On 4-5 November 2023, a Joint Expert/Alumni Conference on "Central Asia: Comprehensive Security and Sustainable Development" was held at the OSCE Academy. The conference was co-organized by the OSCE Academy and the University of Siena.
Dr. Indira Satarkulova, Acting Director of the OSCE Academy, opened the event and welcomed the experts, participants, guests and partners of the conference, highlighting the importance of discussing the topics of gender, youth and climate change in the region today and expressing words of gratitude to the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the Academy’s donor, member of the Board of Trustees and funder of the conference. H.E. Ambassador Alexey Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, recognized the work of the OSCE Academy as platform for an academic dialogue and educational institution and highlighted the success of its graduates as a measure of the Academy's success.
The first day of the conference focused on gender, youth, and climate change in Central Asia. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Aksana Ismailbekova, Postdoctoral research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Crossroads Asia Department, on the topic of “Daughters as Ojiza: Daughter’s Marriage, Security and Care among Uzbeks in Southern Kyrgyzstan.” Following the keynote speech, the panel featured the presentations of Murodjon Khalikov, the Academy’s alumnus of 2016, Chief Specialist, Department for Strategic Analysis and Development of Social Protection Policy at the National Agency for Social Protection under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Zuleikha Makhmudova, Co-founder of FemAgora; Assel Mussagaliyeva-Tang, alumna of 2005, Founder of Edtech; Makhmudjon Utkurov, Project Manager, National Erasmus+ Office in Uzbekistan. Speakers discussed topics such as climate resilience and adaptive social protection in Uzbekistan, the role of local women peacebuilders in the Ferghana Valley conflict, the digital divide in Central Asia, and gender projects. The panel was moderated by Aichurek Kurmanbekova, alumna of 2014, Liaison and Reporting Advisor, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Furthermore, Dimitrios Symeonidis, Head of Unit at the Conference Infrastructure and Innovation at the European Parliament; Kanatbek Abdiev, Program Officer at the PeaceNexus Foundation; Saodat Umarova, Assistant Professor at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy; and Begim Zhanuzakova, Climate Change Programme Coordinator at UNISON GROUP, shared their views on the role of youth civil society and the energy transition in Central Asia, the implementation of peacebuilding projects, foreign trade for sustainable development, youth and global processes. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Erman Akıllı, Department of International Relations, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University and Chief Editor of the OSCE Academy, moderated this discussion. Kasiet Ysmanova, Director of Central Asia Barometer, presented survey findings conducted by the Central Asia Barometer on opinions on Climate Change and Ecological Issues in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. Dr. Aijan Sharshenova, a Director at Crossroads Central Asia, moderated a third panel on climate change in Central Asia. Dr. Erman Akıllı, Diyorjon Keldiyorov, Chief Specialist at the Department for International Cooperation and Foreign Investment Attraction, and Mira Dzhakshylykova, Sustainability Coordinator at the American University of Central Asia, discussed power struggles on frozen frontiers, the mining sector nexus, and blue paradiplomacy.
The programme for the second day included discussions on Central Asia and international stakeholders. Akmaljon Abdullayev, the Academy’s alumnus of 2005, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy and Farrukh Khakimov, Head Of Department at Development Strategy Center, along with Ibrahim Mammadov, a Research Fellow at QAFSAM, explored various perspectives on the OSCE Human Dimension, dynamics of regional development, and trilateral platforms in the context of increasing Central Asia-EU trade. Dr. Fabio Indeo, a Researcher at the University of Siena, moderated the discussion.
Within the conference, a round table discussion on “The OSCE and the EU in the Reshaped Central Asia Geopolitical Scenario” took place. Dr. Fabio Indeo along with Colin McCullough, Senior Planning and Co-ordination Officer at the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, brought up international organizations' cooperation, with a particular focus on the role of the OSCE and EU in Central Asia and the current geopolitical developments in the region.
The Conference is generously funded by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs – the OSCE Academy’s distinguished donor, partner and member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees.