Native of Kazakhstan, Mikhail Akulov defended his doctoral thesis in 2013 at Harvard University. That same year, he returned to Almaty to assume teaching, scholarly and administrative responsibilities at the Kazakh-British Technical University. Working first as chair of the Department of History and Social Science and then as dean of the General Education Faculty, he focused primarily on synchronizing liberal arts curriculum with key modern practices. From the Fall 2018 he joined the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious studies at the Nazarbayev University, where he is teaching courses on Eurasia’s complex history during the “Short twentieth century” (1914-1991).
Mikhail Akulov is convinced that a scholar – no matter how seemingly arcane his research might appear to a non-specialist – has an important role to play as a public figure. In line with this conviction, while in Almaty he was actively engaged in organizing discussion forums, art exhibitions, open lectures, etc. – in short, in creating spaces, where an exchange between experts, artists, civic activists and concerned audiences could take shape. He intends to continue working in that direction in Astana.