Central Asia’s changing international role under debate

As the year closes, Crossroads’ leaders continue contributing to the growing discussions on Central Asia’s international role.

On December 6, 2023, Crossroads’ president, Dr. Shairbek Dzhuraev, gave a keynote address on the changing role of Central Asia in the world at the German-Kazakh University conference in Almaty. A recent series of summits that Central Asian leaders have held with key external partners such as China, Russia, the EU and the US have sparked discussions about the region’s growing international influence. Indeed, the war in Ukraine placed Central Asia in the middle of a new global fault line and pushed many actors to want to engage with the region, each for its own reasons. Uzbekistan’s new-found openness in foreign policy also breathed life into everything “regional” in Central Asia. That said, Dr Dzhuraev argued the “emerging agency of Central Asia” narrative needs to be qualified as it primarily builds on externally conditioned processes while intra-regional changes remain tentative at best.

On December 8-9, 2023, Crossroads’ executive director, Dr. Aijan Sharshenova, participated in the TRT World Forum in Istanbul. TRT World Forum is an international high-level discussion platform bringing together politicians, academics, international organisations and journalists to discuss global issues. This year’s Forum was opened by President Recep Erdogan and featured a range of policymakers and influencers. Dr. Sharshenova contributed to a closed expert discussion on the geopolitical rivalry in Central Asia.


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