The OSCE Academy Alumni Network, with support of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) offers several Travel Grants a year to its alumni. Those grants are provided to qualified OSCE Academy alumni to support their professional and academic development. The first travel grant of 2016 was received by Akmaljon Abdullayev, alumnus of 2005.
The travel grant from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek to present my paper at the Central Eurasian Study Society (CESS) conference in Kazan had an impact on my research. The event was hosted by the Institute of International Relations, History and Oriental Studies of Kazan Federal University that was founded in 1804 and is now among the leading educational and research institutions of the Russian Federation. About 200 scholars from over thirty countries participated at the conference and the programme of the event consisted of fifty panels and keynotes speeches by Professor Michael Kemper of the University of Amsterdam as well as Professor Taufik Ibrahim of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. My paper was based on my current PhD research project, at the University of world economy and diplomacy, “History of social movements in Central Asia: before and after independence.” I presented preliminary findings of my research and the conference was an excellent opportunity for me to streamline my research methods. More specifically, overall feedbacks from members of the panel and the discussant convinced me to narrow down my research due to time and space limitations. Attending other panels of the conference has been crucial in learning not only advantages of my approach but also drawbacks.
The organizers of the conference had set up social events, which was crucial in making new friends and contacts. Thus, in addition to meeting prominent scholars during the event, I established a network with other PhD students whose research projects are relevant to my field of expertise and exchanged some ideas. I believe, maintaining network with them will definitely impact the quality of my dissertation in the long run. Besides the conference, it was also an opportunity for a small OSCE Academy alumni reunion where I met Svetlana Dzardanova, Serik Beimenbetov and Nurlan Kabdylkhak. There is no doubt that the travel grant is one of the excellent mechanisms of the Academy to support career and personal developments of the alumni. I am grateful to NUPI as the donor of the travel grant and the Academy for outstanding administration.
Based in North America, CESS is an international organization for scholars concerned with the Central Eurasian region and it seeks to promote high standards of research and teaching, to foster communication among scholars of Central Eurasia through meetings, publications, and networking, and to facilitate interaction among scholars at different stages in their career and in different places around the world. The conference programme is available at http://www.centraleurasia.org/assets/conf/cess-2016-kazan_program.pdf