Events Calendar

“Not In Our Name”: A research and documentary project developed by RFE/RL @ Lindner Family Commons (602)
Oct 16 @ 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM
"Not In Our Name": A research and documentary project developed by RFE/RL @ Lindner Family Commons (602)
GW’s Central Asia Program and RFE/RL are happy to announce the launch of Not in Our Name, a research and documentary project developed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to help communities in Central Asia understand and prevent the spread of violence and extremism.
According to recent estimates, countries of the former Soviet Union are the largest single source of foreign fighters in the Syria/Iraq conflict – more than neighboring states in the Middle East. Although they share no cultural or language ties to Syria or Iraq, it is estimated that more than 4,200 Central Asians have joined the conflict. Communities across the region will feel the effects for decades as those exposed to the horrors of war and extremist ideology return. The challenge Central Asian communities face from extremist groups is real, but so is their determination to fight back on a social and state level.
Not In Our Name, produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), is the first regional counter-extremism project ever produced for Central Asia. Staff traveled to diverse areas within the region, exploring and reporting on how residents can work together at the local and national level to prevent the spread of violence and extremism. This unique project collected video portraits of individuals who lost family members in Syria and Iraq, and presented those portraits to young people from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, asking them to share their experiences and perspectives.
RFE/RL’s goal is to use journalism to empower communities to stand up to violent extremist recruiters that claim to represent them. Town halls were held in each country with two different audiences–those directly affected by extremist recruiting and those who have not been impacted. A final session brings all participants together to share their very different experiences and learn from one another.
Uzbek, Kazakh, Tajik, and Kyrgyz participants from all ten town halls agreed there are no simple answers. This film follows them as they come to a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and consider what they can do together to form strong communities that take a stand and declare Not In Our Name.
2:30-3:30pm. Panel 1. Research Results
Noah Tucker (Executive Editor Not In Our Name and CAP associate), Serik Besseimbaev (Lead Project Moderator, Project Design Consultant Not In Our Name), Asel Murzakulova (Project Deputy Editor, Producer Not In Our Name)
3:30-4:10pm. Film screening
4:10-4:30pm. Coffee-break
4:30-6:00pm. Panel 2. Violent Extremist Mobilization in Global Context: What Works (and What Doesn’t) to Prevent Recruiting?
Peter Bergen (New America Foundation), Daniel Kimmage (Global Engagement Center, US Department of State), Haroon Ullah (US Agency for Global Media/BBG)
Registration for this event is required.
Orange and Blue: the World of Barzu- Promoting Central Asia through Children’s Literature @ Voesar Conference Room (4th Floor)
Oct 18 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Orange and Blue: the World of Barzu- Promoting Central Asia through Children's Literature @ Voesar Conference Room (4th Floor)


Author Marina Abrams

Author Marina Abrams introduces Central Asia through children’s literature in her new book Orange and Blue: The World of Barzu. The story is told through the young boy, Barzu, who lives in the mountains of Tajikistan, and who visits his grandmother. The book is vibrant, featuring the work of prominent Tajik artist Farrukh Negmatzade. Colorful depictions of clay ovens, sun-dried fruit, delicious bread and grandmother’s tale of the merchant Faiz who travels to Hindustan, invite children and all readers into Central Asian lifescapes.
Please join us along with Central Asia diaspora representatives: Dr. Togzhan Kassenova, Non-resident fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Nodir Zakirov, Board of Directors, Uzbekistan Youth Association in America; and Firdavs Nazarov, Outreach Manager, Tajik American Cultural Association for an afternoon celebrating Central Asia culture. Light refreshments will be served.
Marina Abrams was born and raised in Kazakhstan, has lived in Tajikistan and Russia, and traveled extensively around the Eurasia region. She is an international policy professional with fifteen years of experience in multi-disciplinary projects and nonproliferation initiatives dealing with terrorism, the physical protection of former nuclear and biological warfare (BW) facilities, and employment issues for former BW scientists in Russian Federation and Central Asian states. Prior to founding Barzu World, Marina worked at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey, CA and Global Green USA (Washington D.C.).
Please Join Us For Encounters at the Edge of the Muslim World: A Political Memoir of Kyrgyzstan with author Eugene Huskey and Ambassador Kadyr M. Toktogulov @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Nov 2 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Please Join Us For Encounters at the Edge of the Muslim World: A Political Memoir of Kyrgyzstan with author Eugene Huskey and Ambassador Kadyr M. Toktogulov @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412

Drawing on three decades of research and travel in Kyrgyzstan, Encounters at the Edge of the Muslim World: A Political Memoir of Kyrgyzstan takes readers on a journey through the unlikely birth and tumultuous development of Central Asia’s most open society. With citizens of independent Kyrgyzstan stripped of their Soviet identity, the book illustrates how alternative loyalties based on kinship, geography, statehood, and religion competed for prominence in ways that often complicated the new country’s political, social, and economic development. Unlike Huskey’s earlier academic work on Kyrgyzstan, this book employs first-person narrative to tell the stories of leaders and citizens trying to navigate the transition from communism, where identities, property, and the rules of the political game were constantly in dispute.

Dr. Eugene Huskey is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Stetson University. His research on Kyrgyzstan first took him to the country in 1992, six months after Kyrgyzstan’s emergence as an independent state. He has travelled to Kyrgyzstan regularly since then to conduct research, teach at the American University of Central Asia, train Kyrgyzstani political scientists, and participate in a mission for the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Kadyr M. Toktogulov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States of America. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Toktogulov served as Press secretary to Kyrgyz Republic’s President Almazbek Atambaev. Before joining the Office of the President, he worked as Chief of Information Policy Department at the Office of the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Toktogulov worked previously as a a correspondent for the Associated Press, Dow Jones Newswires, and contributed stories to the Wall Street Journal. He holds a BA degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the American University of Central Asia.

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative: The View from Kazakhstan and the Caucasus @ Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Nov 14 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

with Daniyar Kosnazarov and Fuad Shahbazov

Xi Jinping announced China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in Astana in 2013. Its land component – the Silk Road Economic Belt- aims to create transport corridors and increase connectivity from China to the west – through Russia and Belarus, and along roads and railways through Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. In this presentation, Daniyar Kosnazarov will analyze the projection of China’s soft power in Kazakhstan, and explain how a range of actors from countries are involved in this process. He will draw attention to the barriers which limit Chinese public and cultural diplomacy in Central Asia. Fuad Shahbazov will explain how in the South Caucasus, all three countries are interested in boosting cooperation with China to develop infrastructure projects. However, these ambitions are hampered by ongoing conflicts between the countries. China remains reluctant to become involved in regional conflicts, focusing instead on developing economic links and positioning the region as a gateway to Europe. As China continues to engage the states of the South Caucasus, this approach will be tested.


Fuad Shahbazov is a Baku-based policy analyst and author. His expertise include regional security, religious extremism, and military and defense industries. He is currently at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington DC. He was a Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Republic of Azerbaijan from 2016-2018. He was also a Visiting Researcher the Asian Center for Strategic Studies in Istanbul, Turkey, as well a Research Assistant at the European Policy Center in Brussels. Mr. Shahbazov is also a frequent analyst for BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, Jamestown Foundation, The Diplomat, and Central Asian – Caucasus Institute. He holds an MA degree in Political Science from University of Bologna.


Daniyar Kosnazarov’s research interests include youth, social media, and popular culture. As a visiting fellow at The George Washington University, his research focuses on the values and higher education expectations of Kazakhstan’s Generation Z. Mr. Kosnazarov is also the Editor-in-Chief of Steppe, an independent digital media outlet in Kazakhstan covering technology, entrepreneurship, education, leisure, and art. He is experienced working for both the government and private think tanks of Kazakhstan, and previously worked as Chair of the Department of Strategic Analysis at Narxoz University, evaluating strategy implementation. He previously was awarded an MA in International Relations and Regional Studies, Tsukuba University (Japan) 2012, and a BA in International Relations, Selcuk University (Turkey), 2009.




Symposium on China’s Mass Incarceration of Uyghurs @ Lindner Family Commons (Suite 602)
Nov 27 @ 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Symposium on China’s Mass Incarceration of Uyghurs @ Lindner Family Commons (Suite 602)

8:30: Registration

9:00: Opening Remarks

9:30-11:00: Panel 1: “Contextualizing the Re-education Camps

James A. Millward, Georgetown University

Sandrine Catris, Augusta University

Sean R. Roberts, The George Washington University

Michael Clarke, Australian National University

11:00-11:30: Coffee Break

11:30-1:00: Panel 2: “Documenting the ‘Re-education camps’ “

Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch

Timothy Grose, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Seiji Nishihara, Kagoshima University

1:00-2:00: Lunch

2:00-3:30: Panel 3: “Impact of the Camps on Uyghur Communities

Joanne Smith Finley, Newcastle University

Darren Byler, University of Washington

Elise Anderson, Indiana University

Dilnur Reyhan, French National Institute for Oriental Studies (INALCO)

3:30-5:00: Roundtable on Responses of the International Community