Welcome to our Alumni Community!
CAP Alumni Association is a network of Central Asian fellows who have participated in The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program (CAAFP) and the New Voices from Uzbekistan Fellowship Program at the Central Asia Program since 2013. In addition to publishing papers through our program and other well-known research platforms during their stay in Washington D.C., our alumni are currently actively engaged in their own projects in Central Asia and around the world. We are proud of our fellows and their valuable support for local scholarship in Central Asia. This page aims to bring our alumni community together and raise awareness of their projects and endeavors related to Central Asia.
Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program (CAAFP) Fellows
Ilaha Abasli’s research at GWU explores ways of integrating local (grassroots) experience and knowledge into sustainability and development policies in the post-Soviet context (specifically Azerbaijan). She is a PhD researcher at Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus Rotterdam University. Ilaha holds a Master’s degree in International Development and Emerging Economies from King’s College London. She is also engaged in international development and sustainability consultancy work with the FAO (UN), the GIZ, and local NGOs. Besides her fieldwork and research, Ilaha has taught “Economic Development Models” to graduate students at Azerbaijan State University of Economics. Her broader research interests include the circular economy and inclusive development, particularly in the context of developing economies; ways of scaling up frugal local innovations/solutions to the policy level; and fostering sustainability in emerging economies through participatory policies. Ilaha also co-founded the Azerbaijani organization Femiskop—Feminist Research Collective, which curates critical content on gender, environmental, and socio-economic justice issues.
Rustam Muhamedov’s research at GWU focuses on Turkmenistan’s youth studying abroad, their knowledge of gender issues in Turkmenistan, and their willingness to engage with addressing these issues. Rustam is an independent researcher who focuses in particular on Central Asia and Turkmenistan. His research interests include political and security developments in the region, particularly in Turkmenistan; digitization initiatives; cybersecurity; youth; and education. He has diverse work experience in the fields of education and research. In addition, he has experience of engaging with the OSCE network, having formerly been an intern on the Central Asia Desk at the OSCE Secretariat and participated in the ECPR/ODIHR Summer School on Political Parties and Democracy and several of the OSCE’s youth-focused initiatives. Rustam holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (2019) and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from American University in Bulgaria (2014).
Aida Naizabekova is a researcher interested in gender, media, and public policy. She previously interned at leading Australian communication agencies and is currently a Public Relations Specialist at a leading IT company developing socially significant startups for positive social impact in Kazakhstan. She holds a MA in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Sydney, Australia (2018) and a BH in Foreign Philology from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
Zhaslan Nurbayev is a PhD / Candidate of Sciences in History and Associate Professor in the Department of Regional Studies of L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University. In 2014-2015, he completed an internship under the Bolashak Scholarship program at the George Washington University, focusing on “Political Problems of International Relations and Global Development.” Between 2015 and 2019, he participated in expert meetings within the framework of the project “IQ-Club of Russia and Kazakhstan: Development of Expert Dialogue between the Border Regions of the EAEU.” He is a graduate of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan Public Policy Initiative, where he researched ungraded schools in Kazakhstan. In 2019, he took part in the Central Asian School of Analysts Cabar. Asia, implemented by IWPR, together with the OSCE Academy. His research interests include the history of religions, social policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and education reform.
Anastassiya Reshetnyak holds a BA and MA in Area Studies from al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Almaty). She is currently a PhD student at L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University (Nur-Sultan). Her research interests include the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism, societal security, and youth policy. She works at KazISS under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; she is also a part of PaperLab Research Group. Anastassiya has worked with UN institutions (UNDP, UNODC, IOM) as a national expert/consultant and participated in USAID projects on PVE. She is an alumna of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan’s Public Policy Initiative Program (Almaty, Kazakhstan), the Leaders against Intolerance and Violent Extremism Train-the-Trainer Seminar (OSCE, Vienna, Austria), and internship programs at the Hudson Institute (Washington, D.C., US) and the Institute for National Security Studies (Tel Aviv, Israel). Anastassiya’s research at GWU focuses on improving youth resilience in the face of violent extremism in Kazakhstan.
Syinat Sultanalieva is a Central Asian academic with a PhD from the University of Tsukuba, Japan. In her academic research, she studies feminist narratives and LGBTQ activism and narratives from a decolonial point of view. She is a recipient of the MEXT Japanese governmental scholarship, as well as the Fall 2020 CAAFP Fellowship at the George Washington University. Prior to academia, Syinat was actively involved in women’s rights and LGBTQ activism in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. She is currently working as a Central Asia Researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Lola Ulugova (Lolisanam)
NEW VOICES FROM UZBEKISTAN FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM FELLOWS
Eldar Asanov is a linguist and journalist whose research at GW is dedicated to the problems of mass media, censorship and public debate in Uzbekistan. Eldar has extensive experience working in Uzbek media in digital and print journalism as well as in television. He is also a founder of the popular scientific blog “Asanov Format”. He was an editor and project manager at the “Daryo.uz” news portal and participates in the Internews Network and EU joint grant on opposing violent extremism in Central Asia. His other research interests include nouvelle histoire of Central Asia, mass media, language policy, anthropology, and nation building in Central Asia. He earned a BA in Mass Media and an MA in Public Relations from National University of Uzbekistan. He completed a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Tashkent State University.
Donohon Abdugafurova researches women’s religious identity and motivations for hijab-wearing in Uzbekistan while at GW. She earned a BA in Uzbek Philology from Namangan State University and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wyoming. Donohon is currently a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Islamic Civilizations Studies Program at Emory University. Her research interests are related to gender, Central Asian intellectual history, Sufism, women’s literature and life writing, education, upbringing and ethics in Uzbek society. Her articles are published in Central Asian Affairs, The Journal of Georgetown Gender and Law, and others.
Sherzod Eraliev analyzes the impact of return migration of highly-skilled Uzbeks on socio-political changes in Uzbekistan while at GW. Sherzod is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki where he is a member of the research team Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia. He has extensive work experience with local media and international organizations in Uzbekistan including UNDP. His research interests include migration policies, migration regimes, skilled migration, migration and religion, and politics in Central Asia/Eurasia. He received his MA from the University of Manchester, UK, and PhD from the University of Tsukuba, Japan.
Fotima Israilova researches female entrepreneurs as the next wave of economic success in Uzbekistan while at GW. Fotima argues that women are key to reducing income inequality and growing the Uzbek economy. She works for the United Nations Development Program in Tashkent. She earned a BA in Business Administration from Westminster International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Firdavs Navruzov is an education leader and expert researching private sector education in Uzbekistan while at GW. In Uzbekistan Firdavs manages the language and tutoring school “LTC Leader” and a private school “The Knowledge Academy”. He participated in the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program in 2015 at the US Department of Education. He earned a BA and MA in English Philology and Literary Criticism from Bukhara State University, and an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from Minnesota State University on a Fulbright Foreign Student Fellowship.
Bakhrom Radjabov focuses on the application of public sector innovations in the Eurasian region and during his stay at GW examines social innovations in local governments and communities in Uzbekistan.Previously Bakhrom worked as a Senior Administrative Assistant at OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission to the Republic of Uzbekistan. From 2012-2014 he worked at UNDP in Uzbekistan where he led programmatic efforts in the areas of public outreach and promotion of social innovation in Uzbekistan. He holds an MA in International Studies from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and an MA in Global Political Economy from the University of Kassel in Germany. He is currently completing his Ph.D. at the University of Tsukuba. on Critical Analysis of UNDP Supported Social Innovations in Governance: Case Studies of Armenia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva is an education expert and researcher who studies trends in internationalization of higher education in Uzbekistan while at GW. Dilnoza’s focus is the proliferation of foreign university branch-campuses and their role in reforming the higher education sector. She earned an BA and an MA in English Philology and Linguistics at State University of World Languages, Uzbekistan. She also holds a MA in International Studies from the University of Tsukuba, Japan.
Surayyo Usmanova’s research while at GW explores opportunities for Uzbekistan’s new linkages for tourism as factors for economic development and integration into the international community. Surayyo teaches Public International Law and International Tourism Law at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, where she also leads the Council of Youth Scientists for International Law Faculty in Uzbekistan. Her research interests include international security law, Muslim Law, international-legal aspects of tourism and legal issues of parliamentary diplomacy. She earned a BA in International Law and an MA in Diplomatic and Consular Law at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, where she is currently a PhD candidate in International Law.
Kamilla Zakirova’s research at GWU will examine how integrating minorities and vulnerable groups will improve human capital in Uzbekistan. Kamilla has worked for the Eurasia Foundation with the Uzbekistan team since 2016, focusing on vulnerable groups and minorities. Her experience includes working for a leading telecommunication company in Uzbekistan, engagement with U.S. Mission to the OSCE, and consulting a Washington, DC based think tank on counter terrorism. She earned a BA from Tashkent University of Information Technology.
Karlygash Kabatova (The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program, Fall 2017)
Karlygash Kabatova is a researcher and advocate for youth sexuality and gender education in Kazakhstan. She has been studying the topic since 2017, both independently and while at the Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program (George Washington University, U.S.) and The John Smith Programme for Central Asia (UK). In 2018 Karlygash founded and runs UyatEmes.kz — an educational project to help young people and parents to learn about healthy relationships, sexual and reproductive health and rights that she continues to run. Karlygash is also a member of PaperLab (a public policy research group based in Astana, Kazakhstan), where she is involved in applied research and project coordination. Karlygash holds an MA in Politics and Security (Central Asia) from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and is an alumna of the Soros Foundation/International Centre for Policy Advocacy Public Policy fellowship program. Her research interests include sexuality education, gender issues, and human rights.
Daniyar Kosnazarov (The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program, Fall 2018)
Daniyar Kosnazarov is the Advisor to the President of Almaty Management University and was formerly Chief Editor of the progressive media outlet Steppe. He has experience working in both the government and private think tanks in Kazakhstan, and previously served as Chair of the Department of Strategic Analysis at Narxoz University, evaluating strategy implementation. He holds an MA in International Relations and Regional Studies from Tsukuba University, Japan (2012), and a BA in International Relations from Selcuk University, Turkey (2009).
Malika Toqmadi (The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program, Fall 2015)
Malika Toqmadi holds an MA in Politics and Security in Central Asia from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and an MA in Global and European Security from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Malika is a co-founder of PaperLab, a public policy research center based in Kazakhstan. Previously, she was a visiting scholar at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo, Norway, and the George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, and worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank. She co-edited “Kazakhstan’s Shadow Report to the UN on the Observance of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” (ICESCR) and was a contributing author of the Freedom House’s “Nations in Transit”report in 2018-2021.
Nations in Transit Kazakhstan – 2020
Freedom House, 2020
Регистрация по месту жительства и безопасность человека в Казахстане
Фонд Сорос-Казахстан, 2020
Мифы о миграции в Казахстане
Nations in Transit Kazakhstan – 2018
Freedom House, 2018
Музеи: в поисках новой модели
(в соавторстве с Александрой Цай)
Фонд Сорос-Казахстан, 2018
Propiska as a Tool of Discrimination in Central Asia
Университет Джорджа Вашингтона, 2016
Пути реформирования системы регистрации населения по месту проживания в РК
Фонд Сорос-Казахстан, 2015
10 причин отменить прописку в Казахстане
Rise of the Dragon: Xinjiang and Central Asia in Chinese Foreign Policy
Bakhrom Radjabov (New Voices from Uzbekistan Fellowship Program, Spring 2019)
Dr. Radjabov is an Adjunct Professor at Webster University (Tashkent campus). He is an epert on social innovations, political economy and international development. He was trained in social entrepreneurship and humanitarian innovations at the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI), Brown University and in public policy at the Central Asian Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, GWU. He has also received prestigious scholarships from the German and Japanese governments, and participated in various international programs run by the U.S. State Department and the Rumsfeld Foundation.
Uzanalytics: Ижтимоий инновация ҳамкорлик дегани Баҳром, сиз “ижтимоий инновация” (social innovation) тушунчаси ва унинг пост-Совет мамлакатларида татбиқ қилиш усуллари ҳақида илмий иш олиб боргансиз. Аввало, “ижтимоий инновация” тушунчасига тўхталиб ўтсак, у нима ва қандай шаклларга эга? Мисоллар тариқасида тушунтириб ўтсангиз.
CAAN: Что такое социальные переводы? Пример узбекских студентов в Германии и Японии Термин «социальные» переводы предложила в своей книге 2001 года «The Transnational Villagers («Транснациональные жители») гарвардский социолог Пегги Левитт, чтобы привлечь внимание к тому факту, что мигранты отправляют домой больше, чем деньги. Она выделила, по крайней мере, четыре типа социальных переводов – нормы, практики, идентичности и социальный капитал, которые пересылали мигранты в Бостоне себе домой – в деревню в Доминиканской Республике.
«The development and implementation of innovations in public administration remains the prerogative of the government; citizens, non-governmental organizations and other actors are not sufficiently involved in this process»,- mentioned political economist Bakhrom Radjabov, in his article for CABAR.asia.
Aviation Reforms in Uzbekistan: New Yet Old? CABAR.asia
“If the government of Uzbekistan truly wished to liberalize the aviation industry, it needs to renounce the support for the national air carrier,” said political economist Bakhrom Radjabov in an article just for CABAR.asia.
Since January, COVID-19 (coronavirus) has reached the level of a global pandemic. At first, some Central Asian republics seemed to be virus-free islands with zero confirmed infection cases. Afghanistan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 24, followed by a closure of the borders with other Central Asian republics. Kazakhstan discovered its first cases of COVID-19 on March 13, and Uzbekistan on March 15.
Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva (New Voices from Uzbekistan Fellowship Program, Spring 2019)
Dilnoza is an early career researcher and PhD candidate in Political Sciences & International Relations at the Australian National University. Dilnoza’s prior professional experience as a former lecturer and as UNICEF staff member in Central Asia has provided her with a unique combination of research and policy development skills. Dilnoza has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Central Asia Program of Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, and Tubingen University, Germany. For her teaching and tutoring at ANU, she was awarded the title of Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Dilnoza also an MA in International Studies from Tsukuba University, Japan. Her MA thesis on shadow education received the “Outstanding Thesis Award” at Tsukuba University. Dilnoza also holds an MA (with distinction) in English Linguistics and BA (with distinction) in teaching English as a Foreign Language from the Uzbekistan State World Languages University. Dilnoza has published articles on civil society, higher education politics and internationalization.
The democratization of higher education (HE) has been interpreted from various perspectives in many country-specific case studies. Yet, it has been overlooked that in authoritarian regimes the democratization of HE may involve the development of freedom of expression, an element taken for granted in democratic societies. Growing research on the implications of COVID-19 on HE fails to cover the emergence of democratization of HE in the form of freedom of expression practiced by university students. This research examines post-Soviet Uzbekistan to analyse how the practising of freedom of expression emerged among the student body during the pandemic era in the country and how the Uzbek government responded to and resolved the matter. Based on this case, it is argued that in authoritarian states the HE democratization framework can include the development of freedom of expression in the form of student protests that, in this article’s case, emerge as concomitant to the pandemic. Read more
Volume 7, Issue 2
“Franchise” Branch Campuses in Uzbekistan: The Internationalisation of Higher Education as a Solution?
Internationalization transformed the way Higher Education (HE) is provided. Used correctly, internationalization can bring a useful exchange of services and resources into a country’s HE sector. Although there is a growing body of research on HE internationalization broadly, current scholarship overlooks the correlation of excessive reliance on opening of foreign university branches as a way to internationalize the HE sector and the development of the local HE system. This research thus provides the first insights into how the internationalization of HE may not necessarily solve a developing country’s problems in the local HE sector. Using the case of Uzbekistan, it argues that, in the absence of systematic reforms in the local HE system, HE reform that over-relies on the imported internationalization in the form of foreign university branches is not sustainable. Such “franchise” or “imported” internationalization does not contribute to the development of local HE system.
Volume 7, Issue 4
Political Liberalization and Emerging Civil Society in Uzbekistan: The Cases of Public Reaction to Demolition Program and the Use of Forced Labor
Conventional wisdom highlights civil society as an integral component of a democratic society. Due to the dominance of the state in all aspects of life, civil society was largely absent in Uzbekistan until the change of government in 2016. The new President Mirziyoyev’s liberalization policy towards media gave birth to a strong group of opinion formers visible on social media platforms, otherwise known as “bloggers”. This paper seeks to identify how Mirziyoyev’s liberalization policy affects Uzbekistan’s path to consolidate its democracy. It argues that the recent political liberalization showed early signs of the emergence of civil society groups. To support this argument, the paper uses the case of two unrelated incidents: large scale demolition of people’s properties by the khokimiyat in Urganch, and forced labor of public servants in the Bukhara region.
Elmurat Ashiraliev (The Central Asia-Azerbaijan Fellowship Program, Spring 2019)
Elmurat Ashiraliev is currently an independent researcher. He was a visiting fellow at CAP in Spring 2019. Elmurat holds an MA in Central Asian Studies from AUCA and is interested in religion in Central Asia.
Check out the second season of Elmurat’s podcast series called Киши (Human) on religious diversity in Kyrgyzstan. “Kishi means Human in Kyrgyz. It is a podcast about us, humans. Welcome to the second season! In this season we will explore religious life of Kyrgyz people.”
Kyrgyzstan Attempts to Isolate Local Islam Kyrgyz authorities profess a separation of state and religion while also paradoxically preferring one version of Islam. “It is impossible to isolate Islam within the borders of a particular country and there is no necessity for doing so. The Kyrgyz government should handle