Events Calendar

Uyghur Neighborhoods in Kazakhstan @ Conference Room 505
May 16 @ 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Uyghur Neighborhoods in Kazakhstan @ Conference Room 505

with Sean Roberts, Associate Professor and Director, International Development Studies Program, GWU

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Uyghurs of Kazakhstan, like many others in the former USSR, began to resurrect and re-invent traditional cultural practices that had been repressed during the Soviet period as either contrary to socialist atheism or as remnants of a “feudal past.” These traditions included daily practices and rituals based in local communities as well as the informal structure of neighborhood governance that regulates such practices. Since the 1990s, the importance of these neighborhood structures and practices to Uyghur daily life in Kazakhstan have gradually increased, and most recently the informal structure of neighborhood governance has even been scaled up to create a Republic-wide organization that represents Uyghur interests to the government of Kazakhstan. This lecture will discuss the evolution of local Uyghur neighborhoods in Kazakhstan over the last twenty years, focusing on these communities’ roles in both cultural resurrection and political mobilization.

Sean R. Roberts, PhD is a professor at the Elliott school and the Director of the International Development Studies program. He is a cultural anthropologist who has done extensive fieldwork among the Uyghur people of Central Asia and China, and worked for USAID in Central Asia on democracy programs. In 1996 he produced a documentary film on the Uyghur people titled, Waiting for Uighurstan.

Border Security Assistance in Central Asia: Implications for Post-2014 Afghanistan @ Voesar Conference Room
Jun 21 @ 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Border Security Assistance in Central Asia: Implications for Post-2014 Afghanistan @ Voesar Conference Room
with George Gavrilis, Executive Director,The Hollings Center for International Dialogue
A discussion of Central Asia’s Border Woes & the Impact of International Assistance
Occasional Paper Series, Central Eurasia Project, Open Society Foundations
Please join us for a discussion on border security assistance in Central Asia and its implications for the 2014 U.S. and NATO drawdown in Afghanistan. Over the last decade, the states of Central Asia have hosted a number of international programs
designed to overhaul, equip, and reform the region’s border control practices aimed at making the borders more secure and
more open  more secure against threats such as narco trafficking and crossborder extremism and more open to licit civilian crossings and lucrative trade flows.Dr. Gavrilis will assess programs funded by the United States, European Union, United Nations, and other sponsors; discuss the accomplishments and limits that these programs face on the ground, particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; and present recommendations for policymakers and the donor community as they prepare for a major change in the security environment in neighboring Afghanistan.
George Gavrilis is Executive Director of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, a nongovernment organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and Istanbul.  He is author of The Dynamics of Interstate Boundaries (Cambridge University Press,2010), which examines how border guards, state officials, and local populations affect border security in new states. He has travelled extensively in Central Asia and the Middle East and has published articles on Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and the West Bank in Foreign AffairsThe Washington Quarterly, and other forums for policy analysis and discussion. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University and served as an assistant professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas, Austin. In 200809, he was an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and spent his fellowship working with the United Nations on policy initiatives forCentral Asia and Afghanistan.