Meet WIUT's new faculty of 2021

On the eve of our 20th anniversary year, we are happy to welcome new faculty members who are bringing to WIUT disciplinary knowledge, international experience, new ideas and skills that will contribute to our continued recognition as one of the best Universities in Central Asia.

“We are genuinely glad to welcome and celebrate our new faculty to the University and hope that they will find both personal and professional satisfaction that comes from working with highly motivated and intellectually curious students, as well as supportive colleagues in the friendly and welcoming environment of WIUT” says First Deputy Rector (Academic) Dr. Michael Clarke.

Below 15 new faculty members discuss what they find meaningfull about their research and teaching. 

Dr. Erdogan Ekiz
Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing

Until recently, Dr. Ekiz was employed to launch a hospitality school at Muhammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco, as the founding Dean of the School of Hospitality Business and Management. He is a “Certified Hospitality Educator” from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute and a ”Qualified Learning Facilitator” from École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland.

“My research journey started as a research assistant at the Eastern Mediterranean University. I was fortunate to be supervised by Prof. Osman Karatepe who is a prolific researcher. I got “bitten by the research bug” back then and until now I enjoy research not only for the problems solved and questions answered but also for the chance to disseminate my findings to industry and government and most importantly use these findings in my classes.“

“I have researched and published mainly in tourism, hospitality management and marketing and more specifically on issues such as service failure, complaint management and recovery in tourism and hospitality. Given the ever-increasing competition and customer/guest empowerment, companies need to do way more in understanding, satisfying and delighting their customers. Furthermore, once they fail, they need to recover (fix their mistakes) efficiently if they want not only to be successful but also stay in business. My research aims to help industry and government bodies to achieve this.”

“My philosophy of teaching reflects a genuine joy in sharing information, equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. I see myself as both a leader and a facilitator. Having spent my working life in various sectors of tourism and hospitality, I know the industry from the inside and bring realism into classroom. Textbook wisdom is important, but so too is experiential learning, creating an opportunity for individuals to experience and think critically about key issues.”

“WIUT has a great reputation and outstanding facilities for students and faculty members, but most importantly, it values research and its impact on the society and the country. Having this support as a professor and as a researcher motivated me to be part of WIUT’s extraordinary academic team.”

Dr. Nilufar Khakimova
Lecturer in Management and Marketing

Dr. Khakimova received her PhD degree in Management from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation, Malaysia. In her study, she researched the effect of psychological wellbeing, personal resilience and expatriate adjustment on expatriate performance in high risk countries (HRCs).  
“The research findings will have a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in the expatriate effectiveness field as well as practical implications on multinational corporations, in terms of adding complexity to their challenging business operations in high risk countries.  The research findings suggest that multinational corporations might need to focus more on testing coping mechanisms (psychological wellbeing and personal resilience) to include in their training programmes. By establishing such programmes international human resource management professionals can use these data of potential candidates (expatriates) and select them to relocate to other high risk country regions.
Moreover, the results of this study indicate that expatriates assigned to high risk countries can improve their comfort and psychological well-being by increasing their social interactions that are found as crucial for such assignments. This was one of the first studies that examined the relationship between the dimensional level of psychological wellbeing, personal resilience and expatriate adjustment.”

“I have over 12 years of corporate experience in international human resource management, international relations and translation services, working for US, Asian and Middle Eastern international companies. Also, I have 9 years of post-graduate experience in publishing high-quality research, developing policy analysis, internal and external stakeholder management, training and consulting services.”​
Dr. Prabha Kiran
Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing

Dr. Kiran has a PhD from Vels University, Chennai, India. She has many years of research experience and has worked extensively on Government funded projects in digital marketing and food technology.

Her research papers were awarded as best paper in 2015 for her research on twitter analytics and for information credibility analysis of social media content in 2017.

“Research for me is a constant quest of adventure, it is a zone where I go through wonderful experiences and tremendous amount of learning throughout the research journey. It is this adventure that drives my passion towards conducting any research.” 

“My research is more focused on understanding consumer psychology and what amazes me is the varied interests that the human mind can have. Each consumer is different and has his or her own interests, so imagine the variety or subjects and vast nature of findings that can surprise you every time you undertake research. The dynamic marketing environment and ever-changing needs, demands and requirements fascinate me. No two studies are the same and novelty brings out the best discussion and drives decision making, policy formulation and strategy development.”

“I choose to teach and research as I enjoy interacting with students and tickle their minds with interesting and stimulating questions. I am delighted being part of the wonderful WIUT family. I hope I will be able to do the same here and I believe I will get the chance to interact with like-minded people who will help me understand better this part of the world. Also, I hope I will get the opportunity to work in some really interesting projects where I shall quench my thirst of discovering something unique about this part of the market and its consumers. “

Dr. Vincenzo Alfano
Senior Lecturer in Economics

Before appointed to this position at WIUT, Dr. Alfano worked as the Economic Adviser for the Italian Minister of University and Research as well as an Adjunct Professor in Industrial Economics at Basilicata University and Economics at Federico II University. Dr. Alfano’s Doctorate in Economics was based on underground economics and corruption, focusing on the structural incentives to go underground and unintended consequences of the public pension system regulation.

“In the last seven years, I studied several systems of incentives, the institutions that create them as well as their effects in a variety of contexts. I studied many quantitative methods during my Ph.D. and perfectioned how to apply them into meaningful research during my Post-Doc education. In the last 18 months, I got very interested in health research and its impact on social sciences. It was a topic I had already tangential treated in my Ph.D. thesis but of course, since the coronavirus crisis, it became clear to me that this is the big topic of research to my generation.”

“In my work as an applied economist, I look at institutions and the set of incentives they (voluntarily or not) create, searching for new settings in which to apply the best possible statistical techniques to investigate the specific discontinuity. A long-time interest of mine has been in using sports data to investigate institutional changes and their impact on performance. In this way, I aim to study research questions that have a much bigger scope than the one related to the mere sportive setting; in this regard, it is possible to say that I am using sports as a quasi-experimental setting, in which to test the impact on performance of institutional changes.”

“Coming to my last research, last year I published a paper on the cross-country effects of lockdown, that attracted attention in the literature of the topic, and has been cited in several newspapers and magazines, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Sun Times. In the last few months I also devoted some pieces of research to the effects of opening the schools on COVID, and of social capital on the lockdown observance. I am very interested in deepening this topic from a social sciences point of view, and I think that there is still much work to be done, to properly understand incentive systems during a pandemic, and better address the response to future emergencies.”

Dr. Ito Wasito
Associate Professor in Computing

Dr Wasito has a PhD degree in Computer Science from the School of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of London at Birkbeck, United Kingdom.

“My research interests mainly lie in the following areas: health informatics, data science and machine learning. I have experience as principal researcher in seven research projects related to machine learning/ data science.”

“During my teaching experience of approximately 15 years, I have been involved in teaching in the following areas: introduction to machine learning, programming, mathematics discrete and applied probability/statistics. “

“My current research topic is about the development of clustering techniques for integrated biomedical data, using machine learning model-based approach. The aim of data integration is to achieve higher precision and better accuracy of clustering and classification purposes. In addition, data integration can be used for comparison, validation, and evaluation of the results of various studies and different data sets. There are many researchers that deal with the various data integration types such as between amino acid sequence, gene expression and protein-protein interaction. Data integration can also be used in cancer identification research. The clinical management of cancer is based on the information that is collected by clinical studies. The integration between genomics data such as gene expression and protein interaction can be used for classifying tumors into several types, which, in turn, can improve the clinical treatment of cancer.

“My vision is to share my knowledge and experience on education through teaching and research to create a better quality of life. I am committed to collaborating closely with people within and outside WIUT.”

Dr. Angelo Battaglia
Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing

Dr. Angelo Battaglia obtained his Doctorate (PhD) in 2005 at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (Italy) with a focus on Regional Development, Cultural Heritage and Territorial Innovations. After having worked as a Senior Lecturer in Italy for a few years (2007-2012) at the University of Camerinol, Faculty of Planning, he got a post-doc fellowship at (Teluq-UQAM) as a Research Associate in Montreal (Canada) in Knowledge Economy, Creative Industries and Urban Clusters of Innovation.

“The main features and objectives of my current research experience focus on the processes of regional, urban and global development strategy in Southern Europe, Middle East and BRICs contexts. I consider urban and regional dynamics, socio-economic innovations and local economies as important assets for implementing regional planning, governance innovation processes, and sustainable development in specific areas. I do research activities on different aspects of global, regional and local development concerning different countries, cities and specific regions.”

“I have an approach of teaching and doing research which is very open, inclusive and horizontal, following an interdisciplinary model, oriented to fill the gap among the different levels of learning and understanding of students. I believe that a student-oriented teaching approach, which pays attention both to the local needs of students (adaptable and flexible) and to the global and contemporary issues (open perspective of personal development and intellectual growth) is the most valid and relevant method for providing them an open and holistic outline of academic development.”

“To conclude, international academic mobility has constantly characterized my career (Italy, Spain, France, Canada and the Sultanate of Oman). Thanks to the wide range of skills acquired and the broad background knowledge gained, I am qualified to manage continuous changes of scale in analysing geographic issues and territorial/regional dimensions (urban, regional, meso-regional, national, international and global) and to direct and implement teaching and research through an interdisciplinary approach among Urban Competitiveness, Regional Development, Sustainability and Development Strategies, Global Mega-trends and Tourism Planning.”

“I have chosen WIUT to pursue my academic career because I can contribute to the development and support of this dynamic and new Institution in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), following my academic, research and personal goals.”

Dr. Muhammad Bilal
Lecturer in Economics

Dr Bilal graduated in 2020 from the Georg-August-University Goettingen, Germany, specialising in Agricultural Economics. His research interests lie in the spheres of Sustainable Development, Developing Economies, Technology Adoption, Rural Development and Food Security.

“Throughout the past years, the agricultural technological inputs have been actively evolving with a moderate rate of technology adoption. The adoption of agricultural technological inputs has been encouraged by, among others, escalating demand in the food sector in both developed and developing countries. While the adoption of agricultural technological inputs has become important in developing countries, rigorous assessment of the quality and origin of available technologies and its outcomes, in these countries, is lacking. In particular, the adoption of multinational brands crop protection products versus generic crop protection products among smallfarming households have important consequences on sustainable agricultural development for developing countries.”

“Uzbekistan is an agriculturally based economy in the cotton production. We are interested in employing the methodology of my current research to compare it with Uzbekistan, and to propose suggestions for the policy makers based on empirical evidence. Moreover, the recent initiatives on the further development of the SILK ROAD have already opened the door for future research.”

Dr. Dariush Alimohammadi
Senior Lecturer in Computing

Dr. Dariush Alimohammadi completed his Master’s and PhD in Information Science at the University of Tehran. Currently, his research interest lies between information retrieval and recommender systems; the linkage between human and machine. He works on the development and evaluation of user-centered intelligent recommender systems that can understand cross-lingual and cross-media queries capable of retrieving multimedia documents.

"Retrieving relevant information is a serious challenge for users. This problem has become more complicated as the number and format of WWW objects increase. Access to heterogeneous data encourages users to focus solely on search. They think they have an unlimited chance of use. But their information-seeking experience is not always satisfactory. Developing and evaluating recommender systems is one of the best approaches to make balanced user expectations against information retrieval solutions."

“In teaching I follow a formative approach. Therefore, I can get immediate feedback from students during the sessions and hence will be able to modify whatever is needed to be refined. This can help me pay enough attention to the learning outcome. Learning outcomes should shape the syllabus and can determine the assessment method. I prefer to not leave this approach; because what is important is assessment for learning and not just learning assessment. To achieve this purpose, for example, I encourage students to criticize and evaluate anonymous projects and then I participate to balance these opinions.”

“WIUT is an internationally renowned University. It has a long tradition of British Higher Education. It has introduced capable and famous graduates to the science and technology market. It is adapting to new research trends and has a clear plan to improve the target community. Joining this University means that I will be participating in a purposeful and transcendent international projet.”


Dr. Mohamed Uvaze Ahamed Ayoobkhan
Senior Lecturer in Computing

Dr. Mohamed Uvaze Ahamed Ayoobkhan has received his PhD in Information Technology with the Best PhD thesis award 2018 from the Multimedia University, Malaysia.  His research focused mainly on medical imaging, optimisation and deep/shallow learning. 

“I have obtained twointellectual property copyrights, one for the novel compression algorithm proposed in my Ph.D thesis entitled, “Lossy image compression based on vector quantization using Artificial Bee Colony and Genetic Algorithm” and another for a paper based on  project work carried out after completing  my  Ph.D work entitled “An Automated Grading System for Diabetic Retinopathy using Curvelet Transform and Hierarchical Classification”. I have also won best paper awards in the International conferences IWAIT 2017, Malaysia, for my paper entitled “Predictive Medical Image Compression using Neural Networks with Gravitational Search and Particle Swarm  algorithms”  and  in ICCIKE 2019, Dubai, for my paper entitled “Earth Voltage Alert System for Indian ATM System.”

“I was selected by Multimedia University to coach a group of students with poor academic performance and following my coaching, the students’ performance improved to a great extent. As I always strive to explain the abstract theoretical concepts with good practical examples, the students have absolutely no problem in understanding even the most complicated concepts and as a result they do very well in theory/practical examinations. I have so far supervised more than 20 UG/PG project works at three universities in India, Malaysia and Iraq, where I worked.”

Ms. Kholida Begmatova
Associate Lecturer in Global Education

Ms. Kholida Begmatova is a graduate of the Master’s program in English Linguistics from the Uzbek State World Languages University. She was the recipient of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation scholarship in 2010 and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology scholarship for English teachers in 2015. Currently, she works on research about the development of academic writing among university students. 

“The university settings create an opportunity for every person to grow professionally and personally. During the Spring semester of 2021, I had the chance to take part in a professional development course in WIUT and meet new people. I then realised that I would like to perfect my skills even more by doing research. To this effect, I am going to undertake doctoral studies at the Uzbek State World Language University in Tashkent by 2023.The research topic for my future PhD course will be about “Developing Writing Skills with the Help of Free Writing and Five Colored Pencil Techniques Among University Students in Tashkent”.

“I have taught for many years and observed that students having difficulties in expressing their thoughts in writing. Students complained often about lack of ideas, frustration, anxiety, and poor writing skills. Hence, my students were usually late with submission of their written assignments and there were many cases of plagiarism. These comments encouraged me to investigate the given case deeply and change the way students think about writing. For this very reason, I would like to start with the exploratory study to identify students’ knowledge of writing and their emotions toward it. Then, I will develop interventions to teach students how to write better.”

Mr. Ram Rritwik Sen
Lecturer in Finance

Mr. Sen received his MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India,  which, in 2008, became the first management school in India to be awarded EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) accreditation by the EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development). He is also an India-qualified lawyer, having completed his LLB from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, in 2016 and an LLM in Corporate Law in 2018.

“I have worked in the Treasury departments of two US banks, Citibank & American Express; as well as in the UK-based Standard Chartered Bank (including a brief secondment to the London Treasury trading room). These institutions operate in many of the same areas as Wall Street firms and all of my industry experience is in front-office roles that exist in all full-service US investment banks which dominate the field. I have been tracking US and global markets for nearly thirty years now and have broad and deep, expert level knowledge of global financial markets, across major asset classes such as Currencies, Equities, Debt, Real Estate and Commodities and Instruments like Spot, Forwards, Futures, Swaps and Options.”

“My industry experience has also given me a practitioner's perspective on vast swathes of theoretical Finance and Economics, since I've always had an academic approach and have kept my “theoretician's hat” on throughout my financial markets career. Many of these original insights on Finance have found their way into the class notes which I prepare for my courses, constitute the material for my upcoming book, "A Simple Guide to Global Finance" and are likely to inform my doctoral dissertation and the other Research that I do.”  

Dr. Marco Bonelli
Senior Lecturer in Finance

In 2016, Dr. Bonelli defended his PhD dissertation titled: “Leadership within strategic management: measuring Corporate Equity Value using Igor Ansoff’s Strategic Posture Analysis.” 

“I am a practitioner lent to Academia. I was a successful Wall Street Executive for a quarter of a century and recently I transitioned to teaching and researching. At the end of the 1980’s, when I moved from Italy to the U.S.A., I had the privilege to be an alumnus of Professor Igor Ansoff, the father of Strategic Management. He had a great influence on me as a person and a professional and now as an academician.”

“I adapted Ansoff’s quantitative and customized model (Ansoff’s Paradigm), so it can be usable in fields that are different from management analysis. As matter of fact, its use in conjunction with Stock Financial Analysis can be very appropriate and helpful. Financial Analysis is currently used to evaluate the worth of a corporation. Strategic management analysis can lead to similar analytical results, and leaders and analysts can rely equally on this alternative analysis”

“Actually, the best descriptor for what it is that I attempt to do in my classroom is indeed “mentor,” a wonderful term whose origin derives from Greek mythology. The word “mentor” today is construed as a “wise and faithful counselor,” appellations that I sincerely would hope would apply to myself.”

“I keep an open door policy and try to build my relationships with students to last beyond the end of the semester, so that the students feel free to approach me with questions and other concerns long after their final grades have been issued. This has resulted in several mentoring type relationship and same very value friendships.”

Dr. Atya Zeb
Lecturer in Finance/Management and Marketing

Dr Zeb has recently completed her PhD at UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, where her interest developed around marketing and marketing management.

“My doctoral dissertation looks at word of mouth content and meta-analytic examination of brand extensions impact on movies’ performance. My other research interests include new product strategies, entertainment industry, social media, online word of mouth and meta-analysis.”

“I believe that the true evaluation of a class’s success would take into consideration how weaker students perform and not on how top students do. As I mentioned before, I would concentrate on the weaker or less-motivated students and this would improve the class on the whole.”

“Examples usually bring a practical context in the subject and catch the attention of students. They also help in clarifying certain questions which would otherwise remain unanswered. For example, if I am teaching a marketing class, I would work on the stages of creating a marketing plan for any product or service.”

Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja
Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing

Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Marketing from the University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM). He has worked in different capacities at leading multinational corporations such as the British Council, Nestle, The Coca-Cola Company and Marriott International. His research interests include digital marketing, marketing analytics, tourism marketing and consumer psychology.

“I believe in the triangulation approach of conducting research in which utilisation of positivism and interpretivism doctrines simultaneously is prudent. For that matter, I have attained competence in leading quantitative and qualitative research tools like SPSS, AMOS, SmartPLS, Mplus, R and NVIVO. I believe in action-based research endeavors for which industry-academia liaison is important. I have the privilege to execute two action-based research studies also. Furthermore, my future goals are to focus more on the research ventures and get my manuscripts published in the leading impact factor journals.”

“My teaching philosophy in a nutshell is as follows: teaching complex material in a down-to-earth and entertaining manner. I expect my students to work hard, study well and produce high quality output, while I give them plenty of resources and attention. I design my courses with the purpose of illustrating to students both the elegance and complexity of the marketing discipline.”

“WIUT holds a prestigious position in the Central Asian countries. The University provides an excellent atmosphere to polish your academic and research skills while it celebrates diversity and has staff members from all over the globe.”

Dr. Junaid Ahmed
Senior Lecturer in Economics

Dr. Ahmed completed his doctoral studies at the Faculty of Economics, Georg August University, Goettingen Germany, on the research topic "Do migrant remittances matter? Nature, determinants, and impacts of remittances to Pakistan".  His area of interest is in developmental and international economics. 

“Research during my doctoral studies was an in-depth analysis of migrant's remittances, which constitute a significant source of development finance. In several countries, the amount of remittances exceeds foreign direct investment and foreign aid inflows. Therefore, the inflows can be seen as a critical stepping stone to economic development for many developing nations.”

“The first area of study examines the cyclicality of remittances (compared to FDI and aid) regarding sending country and receiving country business cycles and investigates whether remittances are, on balance, stabilizing or destabilizing for the recipient country. The important findings are that remittances are, in contrast to FDI and aid, less volatile and are also countercyclical and stabilising for Pakistan.  The second area of study investigates to what extent transfer costs affect bilateral remittance flows for Pakistan and for the cross- country with empirical development in term of endogeneity, and the data used for transaction costs. This is also an interesting question that has not been tackled so far. In a gravity framework, it finds that transfer costs have a substantial impact on remittance flows. The third area of study uses microeconometric techniques, and a cross-sectional household survey to study whether foreign and/or domestic remittances are associated with different spending patterns of receiving households. This paper finds that foreign and domestic remittances seem to promote human capital spending, although the impact appears to be different for poorer households. Moreover, in another study its finds that foreign remittance-receiving households hold substantially more assets, particularly assets used for consumption and housing. Recently, I am doing research on the topics related to remittances, international trade policy, foreign direct investment, and the economics of education.”