QRIFS is driven by curiosity, commensality, and contextuality. We operate as a research-based and practice-driven learning lab designed to further futures studies and strategic foresight across Qazaqstan, Central Asia, and beyond. Our work comes to fruition through participatory approaches and partnership-driven projects aimed at fostering inclusive and imaginative spaces of pure possibility.
Kazakhstan Academy of Public Administration
United Nations (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan)
Duke Corporate Education
John A. Sweeney
Dr. John A. Sweeney is an award-winning author, designer, and futurist. As a practitioner, consultant, and educator, John has organized, managed, and facilitated workshops and seminars, multi-stakeholder projects, and foresight gaming systems in over 45 countries on five continents with participants from around the world. At present, John is an Assistant Professor of Futures and Foresight at Narxoz University in Almaty, Kazakhstan where he serves as Director of the Qazaq Research Institute for Futures Studies. He also became the co-Editor of World Futures Review working alongside Dr. Nur Anisah Abdullah in January 2020.
John has worked with numerous universities, international development and humanitarian aid agencies, nonprofit foundations, Fortune 500 companies, and educational and cultural organizations, such as NESTA, INTERPOL, The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and numerous UN agencies. Additionally, he has experience working with public sector and civil service foresight and innovation units, such as Singapore’s Centre for Strategic Futures, Georgia’s Public Service Development Agency, and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation. John’s private sector work primarily comes through Duke Corporate Education, which is one of the world’s top-rated custom executive education providers.
At the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where he instructed undergraduate courses in Futures Studies, Political Science, and World Religions, John also served as a Researcher at the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies from 2009 to 2014. From 2014 to 2018, John served as Deputy Director at the Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, which is based in London, UK.
John is a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, the Association of Professional Futurists, and the Asia-Pacific Futures Network. His work has been published in Futures, The Journal of Futures Studies, World Futures Review, and other academic and media outlets. He tweets on trends, emerging issues, and things just over the horizon at @aloha_futures.
Dr. Yelena V. Muzykina
Dr. Yelena V. Muzykina is a practitioner and educator and has ample experience in a variety of different fields such as a banking sector (Bank Centercredit), private and international business (LogyCom, Dandy Distribution, Stimorol, Cadbury ApS), trade, bidding. For the last 15 years, her occupation is directly linked with Humanities and Social Science.
Yelena holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, a Candidate of Science in Social Philosophy from People’s Friendship University of Russia, a Master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Studies from Andrews University (USA) and a few degrees in History, English, Economy, and Theology. Currently, she is a Research Faculty at the Qazaq Research Institute for Futures Studies (Almaty, Kazakhstan). Her academic interests include Futures Studies and Foresight, Postnormal Times, Islamic Finance, Islamic Studies, Comparative Theology, History of Religions, and Sociology.
While working for the QRIFS, Yelena has taken part in a number of projects developing foresight strategy and conducting workshops for the Academy of Public Administration (APA) under the President of Kazakhstan and the APA under the President of Uzbekistan, the Center for Advanced Technologies (Uzbekistan), QazTech Ventures (Kazakhstan), UNDP in Uzbekistan.
Yelena has published a number of articles and chapters in books in Russian and English on various aspects of futures studies, Islamic Education, Islamic Finance, and Islam in the modern world. In her research projects, she uses an interdisciplinary approach highlighting, for example, a Postnormal Times perspective or futures studies methodology in building Islamic Futures of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
Being a passionate traveler and a lover of arts and music, Yelena finds time to translate books on modern philosophy and social changes.
Nurlykhan Aljanova is a Research Fellow at the Qazaq Research Insitute for Future Studies and a Senior Lecturer in Religious and Cultural Studies at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
She holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and a Master degree in Religious Studies from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. Her research focuses on Semiotics of Culture, Traditional Culture, and Religious Studies. Along to several published articles on Semiotic Aspects of Kazakh Traditional Culture, Communication Culture, she co-authored some books on Cultural Monuments and Cultural Symbols. Nurlykhan is a Member of Research Projects “Symbolic Phenomena in the Modernization Process of Public Consciousness”, “Role and Place of Cultural Monuments in the Modernization of Kazakhstan”.
Nurlykhan had research internship during PhD program and served as visiting professor at Madrid Complutense University within project One Asia Foundation.