Shairbek Dzhuraev

Shairbek Dzhuraev is the co-founder and president of Crossroads Central Asia and a visiting lecturer at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. He received his PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews and his MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE). His areas of expertise encompass international relations, domestic politics and foreign policy linkages, and water and energy issues in the region. Previously, Shairbek was the Deputy Director at the OSCE Academy…

Aijan Sharshenova

Dr Aijan Sharshenova is the executive director at Crossroads Central Asia and a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre in London. She holds a PhD in Politics awarded at the University of Leeds and two Master’s degrees in International Studies and EU Studies. Aijan has recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, where she researched Russian public diplomacy in Central Asia. In addition to her academic career, Aijan has worked in…

Mehrigiul Ablezova

Mehrigiul Ablezova is one of the leading sociologists of Central Asia. She teaches Quantitative Research Methods, Applied Social Statistics and SPSS, Qualitative Research Methods and other related courses in the Sociology Department of the American University of Central Asia. Mehrigiul has extensive experience of leading and coordinating nation-wide surveys, focus groups in the country. The projects she oversaw included those by UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, GIZ, USAID…

Emil Dzhuraev

Emil Dzhuraev is a political scientist and regular commentator on political trends in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. Emil holds PhD in Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and MA in Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington. His expertise includes political regimes and democratization processes in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia; issues of constitutional development; regional geopolitics. He also covers broader themes of theories of constitutionalism…

Karolina Kluczewska

Karolina Kluczewska is a FWO postdoctoral researcher at the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies (GIES) and a research associate at the Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies, University of St Andrews (UK). Her current research explores evolving understanding of welfare in Poland and Tajikistan. Karolina holds a PhD degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. 


Rashid Gabdulhakov

Dr Rashid Gabdulhakov is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Rashid researches propaganda, influence operations, populism and digitalization in rural areas of Europe and Central Asia. He defended his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he researched digital vigilantism (citizen-led justice manifested online) in Russia and Central Asia. Rashid holds a Master of Advanced Studies degree in International and European Security from the University of Geneva and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a Master of Arts degree in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. You can learn more about Rashid’s work at

Nazira Momosheva

Dr Nazira Momosheva is an Associate Professor at the Institute of History and Area Studies at the Jusup Balasagyn Kyrgyz National University. Her research interests include contemporary history, international relations, Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy, and relations between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic. Nazira participated in academic programs in Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, Germany and the USA. Previously, she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen (Germany, 2009) and Senior Researcher in the multinational research project “Analyzing Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation: Central Asia, its Neighboring Countries, and Europe” (2012-2015), funded by the Volkswagen Foundation

Rahat Sabyrbekov

Dr Rahat Sabyrbekov is an environmental economist specialising in decarbonisation, climate change, and energy transition. Rahat is a postdoctoral fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Davis Center. He obtained his PhD from the School of Economics and Business at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He received his master’s degree from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. He teaches a course on the economics of sustainable management of mineral resources at the OSCE Academy. His recent publications include “Small and large friends of the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism: Which non-EU countries are likely to support it?” (2024), “Putting the Foot Down: Accelerating EV Uptake in Kyrgyzstan” (2023), “Know Your Opponent: Which Countries Might Fight the European Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism?” (2022), and “Fossil Fuels in Central Asia: Trends and Energy Transition Risks” (2022).

Serik Beimenbetov

Dr Serik Beimenbetov is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science & Vice-President for Research and Innovations at Kazakh-German University, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Serik holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Exeter, UK. His expertise is in political science, modern and contemporary history, and international relations. Previously, Serik served in teaching and research positions across Central Asia, including the American University of Central Asia and the University of Central Asia. His research focuses on contentious politics, social movements, and civil society in Central Asia.

Willemijn Born

Willemijn Born, MSc, is a PhD-candidate and lecturer at the Department of Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She is also affiliated with the Centre for International Criminal Justice. Her PhD research, titled ‘Dissecting Dissent: Nonviolent Resistance in Post-Soviet regimes’ dives into varying contexts in which nonviolent resistance did or did not occur, to determine which factors facilitate these movements and which hamper them. She specifically researches Turkmenistan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

To contact Crossroads Central Asia team or research fellows, email at

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