Events Calendar

May
11
Thu
2017
Victoria Kim – Re-visiting the 1937 Deportation of Ethnic Koreans to Central Asia + Film Screening of “Koryo Saram The Unreliable People”
May 11 @ 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Re-visiting the 1937 Deportation of Ethnic Koreans to Central Asia:  80 Years of Survival and Prospering

Followed by a screening of Koryo Saram The Unreliable People

 

The year 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the first deportation of an entire nationality in the Soviet Union. In 1937, approximately 172,000 ethnic Koreans – the entire population of Posyet Korean national district and neighboring territories in the Far Eastern Krai – were forcefully relocated to Central Asia on cargo trains by the Soviet government. Eighty years later, their descendants still live in independent Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Some of them view the deportation as a tragedy whereas others see it quite differently.

Victoria Kim will discuss the changing narrative of the 1937 deportation and focus on the process of re-definition of the Korean identity currently taking place across Central Asia.

Victoria Kim holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS in Korean Studies and MA from the University of Bolton in International Multimedia Journalism. Originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, she is currently based in Beijing, China, as a researcher and documentary storyteller. She is the author of Lost and Found in Uzbekistan: The Korean Story. Her multimedia long-reads, podcast and seminars on the Korean diaspora in the former Soviet Union are featured in The Diplomat and by the Korea Economic Institute of America, Royal Asiatic Society, and etc.

 

Koryo Saram The Unreliable People

Koryo Saram The Unreliable People tells the harrowing saga of survival in the open steppe country and the sweep of Soviet history through the eyes of Koryo Saram – the deported Koreans – who were labeled by Stalin as enemies of the state. Through rare archival footage and personal interviews, the film follows the deportees’ unique history of integration into the Soviet system while working under punishing conditions in Kazakhstan, a true melting pot of exiled people from all over the Soviet Union.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”REGISTER” color=”warning” align=”center” button_block=”true” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fgo.gwu.edu%2F42t||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Jun
1
Thu
2017
Ninth Fellows’ Seminar: Development Challenges and Evolving Identities in Central Asia and Azerbaijan
Jun 1 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

2:00pm. Introductory remarks
Marlene Laruelle, Director, Central Asia Program

2:15-4:00pm. Panel 1. Identities, Ideologies and Religion in Flux

Zhar Zardykhan (KIMEP, Almaty)
Between Two Worlds: The Ambiguities of Kazakhstan’s Search for its New Identity

Kamal Gasimov (CAAF, Azerbaijan)
The Salafi Multimodal Engagement with Electronic Media in Azerbaijan

Alexandra Tsay (CAAF, Kazakhstan)
Contemporary Art as a Public Sphere in Kazakhstan

 Rafael Sattarov (CAAF, Uzbekistan)
“Spirituality and Enlightenment’”: State-backed Ideological Policy in Uzbekistan

Discussion

4:00-4:15pm. Coffee break

4:15-5:30pm. Panel 2. Social Development and Inequalities

Daniyar Kussainov (CAAF, Kazakhstan)
Inequality in Kazakhstan’s Secondary Education: Towards a Fragmented Society?

Dinara Nurusheva (CAAF, Kazakhstan)
In Search of Better Performance: Local Governance Challenges in a Kazakh Mining Town 

Nazik Imanbekova (CAAF, Kyrgyzstan)
Strengthening the Participation of Local Communities in the Mining Sector: The case of Talas, Kyrgyzstan

Discussion

5:30pm. Reception

Please RSVP

Kamal Gasimov is a researcher in the field of Islamic Studies from Azerbaijan. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Oriental Studies (Persian language and literature) from Baku State University (Azerbaijan). He has also studied Arabic language and literature at Kuwait University. His research has mainly concentrated on Islamic social movements, particularly quietist Salafi trends and their interaction with Islamists or jihadis; the transnationalization of Salafism and its connection with local (post-Soviet) actors; and Islamic legal theories. His interests lie primarily in contemporary Islamic groups in Syria, Iraq and the Gulf countries. During his fellowship, Kamal will consider transformations in the Islamic landscape of Azerbaijan.

Nazik Imanbekova is a transparency and open government activist from Kyrgyzstan, who has worked at various organizations from local NGOs (Public Foundation ElNaz, EITI public reception, EITI NGO Consortium, Human Development Center Tree of Life) to IGOs (UNDP). As the head of EITI public reception in Talas region, she developed a dialogue platform, which the national government to adopted and led to the establishment of periodical meetings with local communities. She holds a Specialist Diploma with Honors in Economics from the Academy of Management under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. During her fellowship, she will study the impact of mining contracts and government’s policy. The research will focus on the effects of current policies and contract clauses on local communities around the mining value chain in Kyrgyzstan.

Daniyar Kussainov currently works as a program assistant for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Sub-regional Coordination Office for Central Asia and was a research fellow at the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation Public Policy Initiative in 2014. Daniyar holds an MA degree in Politics and Security (Central Asia) from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. His professional and academic interests include migration, education, and elections. Prior to joining the IOM Office in Almaty, he worked for local and international NGOs, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Missions, OSCE Secretariat and the World Bank. During his fellowship, Daniyar will study state educational policies and their potential effects on rising socio-economic inequality in Kazakhstan.

Dinara Nurusheva is co-founder of PaperLab Research Group and was a research fellow at the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan Public Policy Initiative in 2014. She graduated from Abylai Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages with a Bachelor in International Relations. She obtained her master’s degree in Global Political Economy at City University London through the Bolashak scholarship. She has experience working in the analytical department at Nazarbayev Centre in Astana and the Center for Humanitarian and Political Trends in Almaty. Her research interests include institutionalism and the social and economic development of Kazakhstan’s regions. During her fellowship, Dinara will study the social and economic implications of living in a mining city, focusing on Tekeli, a city in Almaty oblast.

Rafael Sattarov is a political analyst. He is a graduate of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He has a Master’s degree from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He is a columnist of several editions in Russia and Kazakhstan and has edited articles on economics and politics in Forbes Russia, Lenta.ru, and Russia Beyond the Headlines. He was a delegate of the Young Educational Leaders Program of NATO. His research interests include reforms of the socio-political and economic systems in the post-Soviet space, U.S.-Russia relations after the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy in Central Asia, international relations in Eurasia and the geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. During his fellowship, Rafael will look into the rise of conservative values and so-called spirituality in Uzbekistan and their relevance in modern-day Uzbek society.

Alexandra Tsay is an independent research fellow in cultural studies and an art curator based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She is involved in PaperLab: Public Policy Research Laboratory and Open Mind. Previously, she worked as a Senior Lecturer at International Information Technologies University in Almaty. Alexandra is an alumni of University of Warwick (UK), where she earned an MA in International Cultural Policy and Management, and KIMEP University (Kazakhstan), where she earned a BA in International Journalism and Mass Communication. She was a research fellow at Public Policy Initiative Program of Soros Foundation Kazakhstan in 2014-2015. During her fellowship, Alexandra will explore the cultural public sphere in Kazakhstan. Her hypothesis is that the cultural public sphere and artistic expressions are becoming an important arena for public debates, criticism and inventions of counter-discourses in societies with restricted freedom of the press and a shrinking political public sphere.

Zhar Zardykhan is an Assistant Professor of International Relations and Regional Studies at KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan) and the Deputy Director of the Central Asian Studies Center (CASC). In 2007, Dr. Zardykhan completed his Doctoral dissertation on Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turkic appeals and propaganda in Ottoman-Russian confrontation during the First World War, with a special focus on the Muslim population of Central Asia and the Caucasus. He has been a Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, where he carried out a research project on the trans-ethnic relationship between members of supra-ethnic clans in Central Asia. His primary research interests include Eurasian history, ethnic and religious conflicts, nationalism, minorities, and identity formation, and he has published in a number of prominent journals, including Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Ethnicity and Central Asian Survey. He is fluent in several European, Middle Eastern and Inner Asian languages.

Jun
6
Tue
2017
Russia’s Approaches to Afghanistan and its Implications for Central Asia
Jun 6 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Stephen Blank, American Foreign Policy Council

Russia’s Policy toward Afghanistan and the Taliban and its Impact on Central Asia

Stephen Blank is an internationally known expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union who comes to AFPC from the US Army War College, where he spent the last 24 years (1989-2013) as a Professor of National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA.  Dr. Blank’s expertise covers the entire Russian and post-Soviet region. He has also written extensively on defense strategy, arms control, information warfare, energy issues, US foreign and defense policy, and European and Asian security.

Amin Mudadiq, head of RFE/RL’s Pakistan service

The Impact of Russia’s Afghan Policy on the Northern Provinces of Afghanistan

Amin Mudaqiq is the Director of RFE/RL’s service to Pakistan’s tribal regions, Radio Mashaal. Originally from northern Afghanistan, Mudaqiq formerly served as Kabul bureau chief for RFE/RL’s Afghan Service from 2004 to 2011. Prior to joining RFE/RL, he worked in the U.S. consulate in Peshawar as an Information Assistant, and as editor of “Ittilaat,” the U.S. government’s Dari/Pashto publication.

Please RSVP

An event organized in partnership with RFE/RL

Jun
8
Thu
2017
ASTANA: “China’s “One Belt, One Road” project and its impact for Central Asia”
Jun 8 – Jun 9 all-day

Nazarbayev University, Preliminary programme

Day 1 8 June 2017
9.00 – 9.30 Registration
9.30 – 10.00 Welcome speech

Shigeo Katsu, President, Nazarbayev University (TBC)

Marlene Laruelle, Director CAP, George Washington University  (by Skype)

Session 1: OBOR and Central Asia: Impact on the Region

Chair: Dennis de Tray, Advisor to President, Nazarbayev University

10.00 – 10.15 Marek Jochec, Associate Professor of Finance, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Ensi Tszie,  Adviser to the Minister of Economy, Kyrgyzstan

“Economic aspects of strategic importance of China’s OBOR project”

10.15 – 10.30 Sarah Lain, Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Great Britain

“China’s OBOR project and its impact for Central Asia”

10.30 – 11.00 Q/A session
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee-break
Session 2: Instruments and Mechanisms of OBOR

Chair: Nicola Contessi, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Nazarbayev University

11.30 – 11.45 Safovudin Jaborov, PhD candidate, Tajik National University, Tajikistan

“Chinese’s Loans in Central Asia: Development Aid or “Predatory Lending”?”

11.45 – 12.00 Hao Tian, Masters student, Georgetown University, USA

“The mechanisms of allocating and receiving Chinese foreign aid”

12.00 – 12.15 Paulo Duarte, Researcher, Instituto do Oriente in Lisbon, Portugal

“The One Belt One Road:  which impacts for Central Asia?”

12.15 – 12.45 Q/A session
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
Session 3: OBOR: Potential for Long-term Transformation

Chair: Caress Schenk, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Nazarbayev University

14.30 – 14.45 Madina Bizhanova, Masters student, Georgetown University, USA

“To what extent and how can the Silk Road Economic Belt contribute to economic diversification of Kazakhstan?”

14.45 – 15.00 Alexander Wolters, Director of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

“Hegemonial or Multilateral? Chinese Investments and the OBOR Initiative in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan”

15.00 – 15.15 Sobir Kurbanov, Teaching Associate at George Washington University, Consultant at World Bank, USA

“The Importance of Trade Liberalization and Investment Climate Reforms in Central Asia in the Context of China One Belt One Road Project”

15.30 – 16.00 Q/A Session
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee-break
Session 4: The Human Dimension

Chair: Serik Orazgaliyev, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University

16.30 – 16.45 Liya Utyasheva, Expert, Institute of Migration Policy, Canada

Yelena Sadovskaya, International Consultant in migration, Kazakhstan

“Human Silk Road – People-to-people aspect of the Belt and Road initiative: a perspective from Central Asia”

16.45 – 17.00 Azad Garibov, Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

“OBOR and Chinese Laborers in Central Asia: Reality and Public Perception”

17.00 – 17.30 Q/A session
17.30 – 18.00 Day 1: wrap-up
Day 2 9 June 2017
Session 5: Impact on Social Structure

Chair: Anara Makatova, National Analytical Center

10.00 – 10.15 Vera Exnerova, Research Fellow, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

“Helping China´s OBOR Project in Central Asia: Role of Local Elites and Civil Society in Improving Impact of PRC in the Region”

10.15 – 10.30 Kemel Toktomushev, Special Assistant to the Director General, University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

“One Belt, One Road: A New Source of Rent for Ruling Elites in Central Asia?”

10.30 – 11.00 Q/A session
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee-break
Session 6: Soft Power Dimensions

Chair: Neil Collins, Professor of Political Science, Nazarbayev University

11.30 – 11.45 Bhavna Dave, Senior Lecturer, University of London, Great Britain

“OBOR and China’s Soft Power: Perceptions of Chinese Norms and Developmental Practices in Kazakhstan”

11.45 – 12.00 Gaukhar Nursha, PhD candidate, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan

“Chinese soft power in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan: A Confucius Institutes case-study”

12.00 – 12.30 Q/A session
12.30 – 13.00 Day 2: wrap-up

Closing remarks

 

Jun
15
Thu
2017
BRUSSELS: Central Asian ‘Jihad’: Home-grown Terror or Marginalised Migrants’
Jun 15 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Agenda

Introduction: Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director, European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

Presentation: Noah Tucker, Associate, Central Asia Program (CAP) and the Central Eurasia – Religion in International Affairs (CERIA) initiative; Senior Editor, RFE/RL Uzbek Service

Comments: Toivo Klaar, Head, Central Asia Division, EEAS; Thomas Renard, Senior Research Fellow, Egmont Institute; and Andrew Stroehlein, European Media Director, Human Rights Watch

Moderators: Kristina Vaiciunaite, Programme Officer Russia and Central Asia, EED; and Jos Boonstra, EUCAM Coordinator, Centre for European Security Studies (CESS)

Outline

In April Europe was jolted by terror attacks in St. Petersburg and Stockholm that appear to have both been carried out by ethnic Uzbek migrants, one from Kyrgyzstan and the other from Uzbekistan. In the ISIS attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, a gunman originally from Uzbekistan killed 39 people and wounded 70. There are no hard figures of the number of Central Asians that have joined the ranks of ISIS and al-Qaida affiliated groups in Syria. Even as hundreds have joined, we have more questions than answers. Conditions make a comprehensive study of the background and recruitment of young people from all five Central Asian republics impossible.

Do the reasons lie in underdevelopment and poverty that have lead to mass labour migration to Russia from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and to a lesser extent Uzbekistan? To what extent are recruits attracted to extremist groups or violent acts by the conditions in their home countries versus the new environments where they face steep challenges as migrant labourers or political exiles? Do Central Asian governments push segments of the population towards radicalisation with repressive policies and human rights offenses? What role does Islam play in Central Asian societies that linger between a Soviet heritage and new national narratives? What role does religion play at all in the attraction of radical militant organisations that claim to represent Islam or to be founding a new homeland? Misunderstanding the causes and mechanisms that drive recruits into violent extremist groups risks that policies in the region and Europe designed to counter extremist messaging may attempt to solve the wrong problems and fail to prevent further attacks – or at worst, could help cause the outcomes they were designed to combat.

At this seminar Noah Tucker will present conclusions from several years of research on Central Asian militant messaging and recruiting and from a recent fieldwork project in Southern Kyrgyzstan. He will outline the background of Jihadism in Central Asia and current links with the conflict in Syria as well as discuss the gaps in research and fieldwork on the factors motivating Central Asians to fight in Syria, the ways they are recruited and the methods currently used by regional authorities to prevent jihadist mobilisation. Proceeding from evidence that Central Asian communities overwhelmingly oppose extremist recruiting and want to combat it, Tucker will argue for a community-based approach seeking to create trust between communities and police – especially when they are isolated as a minority or when living abroad as migrants or refugees.

After the keynote presentation three commentators will react from different angles: First, the role that the EU can play through its Strategy for Central Asia, including the annual High-Level Security Dialogues with Central Asian partners. Second, the implications for Europe and how the EU seeks to counter terrorism, for instance through the 2017 EU Counter-Terrorism Directive? And third, the human rights angle, both in Central Asia and Europe with regard to counter-terrorism measures.

The meeting will take place under the Chatham House rule and will offer ample time for debate among speakers and participants.

This seminar is organised by the Europe-Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) programme of the Centre for European Security Studies (CESS), the Netherlands, in cooperation with the Central Asia Program (CAP) of the George Washington University and hosted by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The seminar is made possible with the support of the Open Society Foundations and the Henry Luce Foundation.

The meeting is followed by a networking lunch.

Click here to register.

Jun
26
Mon
2017
2017 Trans-Caspian Forum: East West Trade & Transit Corridor
Jun 26 all-day

See tentative program. 

Background: The Trans-Caspian East-West Trade and Transit Corridor brings together the Central Asia, Caspian and Black Sea strategic regions to form a viable trade and transit corridor between Europe and East & South-East Asia. Connecting trade, people and economies, the modern trans-Caspian corridor has extensive and integrated network of infrastructure, special economic zones, harmonized customs, cross-border procedures and more along this route.

The United States played an important role in the development of this corridor and its cooperation with our countries has evolved into resilient strategic partnerships. Joint initiatives and projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Southern Gas Corridor have greatly contributed to the increased business between the region and the United States. Moreover, currently underway regional infrastructure projects such as С5+1 Transport Corridor Development, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the multiple Port developments valued over $50 billion have been providing additional business opportunities including increased trade, investments and development of strategic infrastructure for facilitating commercially viable transit that the United States and its companies can benefit from.

Today, ambitious regional infrastructure projects will ensure swift and efficient shipments of all types of goods. These projects will connect Asian and European transport networks, significantly shorten delivery time and save transportation costs for delivering goods from Asian to European markets. Expanding regional transport grids along the Trans-Caspian corridor opens new opportunities for transcontinental shipments, and innovative services. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan form a market of around 150 million consumers. These countries are willing to offer customized and integrated solutions to companies with highly sophisticated supply chains.

Project description: Forum is a practical manifestation of joint willingness of the Trans-Caspian countries to make this corridor a viable option for East-West trade and transit shipments. Regional governments will introduce infrastructure, business, investment, trade and transit opportunities to business leaders, policy-makers and expert community across a variety of multinational industries. The Forum presents a suitable platform for public and private senior executives from regional countries and businesses.

The diplomatic missions of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan will hold the “2nd Trans-Caspian East-West Trade and Transit Corridor” forum in Washington D.C onJune 26-27, 2017. The Forum will take place at the George Washington University followed up by a policy discussion at the US Congress and round-table at the World Bank.

On the first day, June 26, the Forum will be co-hosted by the Central Asia Program at George Washington University and the Caspian Policy Center and it will be open to the wider public including academic, think tank, policy, business community, government officials and policy-makers from six organizing countries along with the United States.

On June 27, the morning session will be held at the United States Congress and will be open to the public, specifically to Congressional staff along with academic, think tank, policy, business community, government officials and policy-makers.

On the second half of June 27, an event will be organized at the World Bank for businesses, think tanks and government officials to discuss practical issues of cooperation along the Trans-Caspian corridor.

More details are available on the event’s website and registration now available.