On 24-25 September 2022, the OSCE Academy and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation co-organized the 4th Interdisciplinary Conference on "Adaptation and Transformation in Central Asia," initiated and moderated by Dr. Anja Mihr, DAAD Associate Professor at the OSCE Academy. The conference brought together distinguished international and regional scholars, practitioners, and civil society activists to discuss how civil society, policymakers, and businesses have dealt with the paradigm shifts whilst adapting to institutional reforms and political shifts over the past decades.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Indira Satarkulova, Deputy Director, OSCE Academy, welcomed speakers and participants of the event and wished them fruitful discussions. Philipp Jahn, Regional Director, Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, highlighted that the annual “Transformation in Central Asia” conference is a platform for scholars and practitioners to exchange views and learn more about challenges and gradual changes in Central Asia.
The two-day event was comprised of four sessions which included a panel of three-four speakers with ample time in the end for engagement with the online and in-person audience through a Q&A and discussion.
The first session on the topic "Civil and Political Adaptation in Central Asia" was opened by keynote speaker Dr. Wolfgang Merkel, Professor from the Social Science Research Center (WZB), Berlin, elaborating on the Trajectories of Post-Soviet Regime Change. Dr. Dilshodjon Rakhmonov, Professor of Economics, Vice-rector on International Cooperation, Tashkent State University of Economics; Tlegen Kuandykov, Communications Officer, Central Asia Barometer; Dr. Arsalan Bilal, Doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Peace Studies, The Arctic University of Norway, presented their research on development trends of economic liberalization, political stability of neo-patrimonial regimes, Islamic radicalization and violent extremism. Dr. Saniia Toktogazieva, Associate Professor of Law and Coordinator of the Human Rights Program, American University of Central Asia, delivered a keynote speech on "Legal and Political Transformation" and opened the second-panel session. The second session focused on the topic of "Rule of Law and Internationalization in Central Asia." Dr. Rustam Atadjanov, Assistant Professor of Public and International Law, Associate Dean, KIMEP University School of Law; Aigerim Kussaiyn kyzy, Senior lecturer, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, Suleyman Demirel University; Dr. Dilmurod Ernazarov, Associate Professor, Tashkent State University of Economics (TSUE), shared their insights on legal adaptation, rule of law, gender and youth adaptation, and participation of INGO in these processes. The third session started with a keynote speech on "Laboratories and experiments of International Law in the post-Soviet Space" delivered by Dr. Cindy Wittke, Leader of the Political Science Research Group, Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) in Regensburg. Shirin Tumenbaeva, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Central European University, Austria, and Assistant Professor, American University of Central Asia; Dr. Saltanat Kydyralieva, Postdoctoral researcher in political psychology, BILGESAM Center for Strategic Studies; Daria Gavriushenko, Program Manager, Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Bishkek; Dr. Bakhytzhan Kurmanov, Assistant Professor, International School of Economics, M. Narikbayev KazGUU University, provided an overview on the democratic decline in the EU and its effect on democracy promotion in Central Asia, political affects toward transformation processes, youth of Kyrgyzstan, digital democratic citizen activism. In the fourth session on "Climate, Business, and Social Adaptation", Anna Kirilenko, Ecological Movement "BIOM" gave insight into Climate Adaptation in Central Asia. Dr. Kanat Tilekeyev, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Public Policy and Administration, University of Central Asia; Emiliya Mubarak, Senior Analyst in the research team of the Caspian Today Information Agency; Mereilim Kalen, Program Officer, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation; Bobirjon Izzatullaev, International Cooperation Specialist, Research Institute of Legal Policy under the Ministry of Justice, discussed garment sector in Kyrgyzstan, labor conflicts in Kazakhstan, social justice in urban development, new stages of reforms in Uzbekistan.
The Academy Paper, summarizing the discussion of the conference, will be soon published on the Academy’s website.