Between Europe and Asia: Emerging Central Asia and its Multi-Faceted Role in the Era of Connectivity

Concept Note

Ever since their independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central Asian Republics have witnessed a very significant transition and have emerged as a separate political entity. Despite their shared history, and being referred as a single region, the countries differ in their levels of political and economic development, cultural and ethnic composition and relations with the outside world.
As Central Asia remains relatively understudied compared to other regions, there is an urgent need to investigate its role in contemporary international relations and security dynamics.
The region full of natural resources has enough potential to attract close and far neighbors. In the recent times, the European Union has also played quite a pivotal role in gaining momentum in the region; however, economic engagement remains a central driver for cooperation. The EU’s comparative role in the region faces many challenges, mostly due to the growing economic and political influence of the People’s Republic of China and the persistent political, economic, military and cultural presence of Russia. Growing influence of both is predominantly shaping the whole region. Moreover, role of other external powers, especially of India, Turkey, Iran, Arab countries is rising, too.

Taking the above mentioned facts into consideration, Ala-Too International University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with OSCE Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan is going to Organize the 2nd International Conference on Central Asia with general theme in 2020: “Between Europe and Asia: Emerging Central Asia and its Multi-Faceted Role in the Era of Connectivity” on 2-3 October 2020. The conference seeks to initiate a debate on the role of Central Asia in bridging Europe and Asia. Academics and policy makers are expected to come from Europe, South Asia, South-East and Central Asia to discuss the role and explore the challenges which the region is facing currently. Besides tremendous opportunities there are innumerable challenges such as
moving away from commodity-based growth strategies to macro-oriented diversification, adoption of a broad spectrum of economic, institutional and political reforms. The conference is expected to address alike and other emerging issues.

Conference Objectives:

The conference aims to have a high level academic discourse on analyzing the socio-economic and political developments in Central Asia and the policy challenges faced by this region. Special emphasis will be put on the thorough analysis of the potential role of Central Asia as an important strategic point of reference in the policies of the EU and Asian players. In the era of interconnectivity, what role can Central Asian republics assume by using their resources and geographical location between Europe and Asia? Which factors can positively contribute to inter-regional security and cooperation? What are the factors which may successfully contribute to shaping a new identity of respective Central Asian republics and this region as a whole? These are just some examples of issues which may be discussed and analyzed in the proceedings of the conference. The conference will be a unique opportunity for international researchers and practitioners to meet and strengthen the bonds between the regions. This event will also be an opportunity for young scholars to visit the region and interact with the local community, researchers, policymakers and community leaders to have a better sense of the region.
The organizing committee invites papers from the researchers representing diverse countries and presenting different contexts of Central Asia’s position in contemporary world, corresponding with the conference subthemes. Researchers, academicians, social workers, policymakers and other stakeholders are welcome to submit their original research papers. The panels will consist of maximum 4 papers and 20 minutes will be allotted for each presentation. Additional 10 minutes are planned for questions and discussion. We would like to assure that there will be enough time for unrestricted discussion, fruitful exchange of thoughts and ideas during the conference.

The language of the conference is English.


- In search for new identity? Central Asia as an emerging player,
- Security challenges in Central Asia and beyond,
- The rise of China and its implications for Central Asia,
- South Asia-Central Asia: the challenges of connectivity,
- The EU-Central Asia relations: challenges for the future,
- Economic and trade cooperation of Central Asian republics with the EU and Asia,
- Socio-cultural cooperation and connections: how to enhance people-to-people contacts?
- Bilateral and multilateral interactions on multiple levels