IMF Economic Outlook for Caucasus and Central Asia:  Reforms Needed to Weather Shocks from Commodity Prices and Russia

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, from 5 to 7 p.m.

(reception at 5 p.m. with Georgian wine, followed by the main program at 5:30)

Large external shocks, including lower commodity prices and slowdown in key trading partners, including Russia and China, has weakened economic growth prospects and raised vulnerabilities in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) Region. What are the challenges and policy trade-offs facing policy makers?  What would be the appropriate fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies?  How are the banking sectors faring?  Which structural reforms are essential for medium-term growth and job creation? 
These and other topics will be discussed as part of the latest Regional Economic Outlook Report for the Caucasus and Central Asia that the International Monetary Fund has released.


Juha Kähkönen
Deputy Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF

Edward Gemayel
Mission Chief, Kyrgyz Republic, IMF

MODERATOR:  S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute



Rome Building Auditorium
SAIS - Johns Hopkins University
1619 Massachusetts Ave.,  NW
Washington, DC  20036

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1510BPC-picTurkey Transformed: The Origins and Evolution of Authoritarianism and Islamization Under the AKP

This study’s excavation of the ideological and political origins of the AKP sheds light both on Turkey’s current situation and its future trajectory. In the process, however, it also yields insights about some of the myopic or unwarranted assumptions underlying policy thinking about Turkey that have implications for policymakers going forward.

Justice GeorgiaBy Johanna Popjanevski

June 2015

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Over the last several years a gradual politicization of justice in Georgia has put into question the country’s democratization progress. Most attention has centered on the judicial campaign launched beginning in late 2012 against a number of former government officials, including former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been ordered to pre-trial detention in absentia. This policy of selective justice has resulted in domestic as well as international criticism and raises important questions with regard to the independence of the judicial structures and, overall, the current state of the rule of law in Georgia.This paper examines the question of the politicization of justice in light of two key issues: first, the degree to which the prosecution is under the influence of the executive; and second, whether arrests of key individuals are purely punitive, or seek to weaken political opponents.

Caucasus-StrategyBy Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr, and Mamuka Tsereteli

February 2015

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The South Caucasus is key to Western efforts to shape intersection between Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East, and to Western commercial and strategic access to and from the heart of the Eurasian continent. Yet far from developing, Western influence in the region is at an all-time low. As Western influence has declined, and partly as a consequence of it, the region’s development has stagnated. This situation is the result of a lack of strategic vision in the West and to a series of tactical errors. This paper analyzes the shortcomigns of western policies, and offers proposals for a new Western approach to the region.


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  • 2015 CAMCA Regional Forum Held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 20-21
    Tuesday, 09 June 2015 13:30

    2015 CAMCA Regional Forum to be Held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    June 20-21
    Regional meeting fostering an exchange of ideas on key issues throughout the Eurasia region



    June 9, 2015

    Washington, D.C. — Leaders from business, government, academia, and civil society will convene later this month in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia at a two-day meeting to discuss key issues and challenges facing the Eurasia region. Hosted by the Rumsfeld Foundation in partnership with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, the 2015 CAMCA (Central Asia-Mongolia-Caucasus-Afghanistan) Regional Forum, will be held on June 20th-21st. 
    The second CAMCA Regional Forum will explore ongoing developments in the region and beyond. The Forum will include high-level speakers, plenary discussions, as well as three parallel Dialogue sessions. The themes of these Dialogues will be “CAMCA's Evolving Place in the World Economy,” “Foreign and Security Outlook of CAMCA in 2025,” and “Unlocking the Potential of CAMCA’s Human Capital.” Within the framework of each Dialogue there will be conversations on key topics relevant to the theme, featuring alumni of the Rumsfeld Fellowship Program, alongside invited officials and experts from Mongolia, the CAMCA region, and the broader international community. Keynote remarks will be provided by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, President of Gryphon Partners LLC and former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan.
    “Our Foundation looks forward to hosting the upcoming 2015 CAMCA Regional Forum in Ulaanbaatar. We hope it will provide an opportunity for continued dialogue and interaction among the rising leaders in this most important region,” said Donald Rumsfeld, President of the Rumsfeld Foundation.
    The CAMCA Regional Forum is a non-political and non-partisan entity established to promote region-wide discussions on means of advancing economic growth and development in the heart of Eurasia (Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan). It promotes this goal by fostering dialogue and interaction among rising young leaders from various sectors in the 10 countries of the region, as well as with international leaders and stakeholders.

    The CAMCA Regional Forum has evolved out of the Rumsfeld Fellowship Program at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, which has been bringing rising young leaders from the region to Washington, D.C. since 2008.  As of June 2015, over 120 professionals have completed the Fellowship.
    For more information about the Rumsfeld Foundation, please visit or the Foundation’s Facebook page.  For more information on the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, SAIS, please visit

  • S. Frederick Starr and Niklas Swanström testify at U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
    Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:06

    USCESRCOn March 18, 2015, CACI-SRSP Chairman S. Frederick Starr and Niklas Swanström, Director of ISDP and a co-founder of the Silk Road Studies Program, both spoke at a Hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Starr's prepared remarks, "Looking West: China and Central Asia", is available here; Swanström's prepared remarks, "China's Military Engagement with Afghanistan", is available here.

  • Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani promotes Frederick Starr's "Lost Enlightenment" in London Speech (Video)
    Sunday, 07 December 2014 01:59

    In his 4 December talk at Chatham House in London on "Fixing Failed States: From Theory to Practice", Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani referred to Frederick Starr's recent book, Lost Enlightenment. In the video below, the remark comes two minutes into the video clip.

    "The dissolution of the Soviet Union, the takeoff of Central Asia now, is opening up a set of possibilities regarding resources that previously just were not there. We are reconnecting to our remote pasts. There's a fantastic book by Fred Starr, let me plug it, it's called "Lost Enlightenment." It's about Central Asia from the third century before the common era, to the twelfth century. Ant it shows how connected the area was. How the connectivities, the culture and the economy, interplayed. So with very deep structures, in Braudel's sense, that allow us no to resume, the story we are saying about the roundabout is not new. It is being realized, and it gives us opportunity to connect."


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