Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program

The George Washington University – Elliott School of International Affairs’ Central Asia Program (CAP) welcomes applications for its Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program.

The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program (CAAFP) is intended for young professionals – scholars, government officials, policy experts, human rights and activists – who want to enhance their research and analytical skills and seek to become public policy leaders in their respective countries. More generally, the fellowship program seeks to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and to build lasting intellectual networks among the Central Asian, Azerbaijani, and U.S. scholarly and policy communities.

CAAFP fellows will spend five months in residence at GW, where they will participate in tailor-made programs and be introduced to U.S. policy and expert communities in both Washington, DC and New York. Fellows are required to attend seminars, workshops and training sessions, to write one policy brief on a predetermined theme, and to present their research at two public seminars. Throughout their fellowship, fellows will be mentored by program faculty affiliates.

Applications are now closed. Check back in fall 2018

Spring 2018 CAAFP Fellows

Dinara Alimkhanova is a young researcher in the education area, specializing in vocational education and training. Having graduated from Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan) she worked at a think tank under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. She has held internships at the European Training Foundation (under European Commission, Italy) and UNESCO (Israel), which focused on youth education and training, matching and developing skills in the labor market, involving early school leavers into education etc. During her fellowship at the Central Asia Program, Dinara will study NEET (youth who are Not in education, employment and training) phenomena in Kazakhstan and provide policy recommendations on preventing their growth and involvement strategies in education and labor market.

Elchin Karimov is a researcher in the area of nationalism, ethno-political conflicts and democracy in post-communist space, and policy research. He obtained his Master’s degree in International Relations: Europe from Visegrad Perspective, a joint degree by four universities in Central Europe in early 2016. He did his junior fellowship at Caucasus Research Resource Center Azerbaijan (CRRC Azerbaijan) in April-September, 2016, on a research project that explored reactions of Azerbaijani civil society actors to the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April, 2016. In the past, Elchin was involved in civic activism and Track Two cross-border engagements between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from different aspects. During his fellowship, Elchin will focus on comparative analysis of ambitious reform initiatives of Republics of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, following the sharp falling of oil prices in world market in 2014-2015. The research will contribute to comparative understanding of both countries’ strategic roadmaps, analyze the initiative within politico-economic context of both countries as well as provide relevant policy recommendation.


Dilmira Matyakubova is a young professional specializing in Higher Education, Public Policy and Political Economy. Dilmira is an Associate Lecturer at Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT). She worked as a Senior Academic Policy Officer at WIUT (2015- 2017), providing expertise in the area of developing academic policies and regulations in Higher Education. Dilmira is a graduate of OSCE Academy (2013-2014), Politics and Security (Central Asia) program, and she also graduated from a Postgraduate Course on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at WIUT (2016). Dilmira’s research interests include Political Economy, Nation-building and National Identity, Ethnic Relations/state policies on ethnic minorities, Transnational Education (Central Asia). She studied post-conflict developments in south Kyrgyzstan during her Master’s at OSCE. Dilmira is currently working on a research paper on Transnational Education and its impact on youth mobility and employability in Uzbekistan and socially perceived prestige of international education in the country. As a CAP fellow, she will be studying nation branding strategies of Uzbekistan through an urban transformation project “Tashkent city” to examine the extent to which the process involves public dialog.

Raushanna Sarkeyeva is a founder and director of Urban Initiatives Public Foundation (Kyrgyzstan). She studied Change Management at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Since 2013 she has been involved in urban development processes, such as the development of Bishkek City’ strategy, organizing first open discussion platforms on urban issues (Urban Talks, Bishkek Urban Forum). With her colleagues from Urban Initiatives PF, she conducted various studies of social capital, public spaces and quality of life in Kyrgyzstani cities. She developed an agenda of the Forum of Cities (2017) and a methodology for the multi-disciplinary study of 4 regional cities.  She also worked as a local consultant for the World Bank’s Urban Development Project and helped to draft policy recommendations for the Green Urban Growth Policy Note and recommendations for law-drafters on law on Integrated Urban Planning. Key areas of her current work are placemaking, civic engagement and use of urban data for better governance. Together with researchers Emil Nasritdinov (American University of Central Asia), Gulnara Ibraeva and Mehrigul Ablezova (Laboratory for Opinion Studies), she is completing a research “Structure and Texture of Bishkek Urban Communities”. During the fellowship term, Raushanna will study the potential of urban communities to partner and collaborate as a response to acute urban issues.


Previous CAAFP Fellows and Their Publications