Events Calendar

Central Asia Security Workshop 2019 @ Lindner Family Commons (6th Floor)
Mar 18 @ 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Central Asia Security Workshop 2019 @ Lindner Family Commons (6th Floor)

10:30 am – 12:00 pm Panel I: China’s Silk Road Challenged

Chair: Marlene Laruelle, The George Washington University


Alexander Cooley, Columbia University

End of the Silk Road? How Growing US-China Strategic Competition Might Impact US Central Asian Policy


Sean Roberts, The George Washington University

Bumps on the Belt and Road: How Mass Internment of Local Ethnic Groups in Xinjian Complicate China-Central Asia Relations


Timur Dadabaev, University of Tsukuba

Desecuritizing “Silk Road” Uzbekistan’s Cooperation Agenda with Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea in a Post-Karimov Era


12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 -3:00 pm Panel II: Governance and Societies in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan


Chair: Alexander Cooley, Columbia University


Navbahor Imamova, Voice of America, Uzbek Service

Uzbekistan Today: How Uzbek Interlocutors In-Country and Abroad View Change


Mirakmal Niyazmatov, Co-founder and President, Tashabbus Inc.

Assessment of Legal Reforms in Uzbekistan: What is Missing?


Nargis Kassenova, Harvard University

Can Kazakhstan’s Pursuit of Good Governance Provide for its National Security?


Marlene Laruelle, The George Washington University

Kazakhstan’s Youth, National Identity Transformations and their Political Consequences


3:00-3:30 pm Coffee Break


3:30-5:30 pm Panel III: Radicalization and Securitization

Chair: Nargis Kassenova, Harvard University


Edward Lemon, Daniel Morgan Graduate School

Countering Violent Extremism in Central Asia After the Caliphate


Emil Nasritdinov, The George Washington University

Vulnerability and Resilience of Young People in Kyrgyzstan to Radicalization, Violence, and Extremism: Analysis Across Five Domains


Maria Omelicheva, National Defense University; Lawrence Markowitz, Rowan University

Between “Bandits” and Local Insurgencies: The Complex Nature of Political Violence In Central Asia


Alexander Maier, Columbia University

The Securitization of Central Asian Migrants’ Religious Practices

America through Kyrgyz Eyes: The Art of a Visiting Scholar @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Mar 22 @ 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
America through Kyrgyz Eyes: The Art of a Visiting Scholar @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412

Since August 2018, when Emil Nasritdinov arrived in Washington DC from Kyrgyzstan, he has been working on his main Fulbright research project, writing a book about Kyrgyz labor migration to Russia. However, this year was not just about reading and writing: he pursued his other passion – drawing and painting. He took a bit of time every few days or so to paint what he saw around him: streets, houses, parks, historical landmarks, fire hydrants – everything that looked interesting or could tell some kind of a story. Emil’s favorite medium was always watercolor: he loves its fluidity, transparency and unpredictability. He also sketches a lot and from time to time he paints in oil. He painted a lot of scenes in Washington DC and in Arlington where he lives with his family, but also scenes from other cities where he travelled: New York, Pittsburg, Princeton, St Thomas.

Please join us for the opening of Emil’s exhibition “America through Kyrgyz Eyes: Art of a Visiting
Scholar”, which will feature 30 pieces of artwork painted this year.

Emil Nasritdinov is a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Elliot School of International Affairs, GWU. He has been teaching anthropology and doing research at the American University of Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek since 2007. However, his main academic training, which partially explains his interest in visual arts, is in the field of architecture and urban planning. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The Status of Tajikistan’s Political Opposition Abroad: A Roundtable with John Heathershaw, Marintha R. Miles, and Nate Schenkkan  @ Room 505
Apr 9 @ 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
The Status of Tajikistan's Political Opposition Abroad: A Roundtable with John Heathershaw, Marintha R. Miles, and Nate Schenkkan  @ Room 505
John Heathershaw (University of Exeter)
The vulnerability and protection of political oppositions in exile: political and legal perspectives on the case of Tajikistan
Since the end of the UN-mandated peace process following its civil war, the Government of Tajikistan has gradually eviscerated all political opposition. In 2015, the last remaining opposition party, and only legal Islamic party in Central Asia, was declared a terrorist organization and outlawed. Real political opposition now exists only in exile, where its members are subjected to methods of transnational repression. This situation presents international political and legal challenges. How do those states, including the United States, which were guarantors of the peace agreement and supported political pluralism formally and informally in Tajikistan for many years respond to this new situation? Is it possible to recognize certain Tajik opposition movements with the legal status of ‘official opposition in exile’ so that these foreign states may continue to meet with them and support political pluralism?
Marintha R. Miles (George Washington University and George Mason University)
Toward the Support of Political Pluralism in Tajikistan
The collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent civil war founded a climate of restless politics in Tajikistan. This climate, forged with a culture of migration to Russia, creates a mechanism for the advancement of contentious politics abroad. This presentation first maps these movements and alliances and next explores best options for support of political pluralism and human rights within Tajikistan. What do we mean by opposition? Could formal recognition of movements abroad hurt both asylum seekers and political pluralism? What are the best options to bolster political pluralism within the country?
Nate Schenkkan (Freedom House)
Uzbekistan’s Economic Reforms: A Report Card with Bekhzod Khoshimov @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Apr 15 @ 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

In this presentation, Bekhzod Khoshimov gives an assessment of the economic reforms in Uzbekistan. He reviews reforms in the areas of property rights, international trade, fiscal policy, monetary policy, agricultural policy, the propiska system, education, land reform, and privatization in Uzbekistan over the past two years. He also summarizes the general business climate, describing which reforms have already taken place, and will highlight the major impediments for the future of economic reforms.

Bekhzod Khoshimov is a PhD student at the Wisconsin School of Business. His research interests include entrepreneurship, human capital, and the economics of innovation. He is an independent columnist for and author of the popular economics blog and telegram channel Iqtisodchi Kundaligi.


CANCELLED: The Social Organization of the Unspoken: Informal Organizations in Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan with author Suzanne Levi-Sanchez @ Lindner Family Commons, 6th floor
Apr 17 @ 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Suzanne Levi-Sanchez presents her forthcoming book (University of Michigan Press) on the relationships between informal organizations and the state, civil society, and kinship networks along the Tajik/Afghan border. Her fieldwork spans six years on both sides of Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan, researching how local leaders and organizations impact border and state stability as well as drug, human, weapons, and gemstone trafficking. Through detailed case studies, her work reveals how informal organizations provide a buffer from state control.

Suzanne Levi-Sanchez, PhD, is the Assistant Professor for National Security Affairs at U.S. Naval War College. She is an experienced educator, field researcher, and analyst with subject matter expertise in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, political identity, informal institutions, local leadership, borders, ethnographic methods, and gender.