Board of Directors

Goulnara Assanova, Director of KCF, was born and raised in Kyrgystan. She received her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s degree in History and Social Studies at Leningrad State University, Russia. She received additional education in early childhood development and had multiple trainings in human services, preventing domestic violence, and suicide prevention in the USA. She is certified in First Aid Mental Health. She works with teen moms, families and children at risk to prevent child abuse and neglect. She speaks Russian, Spanish, and English.

Andrew Bhattacharya, Director of KCF, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan. He received his B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary and his M.B.A. from the University at Buffalo. He has fourteen years of international development experience, and his specialties include USAID regulations, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA), and NGO internal controls. He has Russian, French, and Spanish language skills.

Henry Clarke, Chairman of the Board of Directors of KCF, is a retired American career diplomat. His assignments included appointment as the first U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Embassy in Romania, and Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassies in Moscow, USSR, and Tel Aviv, Israel. He was International Affairs Advisor to the National War College, where he received the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Army. He was also international Supervisor of Brcko District and Deputy High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has been Chairman of the Board of two international schools, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Bucharest, Romania. He graduated from Dartmouth College and received his Masters in Public Administration from the J.F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He served in the 3rd and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiments of the U. S. Army. He speaks Russian and German and has a working knowledge of Romanian. He is married, has four children and six grandchildren.

Aibek Ismailov, Director of KCF, was born in Kyrgyzstan, graduated from high school in Karakol, Issyk-Kul oblast of Kyrgyzstan, then served two years in the Soviet Army. He graduated from the Kyrgyz State University law faculty and worked on various USAID funded projects in Kyrgyzstan. Since 2003 he has been working and living in USA. He is married and has two children. Currently he works as a security officer and Russian/English translator/interpreter in the Fairfax County Public Schools. He speaks English, Russian and Kyrgyz.

Sarah Swanson, Director of KCF, previously worked with non-profit organizations serving refugees from S.E. Asia and Ethiopia. She currently works for the National Archives in the Digital Engagement Division. Sarah has a Masters degree from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and B.A. in Anthropology from Kenyon College. She studied and worked in Mainland China in the mid-1980s, and still speaks some Mandarin. She feels a deep connection to Kyrgyzstan through her daughter, whom she adopted from an orphanage in Tokmok.

Sherry Wheeler, Director of KCF, is a corporate attorney having served in executive leadership roles in law and human resources in diverse industries for private-equity backed start-up and emerging companies to global publicly traded corporations. She earned her J.D. degree from the College of Law, Syracuse University and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association She received her B.S. in Political Science from Willamette University. Sherry and her husband are adoptive parents and strong advocates for building families through adoption.

Our Representatives in Bishkek

Gulira Daniyarova, Director of KCF’s Representative Office in Kyrgyzstan, graduated from Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University with a major in Management of Organization. She gained broad experience participating in several Asian Development Bank projects. She also worked for KPMG as an Auditor and for Coca-Cola Bishkek Bottlers as a Financial Analyst. She later joined Kant Cement Plant as a Head of the Internal Audit department. Currently she is a student of Psychology at Arabaev University in Kyrgyzstan and is also taking courses in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in order to work with children with Autism Disorder Spectrum.

Aigul Kubatbekova, Deputy Director of KCF’s Representative Office in Kyrgyzstan, grew up in Bishkek, and after graduating from high school she won an Opportunity Initiative Grant which made her dream of studying in the U.S. possible. She received her B.A. in Management and Finance from Columbia College in Missouri. While in the U.S. she organized numerous fundraising campaigns, including one to collect toys for children in Third World countries. In 2012, she went to China for a year to study Chinese. Since then, she has managed an English center for kids from low income families in Bishkek, and currently manages several hostels in Kyrgyzstan.