Events Calendar

The 10th CAP Fellows Seminar “Peacebuilding and Civic Literacy in Central Asia and South Caucasus”
Dec 14 @ 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The 10th CAP Fellows Seminar "Peacebuilding and Civic Literacy in Central Asia and South Caucasus" @ Room 505


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

Towards a New Uzbekistan? The Magnitude, Impact and Limitations of Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s Reforms
Jan 24 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Towards a New Uzbekistan? The Magnitude, Impact and Limitations of Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s Reforms @ Room 412Q (Voesar)

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).

‘Bourgeois’ Islam, Prosperity Theology, and Ethics in Muslim Eurasia
Jan 29 @ 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
‘Bourgeois’ Islam, Prosperity Theology, and Ethics in Muslim Eurasia @ Room 505

9:30-11:30 AM, Session 1: Towards an Islamic Capitalist Ethic in Central Asia

Gül Berna Özcan (Royal Holloway, University of London) Islam, Morality and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Central Asia

Alima Bissenova (Nazarbayev University) Fitting into a Secular Society: The Discreet Charm of Kazakhstani Muslim

Aisalkyn Botoeva (Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School) How Do Capitalist Islamists Make Use of their Money and Envision the

Coffee break: 11:30 AM-12:00 PM

12:00 AM-1:15 PM, Session 2: Alternative Islamic Middle Classness at home and abroad

Aurélie Biard (Central Asia Program, The George Washington University) Ultra-Orthodox Hanafite and Salafist Predications via Halal Business in

Manja Stephan-Emmrich (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) ‘Bourgeois Islam’, Gulf Migration, and Post-national Sentiments

Lunch: 1:15 PM-2:00 PM

2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Session 3: Islamic Business inMigration: the Case of Russia

Rano Turaeva (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) Muslim Female Entrepreneurs in Moscow: From Mosque to Business Office

Izzat Aman (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) Halal Businesses in Russia: Religion vs Capitalism

Morgan Liu (The Ohio State University)

Discussion and Concluding Remarks


Culture and Islam in Late Central Asia
Feb 15 @ 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Culture and Islam in Late Central Asia @ Room 412 Q (Voesar Conference Room)

9:00-11:00 AM, Session 1: Sovietness in Central Asia. Politics, Economy, and Society

Isaac McKean Scarborough (London School of Economics)
The Political Culture of Late Soviet Tajikistan

Riccardo Cucciola (National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)
Rashidov’s diplomacy: Rethinking Uzbekistan as a model for the Third World (1959-1983)

Irina Morozova (Regensburg University)
Socialist Solidarity or Market Rationality: the Debates and Politics on Economy and Resources between Moscow and Central Asian Republics, 1989-1991

Markus Göransson (Stockholm School of Economics)
Brezhnev’s generation. Tajik soldiers of the Afghan War and Political Socialisation

Coffee Break: 11:00-11:30 AM

11:30 AM-2:00 PM, Session 2: Culture and Religion in Late Soviet Central Asia

Artemy M. Kalinovsky (University of Amsterdam)
Adab, Kultura and the Limits of Friendship

Peter Rollberg (George Washington University)
The Axiological Subversion of Soviet Officialdom by Kazakh Cinema in the Early 1980s

Sonja Luehrmann (Simon Fraser University)
Preaching Islam, Preaching Culture: Brezhnev-era Sermon Texts from the Tatar ASSR

Lunch: 2:00-2:45 PM

2:45-4:15 PM, Session 3: Literature, Art, and Nation in a Timeless Perspective

Naomi Caffee (Arizona University)
Notes from the Afterlife? Uzbekistan’s Russophone Poets Then and Now

Ananda Breed (University of Lincoln)
Epic Performances in Central Asia: Negotiating between Past and Present

Diana T. Kudaibergenova (Lund University/Cambridge University)
The Limits of Late Socialist Realism: Art, Power and National Museum in Central Asia

Coffee Break: 4:15-4:30 PM

4:30-6:00 PM, Session 4: Performing and Remembering Culture and Islam

Svetlana Peshkova (University of New Hampshire)
National Traditions and Natural Landscape

Ali Igmen (California State University, Long Beach)
Selective Remembrance of ‘the Good Old Days’: the Lives of Kyrgyz Actresses According to the post-Soviet Interviewees

Christopher Baker (University of Indiana, Bloomington and American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
Ethnic Words and Soviet Things: Coming to Terms with Soviet Civilization in Esenberlin’s Kōşpendiler

This workshop is part of the CERIA Initiative, generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation



Painting by Kazakhstan’s contemporary artist Saule Suleimenova


Central Asia Security Workshop
Mar 5 @ 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Central Asia Security Workshop @ Marvin Center, Room 309
10:30AM – 12:00 PM, Session 1: Central Asia’s Regional Environment. Moves and Stabilities
Alexander Cooley, Columbia University
Central Asia as Part of Greater Eurasia? Prospects and Challenges
Jeffrey Mankoff, CSIS
Whither the Eurasian Economic Union?
Sebastien Peyrouse, The George Washington University
A Sustainable Attractiveness? China’s Projection and Construction of Soft Power in Central Asia
Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
1:00 -2:30 PM, Session 2: Rethinking the Obvious. Changes in Perceptions, Strategies and Policies
Marlene Laruelle, The George Washington University
Kazakhstani Perceptions of External Powers. Unexpected Findings of Survey Analysis
Luca Anceschi, Glasgow University
Rethinking Central Asia’s Energy Security: The view from Astana and Ashgabat
Sean Roberts, The George Washington University
Prospects and Limits to Reform in Uzbekistan
Coffee Break: 2:30-3:00 PM
3:00-4:30 PM, Session 3: Securing and Securitizing Policies
Roger Kangas, National Defense University
US Strategy for South Asia/Afghanistan and its Impact on Central Asia
Eric McGlinchey, George Mason University
“Central Asian Terrorism” and the Limits of Extreme Vetting
Erica Marat, National Defense University
The Politics of Policy Reform in Central Asia
The 11th CAP Fellows Seminar “Youth, Civic Engagement, and Civil Service in Central Asia and Azerbaijan”
May 7 @ 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The 11th CAP Fellows Seminar "Youth, Civic Engagement, and Civil Service in Central Asia and Azerbaijan" @ Room 505
4:00 – 5:00 PM, Session 1: Improving Civic Networks and Civil Service in Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan
Raushanna Sarkeyeva (Founder/Director, Urban Initiatives Public Foundation, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
How Do We Strengthen Bishkek’s Civic Networks?
Elchin Karimov (Independent Researcher, Azerbaijan)
Moving from a Patronage to Merit-Based Civil Service in Azerbaijan
Break: 5:00 – 5:15 PM
5:15 – 6:15 PM, Session 2: Youth and Public Dialogue in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
Dinara Alimkhanova (Chief Manager, National Vocational Education Agency, Kazakhstan)
Un-enrolled and Unemployed: a Pilot Study of Youth in Southern Kazakhstan
Dilmira Matyakubova (Associate Lecturer, Westminster International University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
Who is the Tashkent-City for? Nation-branding and Public Dialog in Uzbekistan
Reception: 6:15 – 7:00 PM
CAP Roundtable on “Muslim Middle Class” vs the Islamic State: National Identity and Revolutionary Justice in Kazakhstan
May 11 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
CAP Roundtable on “Muslim Middle Class” vs the Islamic State: National Identity and Revolutionary Justice in Kazakhstan @ Room 505

Noah Tucker
RFE/RL, CAP Associate

Zhuldyz Tuleouva
Kazakhstan Producer of “Not in Our Name,” RFE/RL project

Serik Beissembayev
Strategia Sociological Center, former CAP fellow

Aurelie Biard
NAC-NU Postdoctoral fellow, GWU

Wendell Schwab
Pennsylvania State University

This roundtable panel will present and discuss preliminary results from new fieldwork, focus groups and video interviews conducted in 2017 and 2018 at urban and rural sites on increasingly bitter and politicized religious divisions in Kazakh society, competing visions of religious authority and how Kazakhstan’s stark economic inequalities can be interpreted from an Islamic perspective.

Drawing on interviews and materials collected over multiple trips to Zhezkazgan, Satpayev, and Kengir, we will also explore why some residents from specific communities embraced the radical vision of violent “social justice” and separation offered by Jihadi Salafism and ISIS, why they left in surprisingly large numbers to fight in foreign civil wars in Syria and Iraq, and how the divisions that remain in these communities may lead to new conflicts in the future.

Uzbekistan’s Newfound Foreign Policy and its Implications for U.S.-Uzbekistan Relations
May 22 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Uzbekistan’s Newfound Foreign Policy and its Implications for U.S.-Uzbekistan Relations @ Lindner Family Commons, Room 602

Join us for a discussion on the outcome of the Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to the United States and the future role of Uzbekistan in the administration’s Central Asia and South Asia strategy.


Scotty Reid
Office Director for Central Asia,
The Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs

Paul Stronski
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Navbahor Imamova
Voice of America-Uzbek service

Marlene Laruelle
George Washington University

“Paradoxes of Legitimation”: Authoritarianism(s) in modern Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
May 24 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Sofya Omarova,
Ph.D. candidate in International Politics and Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Oxford Brookes University

This presentation seeks to explore the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation and how they relate to regime self-legitimation in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Legitimation and legitimacy in authoritarian contexts needs to be understood as a three-part process. The first concerns ‘inputs’: the narratives, discourses and claims of legitimation on behalf of the regime. The second aspect is the process of legitimation: the ways in which actors use and apply these claims in relation to a broader society. Finally, there are ‘outputs’: the extent to which the application of claims about the right to rule is ‘believed’ by the population. It is impossible to make generalized claims about the extent to which citizens in authoritarian states believe in the legitimacy of rulers because it is very difficult to discern genuine beliefs in such closed political contexts. Thus, the main focus is on conceptualizing authoritarian claims of self-legitimation.

The presentation is based on an upcoming book chapter from “Theorizing Central Asia” (Palgrave Macmillan), co-authored with Dr. Rico Isaacs (Reader in Politics, Oxford Brookes University).

The Identity Crisis of Uyghurs Today
May 25 @ 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
The Identity Crisis of Uyghurs Today @ Room 214, The Elliott School of International Affairs 2

Symposium Agenda

9:00-9:40 Refreshments and Registration

9:40-10:00 Opening Remarks

10:00 – 12:00: Session A: Challenges in Uyghur Education & China’s Harsh Policy towards Uyghurs

Chair: Rishat Abbas, Pfizer, USA
1. Rebecca Clothey, Drexel University, USA, “Education Policy Appropriation, Ethnic
Segregation and Cultural Transmission in Urumqi”
2. Nury A. Turkel, Lawyer, USA, “China’s Re-Education Detention Centers: Examination
Uyghur Rights under China’s Constitution and International Human Rights Law”
3. Lauren Hansen Restrepo, Bryn Mawr College, USA, “The Middle Can not Hold:
Unpacking the Role of Development on the Rising Culture War within Urban Uyghur
4. Memet Emin, Colombia University, USA, “Mental Impact of Chinese Harsh Policy
towards Uyghurs”

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:45 – 3:45: Session B: China’s Cultural Assimilation Policy towards Uyghurs

Chair: Ilshat Hassan, Uyghur American Association, USA

1. Louisa Greve, Washington Fellow, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, USA, “The
Campaign to “Sinicize Religion” in the XUAR”
2. Abdulhamit Karahan, Uyghur Academy, TURKEY, “Uyghur Language Crisis in
Education both in Uyghur Homeland and Diaspora”
3. Nicole Morgret, Uyghur Human Rights Project, USA,“Uyghur Intangible Cultural

3:45 – 4:00 Closing Remarks

4:00 – 5:00: Post-Symposium Social

This one-day symposium is organized by:

The Uyghur American Association,

The Uyghur Academy,

The Uyghur Human Rights Project