9:00-11:00 AM, Session 1: The Evolution of Religious and Irreligious Media
Coffee break: 11:00-11:30 AM
11:30 AM-1:00 PM, Session 2: Muslim Heroes and Models
Lunch: 1:00 PM-1:45 PM
1:45 PM-3:45 PM, Session 3: Islamic Debates in the Media
Kyrgyzstan’s Presidential Elections on October 15, 2017, have been particularly competitive, with tensions running high between the two main contenders, Omurbek Babanov and Sooronbai Jeenbekov. Several post-election factors will shape the future direction of the country, both domestically and internationally. How will the winner and the looser manage their post-election relationship? In what way will the political landscape be reshuffled? Answers to these questions will influence several critical issues such as ethnonationalism, migration, and Kyrgyzstan’s relationship with Russia, the West, and the Central Asian neighbors. Join our four experts to discuss the elections’ results, the way the campaign was mediated, its significance for the future of Kyrgyzstan, and implications for the U.S.
Dr. Sanat Kushkumbayev (Deputy Director, Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan) will present the latest report of the Almaty club (a Central Asia Policy Group) on Islam and the State in Central Asia.
Comparing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, the report analyzes evolution in legislation, the secularization of Islam, Islamic education, and the revival of public piety (the use of the veil). This presentation will be in Russian, with translation in English.
Support for the report was provided by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
with Alisher Siddique, Director of RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service
In 2017, four terrorist attacks were carried out by Uzbek citizens or people of Uzbek origin in several Western cities. Contrary to the media discourse, Uzbekistan is not a hotbed of terrorism, nor does it “export terrorists.” However, many Uzbek nationals leave Uzbekistan for work, becoming labor migrants. How and why did some Uzbek migrants get radicalized in different contexts–the U.S., Europe, and Russia? How does the evolving political climate in Uzbekistan change the state’s relationship to Islam? What are some possible answers to the challenge of migration integration?
In partnership with RFE/RL
Light lunch will be served
Based on Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” this Kazakhstani Oscar submission tells the story of Kasym, an old shepherd who lives on the remote steppes of Kazakhstan. The old man loves international soccer, horses, his flock and family and tries to bond with his grandson Erali. In the spirit of Hemingway’s original text, Kasym uses every trick up his sleeve to survive the elements and out with the wolves.
With Prof. Robert Crews
The leftist coup in Afghanistan in 1978 and the Iranian revolution of 1979 unleashed a radical political movement among the Afghan Shia. Since 2001, this movement has achieved new momentum, and Afghan Shi’i activism has become central both to Afghan national politics and to global Shi’ism. This talk examines how Afghan Shi’i elites imagined a revolutionary project that would transform Islam and the Afghan nation – and explores how this project continues to shape the wider region today.
Prof. Robert D. Crews is an historian whose research and teaching interests focus on Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, Russia, Islam, and Global History. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he received an MA from Columbia University and a PhD degree in History from Princeton University. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The New York Times. His course offerings include “The Global Drug Wars,” “The Islamic Republics: Politics and Society in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,” and “Modern Islamic Movements.” His latest research project explores Shia politics in Afghanistan.
Co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Institute for Middle East Studies, and the Central Asia Program
4:00 – 5:30 PM, Session 1: New Perspectives on Grassroots Peacebuilding
Diana Mamatova (former Project Coordinator, the United Nations in Kyrgyzstan) Grassroots Peacebuilding: Cross-Border Cooperation in the Ferghana Valley
Jafar Usmanov (former Lead Researcher at ACT Development Group, Tajikistan) Youth as Agents of Peace at the Tajik-Kyrgyz Border
Jeyhun Valiev (Independent Researcher, Azerbaijan) Assessing the Impact of NGO Peacebuilding Programs in the South Caucasus:
the Case of Nagorno-Karabakh
Break: 5:30 – 5:45 PM
5:45 – 6:45 PM, Session 2: Empowerment through Civic Literacy in Kazakhstan
Karlygash Kabatova (Astana Paper-Lab ResearchGroup, Kazakhstan) Overcoming a Taboo: Normalizing Sexuality Education in Kazakhstan
Anna Gussarova (Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies)
Countering Extremism versus Freedom of Online Expression: the Case of Kazakhstan
Reception: 6:45 – 8:00 PM
Since taking office in September 2016, the new President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has initiated many reforms, ranging from economic and social policies aimed at improving the investment climate and the education and health systems to domestic and foreign policy changes aimed at eliminating any cult of personality, providing greater freedom of media and expression, and improving relations with neighboring States.
The pace and scope of the initiatives have taken many academics and experts by surprise and raises several questions. Are these reforms sustainable, and how do they impact the lives of Uzbekistani citizens? What are the consequences for relations between Uzbekistan and the international community? Do they provide an opportunity for Western countries to strengthen their relations with Uzbekistan and to improve their image, in the country?
Four panelists will discuss these issues with a focus on specific areas that President Mirziyoyev has targeted for reform, including civil society (Sean Roberts, GWU), economic development (Eric Rudenshoild, USAID), media (Navbahor Imamova, Voice of America) and education (Sebastien Peyrouse, GWU).