Events Calendar

Extractive Politics, Trust Deficit & Uncertainty in Afghanistan and Central Asia @ Conference Room 505
Nov 2 @ 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Extractive Politics, Trust Deficit & Uncertainty in Afghanistan and Central Asia @ Conference Room 505

with Nazif Shahrani, Professor, Indiana University-Bloomington

In the framework of the SSRC Eurasian Program’s Workshop “Crossing Boundaries: Merging Eurasian Insights with the Study of Afghanistan” the Central Asia Program is proud to host Nazif Sharhani, Professor of Central Eurasian Studies and Anthropology at Indiana University-Bloomington.
In his presentation Professor Sharhani will discuss the following key questions: What are the most persistent challenges facing Afghanistan and Central Asian republics to over come economic stagnation, increasing poverty, inequality, oppression, radicalism, and terrorism, dependency on outside powers and looming instability and uncertainty in the region? How will the US & NATO withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014 affect political stability in the region? What are the prospects for averting further uncertainty and instability within the region any time soon?
Turkmenistan: Evolutions and Permanence @ Voesar Conference Room
Apr 23 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Turkmenistan: Evolutions and Permanence @ Voesar Conference Room
Luca  Anceschi, University of Glasgow
Myles Smyth, IREX
Sebastien Peyrouse, The George Washington University
This roundtable explores the evolution of Berdymukhamedov’s Turkmenistan. The second president reoriented few aspects of the country’s previous policy, and the long-awaited shifts in domestic and foreign policy have remained limited.Today, Turkmenistan faces steep challenges, among them rebuilding the education and health systems, and managing public expectations of standard of living. To what extent does today’s regime differ from the preceding dictatorship in terms of domestic policy? Has the country’s selective ‘neutrality’ brought Turkmenistan an efficient way to deal with its regional environment? How are the post-Niayzovelites sharing resources and redistributing them?
Regulating Religion in Central Asia @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Sep 16 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Regulating Religion in Central Asia @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412 | Washington | District of Columbia | United States
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A Roundtable Discussion with

Catherine Cosman, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Dillorom Abdulloeva, Human Rights Lawyer and Co-Founder and President of Tashabbus

Mirakmal Niyazmatov, Lawyer and Co-Founder of Tashabbus


Central Asian governments have incorporated their majority religions in efforts to define post-Soviet national identities. At the same time, however, they want to control growing levels of religious affiliation, especially among Muslims, that might act as potential alternative sources to state power. These dual aims are reflected in laws and policies that seek to define the legal limits of the majority religion and also to control the public expression of all religion. Common elements of Central Asian religion laws include: religious groups must undergo complex and intrusive state registration so as to gain legal status; members of unregistered religious groups face fines, police raids and possible terms of imprisonment; official permits are required to produce, import, export and distribute religious materials which can only be sold in officially-approved sites. Governments also strictly limit religious education, children’s participation in religious activities and the public wearing of religious clothing.

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Catherine Cosman will discuss Central Asian laws and policies relating to freedom of religion or belief.  Extremism laws in Central Asia, punish alleged extremist, terrorist, or revolutionary activities without also requiring acts of violence or incitement to imminent violence.  Governments use concern over Islamic extremism to justify criminal penalties against individuals who are alleged to have participated in religious organizations deemed extremist by the state.  Central Asian states usually provide scant public information on religious groups or materials banned for their alleged extremism.

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Dillorom Abdulloeva will discuss Uzbekistan’s headscarf/hijab ban in schools, universities or places of employment. The law uses unclear and confusing terminology for religious attire and for what constitutes a public place. While Uzbekistan’s Committee on Religious Affairs has officially stated that there is no religious attire in Islam, courts have sentenced women for wearing the hijab in public.  Such vague laws contribute to selective legal enforcement in Uzbekistan. Furthermore, this ban is contrary to Uzbekistan’s Constitution, and also contradicts the country’s international human rights obligations.

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Mirakmal Niyazmatov will discuss a 2014 Uzbekistan decree on religious materials. The State Committee for Religious Affairs will give its “expert conclusion” on “religious” materials and then a “relevant government body” will decide to allow or ban them. Under this decree, the government can inspect almost any literature produced and/or imported. Officials can also inspect any electronic device with data storage capacity.  This decree’s vague and expansive provisions can be abused by government officials and violate constitutional rights and Uzbekistan’s international human rights obligations.

Tracking Factors of Change in Tajikistan @ Conference Room 505
Mar 10 @ 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Tracking Factors of Change in Tajikistan @ Conference Room 505
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]12:30 Light Lunch

12:45-1:30pm Keynote Speaker

Eric McGlinchey (George Mason University)
Using a Wide Lens to Assess the Narrow Risk of Radical Islam in Tajikistan

1:30-3:30pm Panel I. Tajikistan Today: Security, Economy and Media

Chair: Sebastien Peyrouse (CAP, GWU)

Muzaffar Olimov (Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan)
Afghan factor and the Threat of Islamic Radicalization: fear of a Tajik ‘Islamic Spring’?

Brent Hierman (Virginia Military Institute)
National Policy, Local Politics: Patterns of Land Reform in Tajikistan

Abdulfattoh Shafiev (Fulbright Scholar, GWU)
On/off, on/off. Blocking Social Media in Tajikistan

Kirgizbek Kanunov (Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society in Tajikistan)
Discussing the political system of Tajikistan


3:30-4:00pm Coffee break

4:00-5:30pm Panel II. Islam and its transforming role in Tajik society

Chair: Marlene Laruelle (CAP, GWU)

Umed Babakhanov (Asia Plus)
The Evolution of Political Islam in Tajikistan: From the Trenches to the Parliament…and Back?

Saodat Olimova (Sharq Analytical Center)
Sharia and Tajikistan’s Law in the Mirror of Public Opinion

Khashayar Beigi (University of California, Berkeley)
Theological Geography and Tajik Migrant Mosques in Russia

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Turkmenistan: Domestic Evolution, Economic Development, and Regional Environment @ Conference Room 505
May 18 @ 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Turkmenistan: Domestic Evolution, Economic Development, and Regional Environment @ Conference Room 505
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]9:00am Introductory Remarks

Marlene Laruelle (CAP, IERES, GWU)

9:15am Session I. Governance Changes in Turkmenistan

Chair: Marlene Laruelle (CAP, IERES, GWU)

Myles Smith (IREX)
Forget political will – Would good governance even be possible in Turkmenistan?

Chris Miller (USAID)
Governance Challenges and Opportunities in Turkmenistan


​​10:45-11:15pm Coffee-break

11:15-12:45pm Session II. Economic Development, Progress and Challenges

Chair: Victoria Clement (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA)

Theresa Sabonis-Helf (National Defense University)
Casting a Wider Net: Turkmenistan and Regional Electricity

Jan Šír (Charles University, Prague)
Going Private? Denationalization and Privatization in Turkmenistan under Berdymukhammedov

Kenyon Weaver (Dentons LLP)
The Transformation of Commercial Law under President Berdymuhamedov.

12:45-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-3:00pm Session III. Turkmenistan in its Regional Environment

Chair: Myles Smith (IREX)

Nazik Muradova (Central Asia Fellow, GWU)
Revisiting Turkmenistan’s energy exports. Path toward a greater diversity of foreign partners?

Slavomir Horák (Charles University, Prague)
Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan. From personal approach to ordinary authoritarian regimes relations?

Sebastien Peyrouse (Central Asia Program, GWU)
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan: Political Pragmatism, Security Tensions?

​​3:00-3:15pm Coffee-break

3:15-4:45pm Session IV. Historical and Social Transformations

Chair: Sebastien Peyrouse (Central Asia Program, GWU)

Victoria Clement (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA)
Intrepid Reformers: Turkmen Jadids

Aynabat Yaylymova (Turkmenistan Health Initiative)
Reproductive Health: How do I say this in Turkmen?

Jahan Taganova (Syracuse University)
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