2019 – 2020 Academic Year

Pre-Launch UKRI/GCRF Conflict Intersections Funding Call Event, 28-29 January 2020, Bishkek

GCRF challenge leader Dr Neelam Rainer and her team organised a research workshop for UK and regional scholars to discuss research opportunities under the forthcoming call, and offer training for developing research applications with a focus on conflict intersections. The workshop involved presentations from successful GCRF projects, including Dr Chuck Thiessen (Coventry), Dr Troy Sternberg (Oxford) and Professor Elena Korosteleva (Kent), and skills development session for over 40 regional and policy participants, including COMPASS representatives – from Kent, Cambridge, ADA University, BSU, TNU, UWED and ERI in Kazakhstan – regional scholars and FCO & DFID officials. At the end of 1.5 day research-intense sessions, regional scholars developed an outline of their respective projects for further collaboration with UK universities, with a focus on conflict intersections.

2018 – 2019 Academic Year

COMPASS Research Workshops 2018 – 2019

COMPASS partners organised four research workshops during the past academic year discussing topics ranging from ‘EU and resilience’ to the ‘Belt and Road Initiative @ Five’ and ‘Sustainable Future’ and ‘Good Governance’. The workshops were held in Italy, the UK and Uzbekistan and attracted young researchers not only from the partners involved in the project but also from outside, providing excellent opportunities for collaboration and networking.

International Workshop: ‘Sustainable Future and Good Governance: Conceptual Approaches’, 15 June 2019, Tashkent

On June 15, 2019, a scientific and practical workshop for young researchers on the topic “Sustainable Future and Good Governance: Conceptual Approaches” was held at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. The workshop was organized by the GCRF COMPASS (Comprehensive Capacity-Building in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia: research integration, impact governance & sustainable communities) international academic project.

More than 30 young researchers from Cambridge and Sussex universities (UK), Tajik National University (Tajikistan), University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Uzbekistan) participated in the workshop. Director of the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ambassador Dr Doniyor Kurbanov gave a keynote speech on the new foreign policy strategy of the country and its positive influence on the sustainable development.

The papers were presented in the following panels:

  1. Conceptual approaches to sustainable development and governance;
  2. Development trajectories and stability (case-studies);
  3. Sustainable development and cooperation in Central Asia.

The workshop participants discussed the theoretical aspects of sustainable development and good governance, models of political and economic reforms of developed and developing countries in Europe, East and Southeast Asia, as well as regional geopolitics in Central Asia and its impact on large-scale reforms in Uzbekistan.

Working Report

GCRF COMPASS workshop ‘ The Belt and Road Initiative @ Five: Taking stock of global ambitions, regional response, and looking ahead’ 13 – 15 March 2019, Canterbury and Cambridge

Between 13th and 15th of March the COMPASS Cambridge and Kent teams organised a joint event on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First, on 13th March a one-day workshop took place at the University of Kent, Canterbury. The workshop brought together scholars working on recent developments regarding China’s BRI and the regional responses from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to China’s growing investments. The workshop hosted three panels, on China’s grand strategy and its visions for international order; and on regional responses to the BRI, focusing particularly on the Eastern neighbourhood and Central Asia.

The workshop was followed by a Master Class on 14th March where postgraduate students at the University of Kent took the opportunity to ask questions about the BRI to the experts participating in the workshop: Professor Aleksandr Baichorov (BSU), Professor Kerry Brown (KCL), Dr Olivia Cheung (University of Warwick), and Dr Alice Ekman (IFRI). Students asked questions about the impact of the BRI on relations with Europe and the USA, the economic and security implications of the BRI and the legal context of these developments.

On 15th March a workshop on the BRI was organised by the Cambridge Central Asia Forum. Eleven scholars from the University of Cambridge, BSU, UCL and Kent presented their work on the historic Silk Road and contemporary issues, from various disciplinary angels, including anthropology, archaeology, political economy and international relations. The presentations were followed by a discussion session and a joint lunch. COMPASS affiliates from ADA University, BSU and Kent also participated in this event.

The full programme is available and workshop presentations will be published in form of proceedings.

Roundtable on Dynamics and Dynamisms of the Emerging Global Order, 8 March 2019,


CCAF in collaboration with GCRF COMPASS and Centre of Development Studies organised a Strategic Ambassadorial meeting on 8 March 2019. The panel consisted of HE Jawad (Ambassador of Afghanistan), HE Khalifzoda (Ambassador of Tajikistan), HE Shaykhov (Ambassador of Uzbekistan), Mr Annayev (Embassy of Turkmenistan), and Mr Sydykov (Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic). Senior Cambridge academics like Prof Lord Mair, Prof Nolan and Mr Ray were also part of the panel with Prof Shahidi (TNU) and Prof Korosteleva (Uni of Kent, PI GCRF COMPASS). The meeting was chaired by Dr Saxena and attended by students, early career researchers and colleagues from University of Cambridge. The roundtable was followed by a cultural evening to celebrate Navroz (Central Asian New Year). The discussion highlighted major initiatives on Economic Development, Good Governance, Industrial Development, Technical and Human Capacity Building, Culture and Education underway in the spirit of regional connectivity.  Particular highlights included the increasing role of Central Asian neighbours in rebuilding Afghanistan and overall regional connectivity and cooperation after 25 years of impasse.

Workshop ‘Russia between East and West, and the Future of Eurasian Order’, 13 December 2018, London

On 13th December 2018 the GCRF COMPASS and H2020 UPTAKE projects organised a workshop at the LSE IDEAS in London. The workshop, titled ‘Russia between East and West and the Future of Eurasian Order’ brought together over forty international participants from the COMPASS project, external universities and research institutes, and relevant Embassies, to examine Russia’s external governance and the wider Eurasian region’s response. The workshop was organised by PI Prof Elena Korosteleva and Zachary Paikin (COMPASS affiliate, University of Kent). The event addressed issues of challenges and opportunities for cooperative orders in the wider Eurasia; dynamics of Russia’s engagement in the region; the role of the Eurasian Economic Union and the shared neighbourhood of Russia and the European Union. As a result of the workshop discussions, the organising team will be developing a Special Issue with contributions from COMPASS and external participants. The workshop’s programme and speaker information can be found here

Workshop ‘The EU and resilience: interrogating theory, policies and practice’, 9 November 2018, Rome

On 9th November, the GCRF-COMPASS and H2020 UPTAKE projects organised a workshop in Rome, hosted by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). The workshop, titled “The EU and resilience: interrogating theory, policies and practice” brought together over forty participants to reflect on the concept of resilience and its application in the EU’s policies towards the eastern neighbourhood and Central Asia. The team is now working on a Special Issue titled ‘The EU and Resilience: from the global to the local, in theory and practice’. 

Information about the event can be found here