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Between Stability and Transformation:

Regional and Transnational Cooperation in Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe - A Research-Based Professionalization Project


Funded by: Volkswagen Foundation
Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache and Dr. Chiara Pierobon


Project Duration: 2017-2019


Project Description:

The project builds on the recently completed project ?Exploring Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation? and is directed by Andreas Vasilache and Chiara Pierobon, both Bielefeld University, in cooperation with TU Dortmund University, German-Kazakh University (DKU) in Almaty/Kazakhstan, OSCE Academy Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, and University of Central Asia/Aga Khan Foundation, Dushanbe/Tajikistan. It addresses the academic successor generation of Central Asian scholars and aims at their further qualification through a specific ?professionalization-through-research?-approach. More precisely, the project focuses on strengthening research capacities in Central Asia through research-oriented professionalization and training measures in the field of regional and inter-regional studies. The thematic emphasis lies on the simultaneity and tensions between transformation and stability patterns in the region and on the interrelation between institutional structures and societal initiatives and dynamics. The following interrelated conference activities are planned during the project: 1.) an international summer school at OSCE Academy in Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, 2.) a seminar-series of three succeeding training seminars/workshops at the German-Kazakh University (DKU) in Almaty/Kazakhstan, and 3.) an international conference at University of Central Asia in Dushanbe/Tajikistan.

The research activities conducted at Bielefeld University deal with the examination of the stability-transformation continuum looking at civil societal dynamics and the contribution of international actors to the empowerment of civil society in Central Asia. At the one hand, by employing an interregional perspective, the study analyzes the influence exercised by the European Union in strengthening the non-profit sector by evaluating the extent to which its support fosters sustainable development in the target region. On the other hand, by employing a regional lens, the project analyzes state-civil society relations in a comparative way. In particular, it is concerned with similarities and divergences in the ways in which Central Asian regimes are engaged in preserving their stability through the establishment of more or less conducive environment for the development of the non-profit sector.