Research Fellowship

Former Research Fellows of the OSCE Academy


               Pengshan Pan

Research Topic: Does Opium fuel Insurgent Groups? Evidence from Afghanistan

Pengshan Pan is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. His research field is international political economy and development. His research focuses specifically on foreign direct investment in labour markets and domestic politics in Central and South Asia. He broadly studies the interlinkages between foreign direct investment, the environment and conflict. He is also interested in topics such as labour, foreign aid, industrial policy in post-communist countries, and China's development model in Central and South Asia.




            Dr. Aliya Assubayeva

Research Topic: Review of Uncertainties in Water Security Decision-Making in Central Asia

Dr. Aliya Assubayeva is a Research Associate at the Center for International Development and Environmental Research (ZEU), Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. With an interdisciplinary background, she holds a BA in Water Resources Management from Kazakh National Agrarian University, an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Nazarbayev University. Her research interests encompass water security, transboundary cooperation, water governance and policy, and sustainable development. Dr. Assubayeva has authored research articles, policy briefs, and book chapters, contributing to the academic and policy discourse on water-related issues. She is also interested in science communication.


                Dr. Chiara Pierobon

Research Topic: Preventing Violent Extremism through Civil Society: the Role of the International Donor Community in Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Chiara Pierobon brings more than 10 years of research experience in the field of civil society and social movements, youth studies, and radicalization and violent extremism in Europe, Russia and Central Asia. Her PhD dissertation was explicitly focused on the instrumental use of music and social media on behalf of youth political organizations in Russia as tools to recruit new members, foster community cohesion and construct collective identities based on national and ethnic traits. As senior research, she has collected extensive fieldwork experience in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where she has investigated the engagement of the European Union (EU) with civil society. In particular, in the past years, she has conducted micro-level analyses on the work of the EU in preventing violent extremism through the “Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace” (IcSP) and in tackling push-factors of radicalization through the “European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights“(EIDHR) and the thematic program “Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development” (NSA/LA). Author's publication can be found here.


         Dr. Asel Doolotkeldieva 

Research Topic: Regulating Corporate Social Responsibiliy (CSR) in the Large-Scale Mining Sector in Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Asel Doolotkeldieva was an Assistant Professor at the American University in Central Asia. She obtained her PhD at the University of Exeter (UK). Her doctoral research was focused on the study of political change from below: protest politics in Kyrgyzstan. Asel holds her Master's degree from Sciences Po Paris (France). Her Master thesis was focused on the study of labor migration of Central Asians in Russia. Asel has published on the topics of social mobilizations, religiosity and gender, democratization and institution-building, authoritarianism and rent-seeking of natural resources, and migration.



                    Niva Yau

Research Topic: Making Sense of the Belt and Road Initiative

Niva Yau Tsz Yan was a Junior Researcher at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and is a graduate from the University of Hong Kong. Ms Yau’s research focuses on China’s Western Peripheral Diplomacy, including Central Asia and Afganistan. Her research interests center on China’s strategic thinking in the 21st century, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese private military security companies (PMSCs) and authoritarian technology. Ms Yau frequently writes for Eurasianet and the Diplomat to update China in Central Asia affairs. Prior to the Central Asian focus, Ms Yau was a Research Assistant at the Belt and Road Strategic Research Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she worked with Belt and Road actors and issues in the South East Asian region. 





        Dr.  Rashid Gabdulhakov

Research Topic: “I Saw It on the Internet!” Sources, Mechanisms, and Impacts of COVID-19 Dis/misinformation on Labour Migrants from Uzbekistan

Rashid Gabdulhakov is a Ph.D. Candidate and Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. His research focuses on digital vigilantism – citizen-led justice manifested online – as well as social media surveillance, affordances, and governance. Rashid has written a number of articles on these and other topics and co-edited an open-access book on Vigilant Audiences. Having lived, studied, and worked in five different countries, Rashid likes to describe himself as an ‘academic nomad’. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Whitworth University, USA; a Master of Arts degree in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic; and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in International and European Security from the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the University of Geneva, Switzerland. In his spare time, Rashid enjoys painting,  cooking, and blogging. You can learn more on his website:


                Ajar Chekirova 

Research Topic: Kyrgyz Diaspora Online: Understanding New Forms of Transnationalism, Citizenship, and Political Participation

Dr. Ajar Chekirova is an Assistant Professor at Lake Forest College. She holds Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Chekirova’s research interests include migration and citizenship, informal institutions, political communication and behavior. Her research has been previously sponsored by the Open Society Foundation, University of Illinois, George Washington University, and the University of San Francisco. Dr. Chekirova holds an MA degree in International Affairs from Ohio University, where she was a Fulbright Fellow. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in law from Peking University in China."




         Dr.  Burulcha Sulaimanova 

Research Topic: The Impact of Job-Education Mismatch on the Earnings: Empirical Evidence from Generation and Gender Difference

Dr. Burulcha Sulaimanova is an Assistant Professor at Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). She specializes in the fields of labor economics and applied economic analysis in Central Asian countries. In particular, her research interests include education-job mismatch issues in Kyrgyzstan labor market, gender aspects of labor migration, infrastructure development, and its impact on Central Asian economies. She has been engaged in various types of projects as a researcher, project leader, and consultant. One of her recent projects has been on “The impact of infrastructure on trade in Central Asia”, which was supported by the Asian Development Bank Institute. Dr. Sulaimanova holds a Ph.D. and MSc degree in Economics from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Anadolu University, Turkey.




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