Friday, 18 June 2021 18:23

2021 e-CAMCA REGIONAL FORUM

e-CAMCA 2021 Regional Forum 

Meet the talented speakers for each of our Forum panels below!

We are honored to have 30 distinguished panelists and moderators joining us next week from across the CAMCA region and beyond. Our panels are comprised of CEOs, CFOs, Chairmen, Directors, Senior Fellows, Acting Presidents, Deputy Ministers, Director Generals, Founders and more. We look forward to hearing their important insights surrounding this year's theme: "Economic Prospects of the CAMCA Region." 

Learn more about the members of the CAMCA Network featured throughout our panels here.

(All times EST)

MONDAY, JUNE 21st

9:45-10:00 AM

“New Opportunities Across CAMCA” - Welcome & Remarks by Dr. Svante Cornell Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, American Foreign Policy Council

(Prerecorded – Tune in on the CAMCA Forum Facebook page)

10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion - “New Regionalism in Central Asia and Its Challenges”

Moderator:

Dr. S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, AFPC

Speakers:

Dennis de Tray, Board Member and Adviser to the President, Nazarbayev University

Dr. Subir Lall, Deputy Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF

Dr. Eldor Aripov, Director, Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Dr. Taleh Ziyadov, Director General, Baku International Sea Trade Port, Azerbaijan

Aziza Umarova, Co-Founder, SmartGov Consulting; CAMCA Network Member, Uzbekistan

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83142962691 


TUESDAY, JUNE 22nd

9:00-9:45 AM

Keynote Interview with Dr. Sergei Guriev, Professor of Economics & Scientific Director of the Master and PhD programmes in Economics, Sciences Po

Interviewer:

Rakhim Oshakbayev, Director, Center of Applied Research “TALAP”; CAMCA Network Member, Kazakhstan

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98475433073

10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion - “U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: What Does it Mean for Political and Economic Alignments in the Region?”

Moderator:

Michael Doran, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Speakers:

Dr. Omar Sharifi, Country Director, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies; Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, American University of Afghanistan; CAMCA Network Member

Ikram Sehgal, Chairman, Pathfinder Group; Chairman, Karachi Council on Foreign Relations

Amb. Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi; former Ambassador of India to Afghanistan (2010-2013)

Alex Vatanka, Director of Iran Program and Senior Fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative, Middle East Institute

Iskander Akylbayev, Executive Director, Kazakhstan Council on International Relations; CAMCA Network Member

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88325819542

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23rd

9:00-9:45 AM

Keynote Interview with Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Chairman & CEO, EmPath; Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Interviewer:

Samiullah Mahdi, Award-winning journalist and lecturer at Kabul University; CAMCA Network Member, Afghanistan

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92505117195

10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion - “Impediments to Foreign Investments in CAMCA: Real or Imaginary?”

Moderator:

Gaukhar Nurgalieva, Senior Advisor, FMA; CAMCA Network Member, Kazakhstan

Speakers:

Yernar Zharkeshov, Principal and Head of Eurasia, Whiteshield Partners; CAMCA Network Member, Kazakhstan

Yusif Abdullayev, Acting President of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO)

Dulguun Baasandavaa, Deputy Chairman, National Development Agency of Mongolia; CAMCA Network Member

Baurzhan Kankin, Chairman, Social Entrepreneurship Corporation “Shymkent”

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88489212118

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 24th

9:00-9:45 AM

Keynote Interview with Saad Mohseni, Chairman & CEO, MOBY Group, Afghanistan

Interviewer:

Ali Aslan, International TV Presenter & Journalist Zoom

Link: https://zoom.us/j/96987446471

10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion - “Will a New Entrepreneurial Class Drive CAMCA Economies?”

Moderator:

Zabihullah Ziarmal, Director General, Afghanistan National Standard Authority; Chairman, World Trade Centre Kabul Afghanistan; CAMCA Network Member

Speakers:

Valeri Chekheria, Serial entrepreneur and hotelier; Founder and CEO of Hospitality Projects; Adviser to the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia

Abdullo Kurbanov, Co-founder and CEO, Alif Bank; CAMCA Network Member, Tajikistan

Khulan Davaadorj, Founder, Director and Chief Technologist, LHAMOUR LLC; CAMCA Network Member, Mongolia

Aziz Soltobaev, Founder, KG Labs Public Foundation; CAMCA Network Member, Kyrgyzstan

Abdulahad Badghisi, General Manager, Samarkand Bukhara Silk Carpet JV

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83235996831 

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 25th

9:00-9:45 AM

Keynote Interview with Douglas Becker, Founder & Chairman, CINTANA Education; Board Chair, International Youth Foundation

Interviewer:

Dr. Mamuka Tsereteli, Senior Fellow, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, AFPC

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/99436734464

10:00-11:00 AM

Panel Discussion - “Can Education Systems of CAMCA Countries Adjust to New Labor Market Demands?”

Moderator:

Yernar Zharkeshov, Principal and Head of Eurasia, Whiteshield Partners; CAMCA Network Member, Kazakhstan

Speakers:

Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, University of Central Asia

Fariz Ismailzade, Executive Vice Rector, ADA University, Azerbaijan

Hikmat Abdurahmanov, Co-founder and CEO, TEAM University; Co-founder, HMPARTNERS; CAMCA Network Member, Uzbekistan

Talant Sultanov, Co-founder and Chair, Kyrgyz Chapter of the Internet Society; CAMCA Network Member, Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Irakli Laitadze, Chief Financial Officer, GMT Mtatsminda; Lecturer at Ilya State University in Tbilisi; CAMCA Network Member, Georgia

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89422437705

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Published in Forums & Events

Human Rights Reforms in Kazakhstan

For several years, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program has focused its attention on the process of reform across Central Asia and the Caucasus. This online forum marks the publication of a study of human rights reforms in Kazakhstan. The country’s high ambitions for its place in the world demanded a serious re-consideration of the country's human rights record, something President Tokayev has embarked upon in recent years. Dr. Svante Cornell will present his research on the matter, documenting Kazakhstan's progress in this regard as well as challenges in the implementation of reforms.

Speakers:

Svante E. Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program

Amb. George Krol, Associate, Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Former United States Ambassador to Kazakhstan

Moderator: 

S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program

When: Thursday, June 17, 2021

The event was also live-streamed on the CACI YouTube page.  

 
Published in Forums & Events

Nuclear Disarmament: The Stockholm Initiative and the NPT Review Conference

Originally scheduled for 2020, the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is now tentatively planned for  August 2021. Ahead of this Conference, a group of 16 states from different regions and security contexts joined in 2019 to form the Stockholm Initiative on Nuclear Disarmament, in order to advance nuclear disarmament in a time of a deteriorating international security environment. At this webinar, representatives from Sweden, Kazakhstan, and Germany will discuss the Stockholm Initiative as well as the most pressing issues facing the agenda of nuclear disarmament. This includes the denuclearization of the DPRK, the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, and arms control dialogue among nuclear powers.

Speakers:

Amb. Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Ambassador for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Amb. Dastan Yeleukenov, Advisor to the Director, Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies and former Head of the Department for International Security, Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Commentator: 

Olaf Poeschke, Deputy Head of Division, Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Federal Foreign office, Berlin

Moderators: 

Svante E. Cornell, Director, Institute for Security and Development Policy

When: April 7, 2021

The event is now available on YouTube

 
Published in Forums & Events

Peace in Afghanistan: A Kazakhstani Perspective

Amid continued conflict in Afghanistan, Central Asian states have continued to intensify their engagement with their southern neighbor. Led by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Central Asians are no longer seeking to contain Afghanistan but are instead actively contributing to the country’s development. Kazakhstan’s commitment to peace and development in Afghanistan is long-standing, and its contributions manifold. In this event organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Kaliyev discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the role of foreign players and actors, Afghanistan’s impact on regional security, as well as the role of Europe and America and avenues for cooperation with Kazakhstan.

This online forum was the first of a series of events marking the 30th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan.

Speakers:

H.E. Talgat Kaliyev, Special Representative of the President of Kazakhstan for Afghanistan.

S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program

Moderators: 

Svante E. Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program

Aida Yermekkalieva, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of Kazakhstan, Stockholm

When: March 3, 2021, 9:30 AM EST / 3:30 PM CET

The event is now available on YouTube

 
Published in Forums & Events

Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program
Silk Road Paper
November 2020

 

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Kazakh-mediation-cover 450In the past decade, Kazakhstan has emerged as an important player in the world of mediation of international disputes. Its role in convening the Astana talks on Syria are the most well-known example, but Kazakhstan’s activity goes far beyond this. In fact, involvement in international mediation has emerged as yet another facet of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, alongside its high profile in multilateral organizations.

In fact, Kazakhstani mediation builds on two aspects of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy: the country’s multi-vector foreign policy and its activism in international institutions. Landlocked, surrounded by large powers and closely tied to Russia by economics and demographics, Kazakhstan’s efforts to assert its independence have always been a balancing act. Kazakhstan’s First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, established the country on the international scene in the 1990s primarily by his historic decision to renounce Kazakhstan’s nuclear weapons, and his careful efforts to build independent statehood in the political realm while simultaneously working to restore economic integration among former Soviet states. Kazakhstan’s model has been to maintain close relations with Russia, but simultaneously to strive to strengthen its ties with other partners – first China, then the United States, subsequently Europe and Asian powers – to obtain a positive balance in its foreign relations. This “multi-vector” foreign policy has since become a model that has been adopted by the Central Asian region as a whole.

An active role in multilateral diplomacy was key to Kazakhstan’s foreign policy from the beginning: immediately upon independence, Nazarbayev initiated the idea of a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia, which materialized in the decade that followed. Kazakhstan also took on an active role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, becoming the first post-Soviet state to chair the organization in 2010. Not stopping there, Kazakhstan successfully campaigned for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, and served on the Council from 2017 to 2019.

Kazakhstan’s first initiative in the field of international mediation took place already in late 1991, when President Nazarbayev partnered with Boris Yeltsin to seek to mediate the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But it is in the past decade that these efforts have been rekindled, against the background of a gradual intensification of geopolitical competition in Eurasia writ large. Kazakhstan’s first effort took place during its OSCE Presidency, when it intervened to attenuate the crisis in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. By assisting in removing ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from the country, Kazakhstan contributed to easing tensions in the country.

Kazakhstan next focused on nuclear diplomacy, an issue with which the country had considerable familiarity. After offering to host an international Low Enriched Uranium Bank, President Nazarbayev succeeded in hosting two successive summits in Almaty on the Iranian nuclear program in 2013. These efforts aimed at seeking a negotiated solution that would halt the escalation of tensions that risked a greater military conflagration. While talks in Almaty did not resolve the matter, they directly paved a way for the Geneva talks that eventually led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program.

Over the following several years, Kazakhstan focused on alleviating tensions among its close partners – Russia, Turkey and the West. In 2014, Nazarbayev sought to bridge the divide between Russia and the West on Ukraine. Kazakhstan played an active role in facilitating dialogue among Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany that manifested in the Normandy Format. Two years later, Kazakhstan took a hands-on approach in resolving – at least for a time – the dispute between Russia and Turkey that resulted from the Turkish downing of a Russian jet over the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015. The next year, building on this initiative, Turkey and Russia agreed to President Nazarbayev’s offer to host talks on the Syrian conflict. Several rounds of “Astana Talks” have taken place since, involving the Syrian government, opposition groups, and the key external powers in the conflict – Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

What, then, has been the function and rationale of Kazakhstani mediation efforts?

Kazakhstan’s mediation has not been focused on faraway lands: it has been focused very much on those areas that affect the geopolitical stability of Eurasia, which in turn is the determinant for Kazakhstan’s own stability. Thus, it has concentrated on crises right on Kazakhstan’s doorstep, like in Nagorno-Karabakh and Kyrgyzstan, as well as on disputes that involve the regional and great powers of Eurasia. Both types of crises involved confrontations that threatened to destabilize the geopolitics of Eurasia, and thus posed a threat to Kazakhstan’s own security. Kazakhstan’s economic development and strategic stability is directly correlated to the relative harmony of the broader Eurasian geopolitical environment, and it has been in its interest to work to mitigate such threats to stability.

Kazakhstan’s efforts strengthen its sovereignty in at least two ways. First, it adds another layer of goodwill and recognition to Kazakhstan’s international profile. Secondly and more importantly, it provides regional powers with a strong rationale to accept Kazakhstan’s neutrality in their mutual disputes. Kazakhstan has been able to demonstrate that it is more useful for everyone as a neutral power that does not take sides – in other words, more useful as a mediator than as a supporter. For example, while Russia would have liked Kazakhstan’s endorsement of its policy in Ukraine, Kazakhstan showed that it could, uniquely, serve as a go-between that allowed Russia a way to manage its relations with Western powers, something that would be impossible in the absence of Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and international credibility.

This strategy has pitfalls. Its success requires that the level of conflict between Eurasian regional powers remains manageable; and that these powers are, at all, interested in maintaining a dialogue. If regional powers are in mortal competition against each other, Kazakhstan’s efforts would be undermined.

Against this background, the impact of Kazakhstan’s efforts become clearer. Kazakh leaders were realistic about the limited prospects of success in resolving the thorny issues they addressed. Instead, they were focused primarily on managing the fallout of these conflicts on a geopolitical level, seeking to prevent their escalation in a way that would jeopardize the broader stability of the Eurasian continent.

Kazakhstan’s efforts in international mediation have been closely tied to the personality of its First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Will Kazakhstan continue to play a role in mediating the great power politics of Eurasia in the longer term? There is reason to believe it can, for two key reasons. First, Kazakhstan’s meritocratic approach to personnel policy in foreign affairs has enabled the country to develop a considerable pool of officials with experience of high-level international politics, beginning with its current president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who has among other served as Head of UN offices in Geneva. Second, demand for this type of efforts is not likely to abate, as strategic competition in Eurasia continues to intensify and efforts to mitigate the fallout of great power competition in Eurasia appear to be more necessary for every passing year.

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