The Islam in Eurasia Policy Conference combined the latest scholarship and informed discussion of the critical issues facing the U.S. Government in this key part of the world as 2014 approaches. It was the culminating event of a multiyear research project supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Its first half-day was devoted to the project’s up-to-date academic research findings on Islam in the post-Soviet space, followed by a reception. The second full day featured presentations on specially commissioned policy papers that frame the main challenges we face in the region; an expert panel on related issues in oil-rich Azerbaijan; a luncheon address on U.S. policy by Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake, Jr.; and panel discussion by experienced scholars and former officials on the do’s and don’t’s of U.S. policy toward Central Asia.

The conference was organized by Dr. Thomas W. Simons, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and Pakistan, Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center, former Chair of the Kennan Institute Advisory Council and sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, and the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, with generous support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

EVENT SESSIONS:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2:00 – Opening Remarks

Welcome by William E. Pomeranz, Acting Director, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, and the Honorable Thomas W. Simons, Jr., Visiting Scholar, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard.

Address by Eric McGlinchey, Associate Professor of Government and Politics, George Mason University.

3:00 – 5:15 – Panels on academic findings

Chaired by Pauline Jones Luong, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

3:00 – Panel I

"A View from Below: Islam and Society in Central Asia," reviewed by Morgan Liu, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State University; and "A View from Above: Islam and the State in Central Asia," reviewed by Bayram Balci, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC.

4:00 – Break

4:15 – Panel II

"A View from Within: Sources of Religious Authority in Central Asia," reviewed by Alisher Khamidov, Analyst, Independent Consulting Group, Washington, DC; and "A View from Outside: International Islam and Central Asia," reviewed by David M. Abramson, Analyst, INR, Department of State.

5:30 – Reception

Friday, June 7, 2013

8:15 – Breakfast
9:00 – 11:00 – Panels on the Policy Context

Chaired by Ambassador Simons

9:00 – Panel I

Presentation by Ambassador Simons on “U.S. Policy toward Independent Central Asia: The Record and Key Variables,” authored by Geoffrey Wright, graduate of Harvard’s M.A. Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies (REECA); and “Domestic Shapers of Eurasia’s Islamic Futures: Sheikh, Scholar, Society and the State,” Noah Tucker, REECA graduate. Commentator: David M. Abramson, Analyst, INR, Department of State.

9:45 – Break
10:00 – Panel II

"Energy and Natural Resource Exports and the Islamic Future of Central Asia and Azerbaijan," Brenda Shaffer, Professor, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, and Visiting Researcher, Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Georgetown University; and "Envoi: Central Asia after 2014: Is There a Role for Outside Powers?" Roger Kangas, Academic Dean and Professor of Central Asian Studies, National Defense University. Commentator: Nathaniel L. Reynolds, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia, National Intelligence Council.

11:15 – Panel on Islamism and Today’s Azerbaijan

Thomas De Waal, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC; Brenda Shaffer, University of Haifa and Georgetown University; and Bayram Balci, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC. Commentator: the Honorable Richard D. Kauzlarich, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan; Deputy Director, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, School of Public Policy, George Mason University.

1:00 – Luncheon Address on U.S. Policy

Hon. Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State.

2:30 – 5:00 – Panels on U.S. Policy

Chaired by S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS.

2:30 – Panel I

Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science, Barnard College; Catherine Cosman, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and the Hon. Richard M. Miles, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Chargé d’affaires in Turkmenistan.

3:45 – Break
4:00 – Panel II

Paul Goble, independent analyst, author of Window on Eurasia blog; Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor and Director of the Central Asia Program, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University; and the Hon. Joseph A. Presel, former U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan.

5:15 – Concluding Remarks

Ambassador Thomas W. Simons, Jr.

Speakers

  • David Abramson

    Former Public Policy Scholar
  • Bayram Balci

    Visiting Scholar, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment
  • Robert O. Blake, Jr.

    Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State
  • Alexander Cooley

    Tow Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
  • Catherine Cosman

    Senior Policy Analyst, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Paul Goble

    Former Special Assistant for Soviet Nationalities, U.S. Department of State
  • Roger Kangas

    Former Short-Term Scholar
  • Richard D. Kauzlarich

    Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University; Former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan
  • Alisher Khamidov

    Analyst, Independent Consulting Group, Washington, DC
  • Marlène Laruelle

    Research Professor and Director, Central Asia Program, IERES, George Washington University
  • Morgan Liu

    Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State University
  • Pauline Jones Luong

    Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  • Eric McGlinchey

    Associate Professor of Government and Politics, George Mason University
  • Richard M. Miles

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Chargé d’affaires in Turkmenistan
  • Joseph A. Presel

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan
  • Nathaniel L. Reynolds

    Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia, National Intelligence Council
  • Brenda Shaffer

    Professor, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, and Visiting Researcher, Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Georgetown University
  • Thomas W. Simons, Jr.

    Visiting Scholar, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard
  • S. Frederick Starr

    Former Short-Term Scholar
  • Noah Tucker

    Graduate of Harvard’s M.A. Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies (REECA)
  • Thomas de Waal

    Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Geoffrey Wright

    Graduate of Harvard’s M.A. Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies (REECA)