May 25 @ 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
with Azita Ranjbar and Dr. Eric McGlinchey
What role does informal justice play in resolving conflict in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan? Is there an inverse relationship between the use of informal justice mechanisms and properly functioning state institutions? In Kyrgyzstan, aksakal courts (courts of elders) are village-level institutions responsible for resolving community-level disputes, although they are increasingly described as largely obsolete and only used in villages to resolve small disputes. Their authority to resolve cases is gradually diminishing;most aksakal courts surveyed received less than ten cases last year. In Tajikistan, informal leaders,usually imams, often play a contradictory role: they often act as arbitrators and mitigate conflict within their communities and yet they oversee practices that can violate individual rights and contravene Tajik law, such as officiating marriages and divorces outside of state institutions. In recent years, the authority of informal leaders has increased because of the government’s inability to provide much needed social services, including fair and equal access to justice.
Azita Ranjbar spent a year in Tajikistan as a Fulbright Fellow and two months in Kyrgyzstan interviewing ordinary citizens on the role that informal justice plays in daily life. As an InternationalResearch and Exchanges Board research fellow, she carried out research on legal and economic challenges facing the families of migrant workers in Tajikistan. She worked as a Senior ProgramSpecialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace, on rule of law initiatives and peace building programs inAfghanistan and Pakistan. She previously conducted research in Afghanistan as a research assistant withDartmouth College and the Afghan Women Judges Association in Kabul.
Eric McGlinchey is an associate professor of government and politics at George Mason University and an associate in the Central Asia Program at The George Washington University. He received hisPh.D. from Princeton University in 2003. He is the author of Chaos, Violence, Dynasty Politics andIslam in Central Asia.
Jun 7 @ 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Dr. Eric Rudenshiold, Senior Officer in Charge of Kyrgyzstan and the Central Asian Republics at USAID
Kregg Halstead, Chief of Party of USAIDs “Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Strengthening Program” being implemented by DAI
Dr. Sean Roberts, Director and Associate Professor, International Development Studies Program, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
In the two decades since the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent states on Russia’s periphery, USAID has led the effort to help parliaments in these countries become more effective in passing meaningful legislation, more engaged with citizens, and more independent of the executive branch. This panel will be a discussion of those efforts, with both a comparative regional overview and a more focused look at recent work with Kyrgyzstan’s Jogorku Kenesh.
Dr. Eric Rudenshiold, the Senior Officer in Charge for Kyrgyzstan and the Central Asian Republics at USAID, has been instrumental in the design and implementation of USAID’s work with legislative institutions in Central Asia, the Caucuses and elsewhere in the region, and will speak on the challenges and successes in those efforts.
Kregg Halstead is the Chief of Party of USAID’s “Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary StrengtheningProgram” being implemented by DAI, and has worked on legislative strengthening, human rights and rule of law programs in the former Soviet Union for almost 20 years.
Dr. Sean Roberts is a noted expert on issues of democracy and governance in Central Asia. Between 1998 and 2006 he spent six years in the region designing and managing USAID programs on democracy, civil society and legislative assistance.
Sep 21 @ 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
with Asylbek Jeenbekov, Speaker of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan, The Jogorku Kengesh
The George Washington University’s International Development Studies Program and Central AsiaProgram are proud to host Asylbek Jeenbekov, Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament, to discuss security and development issues in Kyrgyzstan and in the Central Asian region.
Oct 4 @ 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Co-Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
with Morgan Y. Liu, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The Ohio State University
Ethnic Uzbeks in the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) attempted to create a place for themselves in the Kyrgyz-dominated nation-state since its independence in 1991. For a while, there were reasons to be optimistic about this minority community. Even though they felt ethnic discrimination, local Uzbek leaders labored through the 1990’s and 2000’s to build institutions that serve the Uzbek communities within the framework of their Kyrgyzstani citizenship. That model of ethnic community-building now lies in tatters after the massive conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in June 2010. What now for Uzbeks in the Kyrgyz Republic? This talk evaluates their prospects in light of sixteen years of detailed ethnographic work among Osh Uzbeks.
His 2012 book, Under Solomon’s Throne: Uzbek Visions of Renewal in Osh (University of Pittsburgh Press), concerns how ethnic Uzbeks in the ancient Silk Road city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan think about political authority and post-Soviet transformations, based on research using vernacular language interviews and ethnographic fieldwork of urban social life from 1993 to 2011.
Morgan Y. Liu is a cultural anthropologist studying Islamic revival, post-socialist states, and social justice movements. An Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University, he teaches about the Middle East, Central Asia, Islamic revival and social justice, and cultural theory. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. His Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan in Anthropology
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