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 Open Call for Papers - International Conference "Central Asia and the Caucasus in Transition: International Perspectives?"

The Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) are organising a high-level international conference on the “Central Asia and the Caucasus in Transition: International Perspectives?” at the Ilia State University in Tbilisi on the 30th and 31th of August 2018. The conference is taking place in the framework of the PhD support programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS) which is organised with significant funding from the Volkswagen Foundation and financially supported by the Erasmus+ Programme.

The Caucasian and Central Asian states are witnessing significant changes in their political landscape at the moment, and are still characterized by their historical background and cultural and religious traditions. With regard to the current developments, the conference is devoted to the discussion of the transition processes Central Asian and the Southern Caucasian countries are undergoing: Which opportunities for democratic transition can be expected in the South Caucasian and Central Asian states? How are internal state building and democracy building processes executed, and what influence do foreign actors have on local politics, civil society and socio-cultural developments? What role does the historical background of the post-soviet countries play in their current political situation? How are the Central Asian and South Caucasian states positioning themselves in the international community, especially in regards to the EU? And which new fields of cooperation between the EU, the South Caucasus and the Central Asian states can be developed and strengthened?

These questions will be discussed with high-level speakers from the Central Asia, Europe and the Southern Caucasus as well as researchers and PhD candidates from the three regions. The junior researchers have the chance to present their research projects in the international conference and receive feedback from renowned researchers. The conference offers them networking opportunities with other researchers, university professors and lecturers from Europe and the wider Central Asia. It aims at establishing a European-Central Asia-Southern Caucasus research network, including the fellows of the EUCACIS programme and alumni of the Master Programme “The EU and Central Asia in the International System”.

Submission of paper proposals: IEP and CIFE invite doctoral researchers and MA students in their last year to submit paper proposals, which are related to one of the following topics:

  • The Role of International Organisations in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

  • State Building in the South Caucasus and Central Asia

  • Peace and Stability in the South Caucasus

  • Heritage and Modernity in the Wider Central Asia

  • Political, Social and Cultural Transition in the Wider Central Asia

Please submit your paper abstracts plus a short CV in English to Ms. Janny Schulz by 30st of June 2018. The abstracts should have a length of 300 words. All information can be found here

 

  Upcoming Event: 3rd EUCACIS Conference and PhD School in Tbilisi

On 30/31th August 2018, the 3rd International EUCACIS Conference “Central Asia and the South Caucasus in Transition: International Perspectives” will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia. Experts from the European Union, the South Caucasus and Central Asia will come together to discuss conflicts in the South Caucasus, take a close look at the latest events in Central Asia as well as explore possibilities for cooperation and dialogue between the European Union, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The conference will be a great opportunity for international researchers and practitioners to meet, exchange, and strengthen the bonds between the three regions. The EUCACIS fellows are strongly involved in the conference organisation and will also present their scientific research to the international experts.

Following the conference, the 3rd PhD School will be held, where the 12 fellows discuss their PhD projects and receive detailed comments by EUCACIS team advisors and their peers and to further develop their scientific and professional skills.

 

 Survey with EUCACIS Fellows

What challenges do researchers in Southern Caucasus and Central Asia face during their PhD? How do they deal with them? Who and what helps them to keep their feet on the ground? EUCACIS fellows reflect on their obstacles and how they cope with them in a survey.

“PhD degree will be my key to open a door in academia”, says Tamar Gamkrelidze, a fellow from Georgia. She, like her peers in the EUCACIS programme, sees the PhD as an essential step toward an academic career. The fellows describe the situation for researchers in their countries as challenging but with good prospects. At the same time, they stress that being a PhD candidates face uncertainty, lack of funding and the support of universities caused by the current state of postgraduate education in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.

“Uzbekistan is in the process of adopting and institutionalizing international experience in higher education. Thus, the level of scientific work is changing”, says fellow Jasur Salomov. Indeed, the EUCACIS fellows have noticed many reforms and much progress on the way to a better quality of higher education. More and more universities in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia are trying to bring doctoral programmes up to international standards, increasing the quality of the collections in their libraries and providing access to databases in foreign universities.

However, postgraduate education in these countries still suffers from many deficiencies. One of the main ones is a poor methodological approach. Almost all the fellows stress the lack of specific classes on methodological tools as well as experienced experts on contemporary research methods. Hence, many fellows feel challenged by conducting a PhD according to international scientific standards. Another big challenge for young scholars is the absence of funding for PhD students. “In order to follow a research career, one has to work and simultaneously study for a PhD. It is challenging for young researchers as they first need to develop their own academic skills”, points out Albina Muratbekova, a fellow from Kazakhstan. In addition, many fellows lack sufficient support from their PhD departments: “They are not interested in the problems or challenges we are facing while doing the PhD. The main support I receive comes from my supervisor”, says Magda Arsenyan from Armenia.

In fact, almost all the fellows appreciate the great support supervisors in their home countries give them – their feedback and guidance help them to advance their PhD projects.

Participation in the EUCACIS programme also plays a crucial role for the fellows in overcoming the above-mentioned challenges. The special courses, training opportunities and webinars fill the skills gap in methodology. The financial support enables the fellows to stay focused on conducting their PhDs as well as to undertake research trips to relevant regions, archives and libraries. Moreover, interaction with European scientists and networking with peers in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia help to ease the EUCACIS fellows’ arduous journey to an academic career.

 

 EUCACIS fellows strengthen their research skills and networks in Berlin

The fellows of the PhD Support Programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus in the International System” EUCACIS met for the second time to deepen their academic and professional skills. All twelve fellows participated in the PhD School from 19th to 23rd February 2018 in Berlin, where they attended several trainings and lectures, presented their PhD theses and received detailed comments by their EUCACIS team advisors and their peers.

During their PhD School, apart from training on their presentation skills, lectures on academic English writing and individual consultations, the fellows learned about strategies for academic publishing. They were presented an editor’s perspective and workflow, and encouraged not to quit working on their articles after receiving critical comments from a reviewer, but to consider them seriously and to revise the article.

Moreover, the EUCACIS fellows had the opportunity to gain insights into the development of EU-Central Asia relations from a diplomat’s perspective. Michael Siebert, Head of the Division for Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus at the German Federal Foreign Office, presented considerations for the review of the EU-CA Strategy, but was also interested in the opinions of the young scholars regarding the current state of affairs in their home countries and the future cooperation between the EU and Central Asia.

Consecutive to the PhD School, the fellows participated in a Research Training Stay, where they became acquainted with libraries in Berlin and met experts from the Federal Chancellery, the Center for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and from Human Rights Watch. 

The EUCACIS fellows clearly benefitted from those four intensive weeks in Berlin, as they received significant input relevant to their academic careers, and had time to focus on their research in a suitable environment. However, it was not only the fellows who benefitted from the stay. The discussions during Lunch Debates with CIFE and IEP staff on various international relations issues, different academic approaches and cultural features were enriching for all involved in the EUCACIS programme.

 EUCACIS Wins Second Place in the Competition of Cooperation Projects with Central Asia   

The PhD Support Programme "The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System" has won the second place in the competition of cooperation projects with Central Asia. The competition took place in the framework of the “Country Day Central Asia” which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on 19 and 20 September 2017. The aim of the contest was to identify innovative and successful projects with Central Asian countries and to present these to an audience of scientists and practitioners in the form of a science slam. Under the motto “Listen, understand and change”, the presentation of EUCACIS focused especially the open dialogue at eye level between young Central Asian and European researchers during the two international EUCACIS conferences. The first price was awarded to an environmental researcher who – together with his Uzbek colleagues – observes the development of the fine dust in Uzbekistan.

Representatives from ministries, foundations, universities and research funding institutions participated in the “Country Day Central Asia”. The focus lay on the internalization strategy of the German federal government in the area of education, science and research, which has been initiated in February 2017 under the auspices of the BMBF. The participants exchanged their experiences and best practices in the cooperation with Central Asian universities and scientists and gave feedback to the BMBF regarding challenges and needs in the field of research funding.

EUCACIS is the only doctoral programme in Germany that financially, professionally and logistically supports doctoral students from Central Asia and the South Caucasus who do their PhD in political science, history, economy and related fields in their home countries. In the course of the programme, the fellows participate in 4 international conferences, 4 PhD schools and 1 research training stay. Between the on-site phases, a blended-learning programme takes place during which the fellows can participate in online courses and interact in online fora. One essential goal of the programme is to create long-lasting networks between the young researchers and, consequently, to foster regional cooperation between states in Central Asian and the South Caucasus.           

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Research Traning Stay of EUCACIS Fellows in Berlin    

From 10 until 28 July 2017, the first research training stay with 6 fellows from the PhD Support Programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS) took place in Berlin. The programme participants have either full-time or part-time jobs next to their PhD projects, so the attendance phase in Berlin provided them with the opportunity to concentrate on their PhD research, visit Berlin libraries and relevant institutions and conduct interviews. 

Especially the main library of the Humboldt University – the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum – was a popular place for the fellows to visit. Its large selection of literature on the economic, political and social development in Central Asia and the South Caucasus was greatly beneficial for the fellows who often complain about difficulties with access to relevant literature at the universities in their home countries.

In the course of the three weeks, the fellows visited several political institutions and think tanks such as the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the Bundestag etc. The highlight was usually the exchange with the expert of the respective institution and the possibility to ask questions related to the fellows’ field of research. At the Ministry of Foreign Relations (AA), for instance, a fruitful debate on the Nagorno-Karabakh took place with the Head of the Political Department, Michael Siebert.    

The EUCACIS fellows conduct their research in the field of international relations, political science, history, economy and related fields. They come from eight countries in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus and have been selected from a large group of applicants in a competitive process. During the 3-years programme, the fellows will participate in four conferences, four PhD schools and one research training stay. Furthermore, they will receive online training and individual consultation from the EUCACIS team throughout the programme. EUCACIS is organized by Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) and the Institute for European Politics (IEP) and is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and Erasmus+.  

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EUCACIS Conference and PhD School July 2017  

In the course of the PhD Support Programme EUCACIS, an international conference and PhD School took place from 3rd to 8th July 2017. The goal of both events was to provide the selected PhD fellows from Central Asia and the South Caucasus with the opportunity to present their PhD projects, deepen their understanding of current challenges and developments in the respective regions and to widen their networks. The EUCACIS programme is organized by CIFE and the Institute for European Politics (IEP) and funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and Erasmus+.

During the 2-day-long conference, the focus was on geopolitical change in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus and the future role of Europe in that region. H.E. Ambassador Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia, offered an intriguing glance into the EU’s strategy for Central Asia, which he assessed as a „magnitude of challenge“. In particular, he emphasized the EU’s effort to support Central Asian states in enhancing administrative capacity and building up domestic economies which currently suffer from low oil prices, shrinking remittances and a lack of reforms. Moreover, the EUCACIS fellows were able to witness panel debates between scientists and practitioners from the respective regions and discuss their PhD posters with the conference visitors during lunch breaks.

During the four days of the PhD School, the EUCACIS fellows received thematic and methodological input from selected experts and had the chance to present their PhD projects to EUCACIS staff as well as to get individual feedback. In addition to lectures on „International Relations Theory“, „Democracy Theory“ and „Comparative Regionalism“, the focus was on the design and publication of a policy paper which the fellows have to write in the course of the EUCACIS programme. For half of the fellows, the PhD School is followed by a 3-week research training stay during which they can make use of CIFE / IEP facilities and resources to conduct their research. The experience of spending 4 weeks in Berlin and closely interacting with researchers from different countries will certainly not only enhance the academic competences of the EUCACIS fellows, but also contribute to a better intercultural understanding.  

 

PhD Fellows from Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus at the Second EUCACIS Conference in Berlin

EUCACIS Fellows take part in the first PhD School of the programme

  

 

Conference in Berlin on 3-4 July News

Conference on “Geopolitical Change in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus” in Berlin on 3/4 July

The international conference “Geopolitical Change in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus: Which Future Role for Europe?” organized by CIFE and the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) will take place on 3-4 July 2017 at the premises of the Representation of the European Commission to Germany (Unter den Linden 78, 10117 Berlin, Germany).

We are especially pleased to welcome the EU Special Representative for Central Asia H.E. Ambassador Peter Burian as a keynote-speaker on the second day of the conference. He will speak on the “Prospects of EU-Central Asia Relations”.

The conference is taking place within the framework of the PhD Support Programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS). It will involve well-known experts and high-ranking decision-makers as well as young researchers who will discuss the role of global and regional powers in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus as well as the consequences for EU’s future policies towards both regions. It will spur discussions about a new start for the relations between Russia and the US, its implications for Central Asia and the South Caucasus and the role of the “late global power” China.

EUCACIS fellows will be able to present their posters during the conference and get in touch with the involved scientists and conference participants.

The conference agenda is available here.

Please register here as soon as possible or at the latest by 28 June 2017.

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Call for Applications

CfA: Fellowship for a Doctoral Student from Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus

We are happy to announce that we are able to offer one additional fellowship in the framework of the PhD Support Programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS). The deadline for application is 31 August 2017.

Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Erasmus+ programme, the EUCACIS PhD Support Programme offers scholarships of 300 Euro per month for three years and a travel grant of up to 500 Euro for field research to excellent postgraduates who are working on a doctoral thesis in political science, contemporary history or economics on a topic related to the programme’s thematic focus at a university or academy of sciences in the Southern Caucasus or the wider Central Asia (including Afghanistan, the Kashmir region in India, and the autonomous region Xinjiang in China).

In addition, the programme provides intensive PhD research training to coach its participants in international academic standards and help them to establish their own networks with other young researchers. It offers (travel costs and accommodation are covered by the programme):

  • four international conferences in Almaty, Berlin, Yerevan, and Bishkek;
  • three PhD schools in Berlin, Yerevan, and Istanbul;
  • one research training stay of three weeks for individual training, supervision and research in Berlin;
  • mentoring by postdoctoral researchers for three years;
  • continuous online coaching including courses on methodology in political science, economics and contemporary history.

The deadline for application is 31 August 2017.

For information on the eligibility and the details of the application process see the attached flyer.

Please find here the application form which needs to be submitted along with all other documents.

For further information about the EUCACIS programme please refer to our brochure.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the EUCACIS team.
Email: info@eucacis.eu

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Open Call for Papers

The Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) are organising a high-level international conference on the “Geopolitical Change in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus: What Future Role for Europe?” in Berlin on the 3rd and 4th of July 2017. The conference is taking place in the framework of the PhD support programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System” (EUCACIS) which is organised with significant funding from the Volkswagen Foundation and financially supported by the Erasmus+ Programme.

The geopolitical framework of the EU’s relations with Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus has changed significantly. China shows increasing interest in cooperating with the Central Asian countries while Russia pursues its ambitions in its immediate neighbourhood through the Eurasian Economic Union. The interest of the US in both regions has decreased since Clinton’s Silk Road Initiative. Whether the Trump administration will change this, remains unclear. Also regional powers, such as India, Iran and Turkey have put stronger emphasis on their policies towards the regions. Against this backdrop, the EU has to discuss the renewal of its strategy for Central Asia (the current dates back from 2007) and the adjustment the European Neighbourhood Policy with regard to the Southern Caucasus. The debates have to consider the changing geopolitical context as well as domestic factors in the target countries and in the EU, notably the process of implementing the new EU “Global Strategy”.

With regard to these current developments, the conference is devoted to the discussion of the prospects of the EU’s role in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus: Which lessons can be drawn from previous cooperation with the target countries? How should the EU position itself towards China, Russia, the US and regional powers in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus? How can the EU implement the “Global Strategy” in its policies towards the regions? Which new challenges will the regions face in the next years? How can the states in both regions and global actors cooperate to deal with these challenges? Is there an option for regional integration or cooperation to address these challenges?

These questions will be discussed with high-level speakers from China, Central Asia, Europe, Russia, the Southern Caucasus and the US as well as researchers and PhD candidates. The junior researchers have the chance to present their research projects in the international conference and receive feedback from renowned researchers. The conference offers them networking opportunities with other researchers, university professors and lecturers from Europe and the wider Central Asia. It aims at establishing a European-Central Asia-Southern Caucasus research network, including the fellows of the EUCACIS programme and alumni of the Master Programme “The EU and Central Asia in the International System”.

 

Submission of paper proposals:

IEP and CIFE invite researchers to submit paper proposals, which are related to one of the following topics:

  • EU-Central Asia relations;
  • EU-Southern Caucasus relations;
  • The role of China, Russia, and the US in both regions;
  • The role of regional actors in both regions;
  • Regional integration in Central Asia and in the Southern Caucasus;
  • Assessment of the EU’s policy towards Central Asia and towards the Southern Caucasus;
  • The review of the European Neighbourhood Policy;
  • The review of the EU Central Asia Strategy;
  • Implementation of the EU Global Strategy in policies towards both regions;
  • Security challenges in both regions;
  • Transition in states of both regions;
  • Democracy promotion in both regions;
  • Economic developments and trade relations with both regions;

 

Please submit your paper proposal in English to Mr. Julian Plottka, (julian.plottka@iep-berlin.de) by 31st of May 2017. Paper proposals should have a length of 300 words and include full contact details.

Invitation to the Conference:

Participants of the working groups of the international conference will be selected from the submitted paper proposals by a board of reviewers. Selected participants do not have to pay a conference fee; food and drinks will be provided.

About the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP):

Since its founding (1959), the IEP has been a non-profit organisation dedicated to the study of European integration and of the EU in the international system. It is one of the leading foreign and European policy research centres in the Federal Republic of Germany and serves as a forum for exchange between academia, politics, administration and political education.

More information: www.iep-berlin.de

About the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE)

Established in 1954, CIFE is a private, non-profit international organisation, receiving the support of the European Union and other organisations. CIFE has offices in Nice, Berlin, Brussels and Istanbul. The programmes of CIFE encompass educational and research activities concerning European integration, federalism, regionalism and changes within the structure of contemporary society in accordance with a federalist perspective.

More information: www.cife.eu

Contact Details:

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Julian Plottka (julian.plottka@iep-berlin.de).




Interview with Fellow Magda Arsenyan

Name: Magda Arsenyan

Country: Armenia

Degree: MA in Public Administration

Academic discipline: Political Science

Specialisation: Political Processes and Institutions

Topic of the doctoral thesis: Preconditions for the Establishment of Parliamentary Culture in Armenia

How would you explain the topic of your dissertation to a non-expert in the field? Talking to a non-expert, I would bring up a synonym of “parliamentary culture” – namely the “nationwide dialogue” between state and society. We all have our own role in the establishment and further development of that constructive dialogue. Parliamentary culture reflects not only the behaviour of political actors, but also the mentality of civil society. It illustrates the ability of state and society to listen to each other and the political will to achieve a compromise.

I am writing a doctoral thesis because my topic is directly linked to the political processes that are taking place in Armenia at the moment. As a result of the referendum on constitutional reforms in 2015, the Republic of Armenia is moving from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary system of government. This new stage in the history of Armenia brings different challenges. The scientific innovation of the topic lies in researching an unprecedented transformation process: the establishment of a parliamentary culture. Society has to perceive the parliament not only as a legislative body, but as a supreme state, legal and political institute. The parliamentary culture reflects the political consciousness of the state. The formation of the parliamentary culture should be an opportunity to balance public supply and demand as well as the legal and social policy conducted by the state. In consequence, a dialogue between state and society has to be established based not on continuing internal political conflicts, but rather on mutual trust, understanding and compromise.

What are your expectations from the EUCACIS programme? I expect to gain a lot of knowledge and to get the opportunity to cooperate with highly qualified professors, with whose support I will become an expert in my field of specialisation.  

In ten years, I see myself as an official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

If I was not doing a PhD right now, I would choose the business sector and establish a company which would organise different kinds of events in Armenia and abroad. That would offer an opportunity to be part of different cultures, bring new acquaintances and also a new mentality. One would get the chance to create a cultural movement in everyday life.

 




Interview with Fellow Tamar Gamkrelidze

Name: Tamar Gamkrelidze

Country: Georgia

Degree: MA in European Studies

Academic discipline: Political Science

Specialisation: European identity and discourse theory

Topic of the doctoral thesis: The Role of Europe in the Identity Formation of Post-Soviet Georgia

How would you explain the topic of your dissertation to a non-expert in the field? The topic of my dissertation relates to identity formation of the Georgian people from 2004–2013. The thesis scrutinises the political elites’ activities to redress national identity through introducing the European project in post-Soviet Georgia. The main focus of my research is the discourse of the political elites which they used in order to persuade the Georgian people of the Europeanness of their country. The interest of the study is to see to what extent the political elites managed to Europeanise the national identity of Georgia within the given timeframe. With this aim, the doctoral project looks into public political narratives in order to explore how the political elites defined the concept of Europe and also how they connected Europe with the basic concepts of nation and state. The data generated through a discourse analysis will produce a picture of the political identity of Georgia.

I am writing a doctoral thesis because the topic I am working on inspires me every single day.

What are your expectations from the EUCACIS programme? I expect the EUCACIS programme to introduce me to intellectuals willing to network, discuss and provide feedback on my research. This is because exchange of opinions and especially input from a colleague are an eye-opener, as it is through this process that unforeseen and new aspects of a topic emerge, thus keeping the research on the right track. Training and mentoring are another feature of the programme which promises to boost my knowledge as well as skills. The programme also assists fellows to become more disciplined and dedicated to the writing process. Last but not least, participation in the conferences, which offer the opportunity to mingle and talk with high profile political scientist in Europe, is a lifelong, invaluable experience. 

In ten years, I see myself in academia, teaching and researching on European identity and the EU external affairs, in particular focusing on Eastern Partnership countries. In parallel to my career, I truly hope to start a family and have kids.

If I was not doing a PhD right now, I would hold an administrative position either at an international organization or a governmental institution.




Interview with Fellow Jamshid Normatov

Name: Jamshid Normatov

Country: Uzbekistan

Degree: MA in European Studies

Academic discipline: World Economy

Specialisation: International Economics

Topic of the doctoral thesis: Financial liberalization under WTO: opportunities and risk for developing economies

How would you explain the topic of your dissertation to a non-expert in the field? My topic concerns the issue of financial liberalization in developing countries. The World Trade Organization promotes trade in goods and services worldwide. Financial services trade is important for developing countries because it has potential for providing access to funding for people and businesses. This can reduce the costs of borrowing and promote investments. These, in turn, can generate new jobs, higher incomes for people and more tax revenues for the government. However, financial liberalization contains risks. It may lead to dependency of developing countries on foreign borrowing and may result in financial crises if foreign banks decide to stop lending. My research aims to provide a rationale for financial liberalization and to recommend regulation models for developing countries to minimize liberalization risks.

I am writing a doctoral thesis because I pursue the goal of becoming an educational leader and academic authority in international economics.

What are your expectations from the EUCACIS programme? I expect the EUCACIS programme to provide me with academic advice on my doctoral research as well as networking opportunities with leading specialists in my field of research. I am also hopeful that the programme will help me with getting access to information related to my research as well as assist me with publishing my research findings in peer-reviewed journals in the EU.

In ten years, I see myself as a policy advisor on economic policy-making working with the Uzbek government, international organizations, and business. I believe by then I will have gained  experience and be prepared to become a public leader in my country, who will enact policies in support of development and growth.

If I was not doing a PhD right now, I would have less chances of being promoted in my current job. I need the PhD to assume more responsible – senior management – positions within the university.




Interview with Fellow Bahodur Sheraliev

Name: Bahodur Sheraliev

Country: Tajikistan

Degree: MA in Global Political Economy

Academic discipline: International Relations, Political Economy

Specialisation: Climate Change Mainstreaming, Policy Advice

Topic of the doctoral thesis: Tajikistan in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Multilateral Negotiations Process: Achievements, Commitments and Perspectives for Tajikistan

How would you explain the topic of your dissertation to a non-expert in the field? Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country that is severely affected by the negative consequences of climate change: the melting of glaciers, the Aral Sea shrinking, floods and droughts impact over 70 percent of  its population. Tajikistan has been active in multilateral climate change negotiations, but without being able to take a strong position. Tajikistan has signed the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Paris Agreement and submitted a nationally determined contribution to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In order to fulfill its international commitments, Tajikistan has to go through a complex five-year long process. Unfortunately, many experts from the key ministries lack knowledge on climate change in general as well as on the substance and commitments agreed upon by the country in the Paris Agreement in particular. Thus, a comprehensive analysis of Tajikistan’s commitments and the implementation roadmap is of utmost importance for domestic administrations and decision-makers.

I am writing a doctoral thesis because I would like to project how international framework agreements, namely the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, can shape domestic policy development in the field of climate change.

What are your expectations from the EUCACIS programme? I expect to gain sound knowledge in research methods through mentoring by postdoctoral researchers and online coaching; to use the opportunity for joint publications; to communicate with young researchers and expand my network within the academic community in the EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus. I would like to gain as much as possible from tutors, conferences, online courses, and training sessions.

In ten years, I see myself holding a decision-making position within government, dealing with climate change issues in Tajikistan and leading a negotiation platform in UNFCCC. I see myself as high-level government expert working in the field of climate change policy in Tajikistan. I am a leading professor at a university teaching International Relations with a particular focus on climate change in Central Asia, writing and publishing in international academic journals, giving lectures at leading universities of the region and providing mentorship for young scholars. I am a professional marathon runner and see myself as the champion of Tajikistan in the nine-kilometer or semi-marathon competition and as a participant in international and regional marathon competitions.

If I was not doing a PhD right now, I would continue working as an advisor for the Committee on Environmental Protection of Tajikistan for climate change mainstreaming and climate finance access. I would continue teaching at the university, but as an assistant to professors rather than myself designing and holding courses for students.




July 2017- Second Conference, PhD School and Research Training Stay in Berlin

While the EUCACIS fellows are working on the online courses and receive coaching via the elearning platform, the team already prepares the next events: a second conference, a first PhD school and a first research training stay in Berlin in July 2017.

The two-day conference will bring together the EUCACIS fellows with renowned experts to discuss the role of global and regional powers in both Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus and the one-week PhD school will coach the fellows in academic skills, higher education qualifications and networking. It will also include a young researchers session that will provide doctoral research from Central Asia, Europe and Southern Caucasus with the opportunity to present and discuss their latest research. For the first time in the framework of the programme, the EUCACIS fellows will present their PhD projects to a wider public and receive feedback from their colleagues, mentors and experienced academics. Last but not least, around six of the EUCACIS fellows will extend their Berlin stay for another three weeks to participate in the research training stay, combining academic training, visits to research institutions, and individual research.

 

 

Launch of the PhD Support Programme EUCACIS for students from Central Asia and the Caucasus

CIFE and the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) start the PhD Support Programme “The EU, Central Asia and the Caucasus in the International System“ (EUCACIS). Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Erasmus+ Programme, it offers scholarships for three years to excellent postgraduates who are working on a doctoral thesis in political science, contemporary history or economics on a topic of the programme’s focus at a university in the Southern Caucasus or Central Asia (including Afghanistan, the Kashmir region in India, and the autonomous region Xinjiang in China).

It is the objective of the EUCACIS programme to provide intensive PhD research training for its participants to bring them closer to international standards, to support them until they submit their doctoral theses, and to help them establish their own networks with other young researchers in the target regions and in Europe. This will be achieved through four international conferences (in Almaty, Berlin, Yerevan, and Bishkek); three PhD schools in Berlin, Yerevan and Istanbul; two research training stays; and continuous online coaching.

The programme is open for postgraduates who have started to work on a PhD or an equivalent degree at a Central Asian or South Caucasian university in the fields.

 

EUCACIS Fellows

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