. Energized by his experience, he returned to Harvard Kennedy School in 2017 to earn his MPA. After graduation, he will continue his studies in the U.S. and then pursue his passion for technology and social entrepreneurship back in Kazakhstan.

Throughout this journey, Abdualiyev has experienced firsthand the power that we all have to enact change, as well as what it takes to be a leader.

“In my opinion, one can exercise leadership in one situation and be a follower in another. So, it is not only about skills but also passion and vision,” shares Abdualiyev. “I think that leaders are the ones who can mobilize people to address the issues they are passionate about. That’s how you achieve transformative changes that will remain.”