China’s Vaccine Diplomacy In Central Asia: What Next?
A virtual discussion hosted by the Central Asia Program at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University on June 10, 2021.
As COVID-19 continues to rage throughout Central Asia, China has been sending millions of doses of vaccines, mostly free of cost, to the region, thus expanding its ever-growing footprint there. Alongside vaccine diplomacy, Beijing has also been very active in solidifying its place as the leading player providing a lifeline to the region’s struggling economy, transitioning BRI from major infrastructure deals to forms that meet local demand as well as China’s domestic needs. This shift was apparent during this month’s summit with the Central Asian states, where Beijing set up numerous initiatives that are far less flashy than the infrastructure deals we have become accustomed to seeing. China’s intention is not only to win plaudits for fulfilling short-term vaccine needs in the region, but also to cement its influence and advance its interests in Central Asia in the long term. Please join us on June 10 between 10 and 11:30am EST for a discussion of what comes next in China’s vaccine diplomacy in Central Asia.
Dr. Gül Berna Özcan is a Reader in International Business and Entrepreneurship at Royal Holloway. She has held various academic positions and visiting appointments, including Visiting Professor at the International School of Yonsei University (2015-2019), Research Director of the Chevening Gurukul Fellowship, London School of Economics (2005-2013), Associate Fellow and Political Risk Analyst at the Emerging Markets Group, London School of Economics (2002-2008), Assistant Professor, Middle East Technical University (1994-1996), and Research Assistant, University of Rome “La Sapienza” (1986-1987). She holds a PhD in Economic Geography (London School of Economics), an MSc (Middle East Technical University) and a BSc (Dokuz Eylul) in City and Regional Planning, and a certificate in Architectural Conservation from ICCROM (The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).
Niva Yau is a resident researcher at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Insistute in Philadelphia. Her works focus on China’s foreign policy, trade and security posture in the western pheriphery, including Central Asia and Afghanistan. Originally from Hong Kong, Ms Yau has been based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan since 2018, and has recently been awarded the Albert Otto Hirschman prize for best political economy writing in 2020 by The Washington Post.
Reid Standish is a correspondent for RFE/RL focused on China in Eurasia. He previously worked for Foreign Policy magazine in Washington and Moscow and has reported across Europe and Central Asia for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Politico Europe.
Temur Umarov is an expert on China and Central Asia, and a consultant at Carnegie Moscow Center. He is an alumnus of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Young Ambassadors and the Carnegie Central Asian Futures programs. Temur holds a BA in China Studies from the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), and an MA in International Relations from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
Marlene Laruelle, Moderator
Marlene Laruelle, Ph.D., is Director, Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies; Director, Central Asia Program; Director, Illiberalism Studies Program; Co-Director, PONARS-Eurasia; and Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University. She works on political, social and cultural changes in the post-Soviet space. Marlene’s research explores the transformations of nationalist and conservative ideologies in Russia, nationhood construction in Central Asia, as well as the development of Russia’s Arctic regions. Feature Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr