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Uzbek and Silk Road Studies

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Forum for Uzbek and Silk Road Studies

Central Asia: 30 years of Independence – Challenges and Opportunities

Tashkent, 17 November 2021


Central Asia: 30 years of Independence – Challenges and OpportunitiesThe University of Westminster (UoW, London) and Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) jointly launched the Forum for Uzbek and Silk Road Studies with a conference themed “Central Asia: 30 years of Independence – Challenges and Opportunities”. The conference formally inaugurated the Forum whose mission is to build strong research links across the region, nurture early career researchers and stimulate intellectual interest in the Central Asian region. The conference was organized at WIUT, in a hybrid mode bringing in-person and virtual participants together.

The Forum for Uzbek and Silk Road Studies provides a dynamic platform for debate and discussion over contemporary developments in Uzbekistan, Central Asia and the broader Silk Road region. The Forum seeks to be inclusive and engage all those interested in the region as well as to contribute to  international understanding of developments along the Silk Road.

Since 2017, WIUT has undertaken collaborative research with faculty partners from the University of Westminster (UK) through the UoW-WIUT Joint Research Collaboration Scheme. This research support programme promotes institutional cooperation and focuses on developing scholarly research helping WIUT and UoW faculty members develop their areas of specialisation as well as new areas of interdisciplinary research.

The Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Westminster, Dr. Peter Bonfield mentioned in his opening remarks “We are very proud of our partnership with WIUT. It has been a great 20-year journey since we started our collaboration in 2002 and it has continued to grow significantly year after year. The Forum for Uzbek and Silk Road Studies builds on the excellent collaborative international research between our two institutions and it will act as a platform for debate, dissemination of research, and public engagement on issues and topics related to Uzbekistan, Central Asia and the Silk Road region”.  

Bakhrom Mirkasimov, Rector, Westminster International University in Tashkent noted that “This is an important strategic initiative for WIUT and UoW. The Forum aims to bring together people already working on projects and to present their findings to the global community and bring other people interested in the study of Central Asia. The region of Central Asia is understudied and under-researched. However, the region has rich scientific history and cultural heritage. This partnership and the Forum contribute to research development of the region to support new research opportunities for new generation of researchers, including emerging scholars based in the region, London and beyond to develop their research capability and capacity”.  

Dr. Michael Clarke, First Deputy Rector (Academic) WIUT highlighted that “this forum is a platform for debate and dissemination of information about Uzbekistan and Central Asia which according to the writer Harry Dent will be at the centre of world attention in the coming years”.

Scholars, representatives of the government and private sector, representatives of international agencies and think tanks participated at the event which addressed four specific areas of interest:

  • Law, politics and society;
  • Business and Economics;
  • Education and Development, and
  • Business and Economics

Central Asia: 30 years of Independence – Challenges and OpportunitiesThe conference hosted international video greetings from James Pickett (Associate Professor – History Department, University of Pittsburgh), Louise Grogan (Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph), Randall Filer (Professor of Economics – Hunter College, CUNY Graduate Center & CERGE-EI), and Mark Reese (President and CEO at Suhbat LLC, Translator of Abdulla Kadiri’s novel “Bygone Days” into English).

In order to disseminate the research findings of this initiative to students and scholars around the globe “Silk Road: A Journal of Eurasian Development”, published by the University of Westminster Press, promotes evidence-based scholarly research in social sciences and public policy studies that make the affairs of the Great Silk Road countries an area of significant interest, scholarship and impact. The journal supports the Forum’s activities and a special conference issue will be commissioned – FUSRS 2021.

Conference programme (subject to change) is available to download.

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