The OSCE Academy in Bishkek came out as a product of partnership between the OSCE and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. In 2002 the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formalized the creation of the Academy as a regional centre of higher education and a forum for regional security dialogue and research.
In 2004 the Academy launched its flagship programme, Masters programme in Political Science with focus on Central Asia. The programme was designed to serve the young generation of intellectuals from the whole region, and thus efforts have been taken to ensure balanced representation of each Central Asian state. In line with international efforts to assist political transition in Afghanistan, the Academy started accepting students from Afghanistan from 2008.
In 2011 the second graduate programme was launched, MA in Economic Governance and Development. This came as result of the Academy's efforts to maximize its contribution to developing human professional capital in the sectors of particular importance for Central Asian states and societies. This multidisciplinary programme has been attracting students from various fields and with various background, but with common committment to contribute to economic development, governance and policy-making in Central Asia.
Starting 2010 the Academy has successfully collaborated with the ministries of foreign affairs of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in arranging three-month long internships for selected alumni of the Academy in the respective MFAs. In July 2013 the Academy and the Kyrgyzstan MFA extended the agreement.
In 2013 the OSCE Academy joined the newly established OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions. The network provides expertise, stimulates discussion and raises awareness of the OSCE. It contributes to the ongoing security dialogue within the OSCE framework.
In 2016 the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic approved the new Charter of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees, and issued a Certificate on state re-registration of the legal entity.
In 2016 the Memorandum of Understanding between the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on further activity of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek was signed by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Kyrgyz counterpart, H.E. Erlan Abdyldaev. The agreement will allow the Academy, which has been operational since 2002, to continue educating young professionals for unlimited period of time.
The Agreement on the free use of state premise between the Department of State Buildings under the Administrative Board of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek was signed on April 1, 2016. This agreement allows the Academy to use the building located at 1A, Botanichesky pereulok in Bishkek for the whole period of the Memorandum of Understanding between the OSCE and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic remains in force.
On 3 February 2021 the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic has approved new amendments to the Charter of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees, and issued a new Certificate on state re-registration of the legal entity.
In June 2022 the OSCE Academy has been re-registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic in accordance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic due to additional changes to the Academy’s Charter approved by the Board of Trustees.
In July 2022 the OSCE Academy in Bishkek has received a license issued by the Ministry of Education and Science of the KR and launched its new BA programme in Economics.
In June 2023 the OSCE Academy in Bishkek has received a license by the Ministry of Education and Science of the KR and launched the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences with specialization in Human Rights and Sustainability Programme (MAHRS), a first MA Programme in this field in the region, which is implemented jointly with the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice and co-financed by the European Union.
From the very beginning of its operation the Academy has been keen to develop a wide and effective network of partnership with leading international and local institutions. Of particular importance has been the cooperation of the Academy with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). These two institutes have greatly contributed to organizational development, research and teaching at the Academy, including direct involvement in teaching, supervision of students' dissertations and hosting Academy's students and graduates in respective organizations in Geneva and Oslo.