Events Calendar

Game Over? Shifting Energy Geopolitics in Central Asia
Oct 18 @ 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Game Over? Shifting Energy Geopolitics in Central Asia

with Michael Denison, Research Director, Control Risks 

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asia’s geopolitical salience, from inside and outside the region, has been predicated both on its oil and gas export potential and its proximity to several volatile security complexes. However, rapidly changing patterns of global supply and demand, allied to shifting perceptions of political risk, are altering both the stakes of external engagement and the region’s profile as a zone of geopolitical contestation. This seminar examines where Central Asia is likely to fit into the evolving global energy map and how these shifts might, in turn, reconfigure the region as a geo/political space.

Michael Denison is an Associate of IERES’ Central Asia Program and was formerly SpecialAdviser to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He is now ResearchDirector at Control Risks, London.
Diversification of an Energy-Producing Economy Agricultural Policy in Kazakhstan @ Conference Room 505
Jan 8 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Diversification of an Energy-Producing Economy Agricultural Policy in Kazakhstan @ Conference Room 505

with Richard Pomfret, Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide, Australia

Kazakhstan has used energy revenues to save for the future, invest in human capital, and diversify the structure of production with the goal of becoming one of the “fifty most competitive, dynamically developing countries in the world”. Agriculture has been a key part of the diversification strategy ever since the government committed a billion dollars to the 2003-5 Agriculture and Food Program. Since then agricultural policy has passed through several phases, mirroring evolving attitudes in Kazakhstan towards the role of government and of the market in economic development. This seminar analyses the content and consequences of agricultural policy, and agriculture’s role in Kazakhstan’s economic transformation.

Richard Pomfret, Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and adviser to the Australian government and to international organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Family Business: Turkmenistan Economy Starts to Look Like its Neighbors
Oct 16 @ 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
The Family Business: Turkmenistan Economy Starts to Look Like its Neighbors

with Myles Smith,  Senior Program Officer and Assistant Managing Editor for the Media, Sustainability Index at IREX

Turkmenistan’s business sector has evolved during the short reign of Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. What was once the province of a small handful of foreignbusinessmen with close personal relationships with first president Niyazov is now aslightly more open field. The first family and new patrons are prying openopportunities for Turkmenistan-based businesses. Meanwhile, old favorites like Itera, MTC, and Bouygues have struggled to maintain their positions. What are the implications for Turkmenistan’s economy and political system, and what does this shift preface about Turkmenistan’s future development.
The Second Central Asia Security Workshop @ Lindner Family Commons
Feb 24 all-day
The Second Central Asia Security Workshop @ Lindner Family Commons
Join us for the Second Security Workshop to celebrate the two year anniversary of the CentralAsia Program. We will discuss the current state of affairs in Central Asia and offer a fresh look at the main policy issues, including the future of the US Silk Road Strategy in the wake of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the stakes of forthcoming presidential successions in Uzbekistan andKazakhstan. The Workshop will also explore what the Program considers as key societal and political issues that will shape the future of Central Asia, i.e. the small and medium business circles. For its anniversary the Program is launching a new web initiative, the Uzbekistan Initiative,which will be presented first at this Workshop. The country’s history and culture, its geographic allocation at the heart of Central Asia, and its booming demography and economic potential shape the overall picture of the region and its strategic weight. However, Uzbekistan has increasingly become a kind of ‘black hole’ in terms of scholarly and policy-oriented analysis. The goal of this Initiative is to create an apolitical platform of discussion for knowledge exchanges that promote Uzbekistan beyond the divergences in assessing its current course.

8:30               Breakfast and Registration

9:00               Introductory Remarks by Marlene Laruelle, Director, Central Asia Program

9:15-10:45   Session I. Lessons Learned and Unlearned for the US Silk Road Strategy

Chair and Moderator: Peter Rollberg (George Washington University)

Alexander Diener (The University of Kansas)

Mobilities and Immobilities in Central Eurasia: A Geographical Perspective on the New Silk Road

Marlene Laruelle (George Washington University)

“Silk Road”: Historical Metaphor, Ideology, Wishful Thinking?

Gael Raballand (Choiseul Institute) and Sebastien Peyrouse (George Washington University)

An Economic Assessment of the Potentialities of the US Silk Road

10:45-11:15 Coffee-break

11:15-12:45 Session II. Presidential successions. Real and False Stakes

Chair and Moderator: Cory Welt (George Washington University)

Eric McGlinchey (George Mason University)

Goodbye Karimov, Hello Status Quo

Sean Roberts (George Washington University)

Nur-Otan as a Vehicle for Presidential Succession: Turkey’s CHP or Russia’s Yedinaya Rossiya?”

Myles Smith (Media Sustainability Index at IREX)

The Stakes of Successions: Turkmenistan and Elite Redistribution

12.45-1:30   Lunch

1:30-3:00     Session III. Peeking behind the Iron Curtain: Uzbekistan in 2014 and Beyond

Chair and Moderator: David Abramson (State Department)

Roundtable Discussion:

Laura Adams (Harvard University), Sarah Kendzior (Al-Jazeera English services), Lawrence Markowitz (Rowan University), and Noah Tucker (Managing Editor,

3:15-3:45     Coffee-break

3:45-5:15     Session IV. The Missing Piece: Small and Medium Business Circles

Chair and Moderator: Marlene Laruelle (George Washington University)

Gul Berna Özcan (University of London)

The Political and Moral Economy of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Central Asia

Regine Spector (University of Massachusetts)

Made in Kyrgyzstan: The Reassembling of Apparel Manufacturing in a    Peripheral State

Alexander Libman (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management)

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprises world in Kazakhstan and the Implications of the Customs Union


Diversified Development: Making the Most of Natural Resources in Eurasia
Apr 2 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Diversified Development: Making the Most of Natural Resources in Eurasia
with, Ivailo Izvorski, The World Bank
Economic development discussions in Eurasia often become debates about diversification. For aregion that is resource-rich, this is to be expected. Eurasian economies have in many ways become less diversified during the last two decades. At the same time, people are much better off today thanthey were in the 1990s: poverty has been cut in half, incomes have increased fivefold; and educationand health have improved. Eurasia’s economies have also become more integrated with the globaleconomy and more productive at home. And the region has also become better at efficientlyconverting natural wealth into productive capital: since the mid-2000s it has built more in assets thanthe mineral wealth it has used up.  But most countries in Eurasia have yet to learn the main lessonfrom the experience of resource rich countries in other parts of the world. In brief, what distinguishessuccess from failure are the institutions used to manage economic volatility, ensure high qualityeducation, and provide a competition regime that levels the playing field for enterprise. Developmentsuccess in resource-rich economies comes from more diversified asset portfolios–a better balancebetween natural resources, built capital, and economic institutions. “DiversifiedDevelopment” elaborates on these lessons and provides practical recommendations for twelve countries in the former Soviet Union.