Connecting Central Asia in the 21st Century, 25 – 26 April 2019, Oxford

Akram Umarov, COMPASS team member at UWED, has been invited to present in the keynote panel ‘Belt and Road Initiative—Regional Boom or Bust?’ on the 25th of April in the above conference. 

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

A one-day workshop on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the University of Kent (13th March) was followed by a Master Class on 14th March where postgraduate students were able to discuss BRI with the experts participating in the workshop, and a trip to Cambridge on the 15th of March to attend a round table at the Cambridge Central Asia Forum. Further information is available here.

 Meeting in Cambridge and Navroz, 8 March 2019

This year’s Navroz (Central Asian New Year) celebrations were preceded by  a roundtable with the theme ‘Dynamics and Dynamisms of the Emerging Global Order: Role of Parliamentary Structures’.  It was followed by the cultural evening which included an exciting array of dance and musical performances from the region to an audience of more than 300 people.


The role of university education and science in modern society: on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the Belarusian State University, Minsk, 26-27 February 2019

The conference was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Soviet Belarus Government Decree of February 25,1919 to open a University in Minsk and attracted over 170 researchers from Belarus, Russia, Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Turkey. Further information can be found here.

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

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.

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

The workshop 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.

COMPASS Research Associate receives prestigious Web of Science Award


Anar Valiyev, COMPASS Research Associate, and his colleague Dr. Omar Farooq at ADA University were awarded the Web of Science Award 2018 as as the Most Productive Authors in Humanitarian and Social Sciences by Clarivate Analytics. The Award was given by the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan, Science Foundation of Azerbaijan and the Global Director of Clarivate Analytics Isabel Reiss.




Meeting with Mme Fu Ying, 5th December 2018

The GCRF COMPASS team at Kent hosted Mme Fu Ying, Vice Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, on 5 December 2018, to discuss opportunities for scientific cooperation under the aegis of the COMPASS project. Participation of prominent Chinese academics at the forthcoming COMPASS workshop on BRI in March 2019 and a big KENT conference on governance and resilience in July 2019 were part of the agenda


Caspian Innovation Conference, 5th December 2018, Baku

Business leaders (Vodafone, CISCO, Turkcell), UN, and government officials came together to discuss immediate challenges and opportunities. Dr Saxena and the team from Cambridge represented GCRF COMPASS in this event.

Training Workshop for higher education institutions ‘How to prepare a successful project proposal’, 19-23 November 2018, Baku, ADA University in Partnership with the BSU COMPASS Team

The training workshop was aimed at building basic competencies of project design and writing including problem identification, target groups analysis, understanding Logical Framework Matrix approach, applying ICT skills for project planning and budgeting, text writing and grant application management. During the five training days participants developed their knowledge in project proposal development starting from problem identification to project budgeting, writing and evaluation. Existing EU programs such as Erasmus+, Jean Monnet, joint master degrees and international practices of organization of project activities within higher education institutions were reviewed. Participants of the training program included staff and academic faculty of ADA University and seven other public and private HEIs in Azerbaijan, as well as COMPASS Project participants from Tajik National University and University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Uzbekistan.


Roundtable on Community Dialogue and Democratisation of Society in Uzbekistan, 15 November 2018, Cambridge

Organised by Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, GCRF RCUK COMPASS Communities Engagement Initiative, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge & Independent Institute for Monitoring Civil Society in Uzbekistan, Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the UK, Office of  OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan.

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

On 9th November, COMPASS organised a workshop together with the Rome-based Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the H2020 UPTAKE project. 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.

Participants included COMPASS team members from all six project institutions; Advisory Board members; PhD students from the UPTAKE consortium; and external participants. The key note was delivered by Dr Nathalie Tocci (AB member, Special Adviser to the European Union’s HR/VP Federica Mogherini, and Director of the IAI).

In each of the three roundtable sessions speakers presented their views on resilience in light of theory; policies; and practice. The presentations were followed by interventions of provocateurs and discussions with the whole audience. Specific issues that were raised during the workshop and that will contribute greatly to the formation of the project’s conceptual framework, concerned the different interpretations of ‘resilience’; the link between resilience and capacity-building, as well as policy impact. The workshop will lead to several concrete outputs, including working proceedings and possibly a Special Issue.

Workshop information

COMPASS Field Trip Mission to Belarus, 28 October- 4 November 2018

BSU International Seminar

On her recent field mission trip to Belarus, Professor Elena Korosteleva visited the BSU, where she had a series of engagements. Elena met with the BSU team – Dr Artsiom Nazaranka (Team Leader), Professor Victor Shadurski (Research), Yauhenni Preihermann (Policy) and Professor David Rotman (in absentia, via skype), to discuss BSU strategic priorities and specific calendar plans for this academic year; followed by meetings with the Ms Tatiana Kovshevich (Head of Finance, BSU), Professor Siarhei Khodzin (Vice-Rector, BSU) and a wider pool of researchers covering a wider Eurasian region, from an inter-disciplinary perspective.


International Scientific Conference “Belarus in the Modern World”, 29 October 2018


Stephen Kinnock (Member of Parliament, House of Commons, Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, London) and Elena Korosteleva (Professor of International Politics, Jean Monnet Chair in European Politics, University of Kent, Canterbury)
Image source: MSC / Kuhlmann

During 31 October-1 November 2018, Elena was also invited to participate at the 12th Core Group Meeting of the Munich Security Conference (MSC). Limited to an exclusive group of no more than 70 participants, the MSC Core Group Meeting in Minsk offered a neutral platform to discuss rising tensions between East and West, to establish dialogue and communication at the highest political levels. Organised in partnership with the Government of Belarus, the meeting focused on the issues of transnational security threats, arms control and confidence building, Minsk Process, regional conflicts and capacity-building measures in the wider Eurasian region. All discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule, to allow for open exchange of opinion bringing to the same table parties with potentially opposing views to establish common ground. Participants included several heads of state and government, such as Alexander Lukashenko (President of Belarus), Armen Sarkissian (President of Armenia), Hashim Thaci (President of Kosovo); Prime Ministers of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Moldova; foreign ministers of Macedonia, Mongolia, Poland, and Slovakia, as well as high-level representatives of international organisations including OSCE Secretary General, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, NATO Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation.


26 – 27 October 2018, Cambridge

Roundtable on Role of Science in the Development of High-Tech Production and a one day conference on Marx in the era of High Technology The meeting was organised to discuss the knowledge economy and the role of science in policy making and economic planning.

COMPASS Field Trip Missions to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan 12 – 17 October 2018

The COMPASS teams from the Universities of Kent and Cambridge visited the National Teams at UWED (Tashkent), and TNU (Dushanbe), during 12-17 October 2018. The purpose of the visit was to meet a wider pool of affiliates of the National Teams, present COMPASS priorities, discuss planned activities and shared calendar of events, and support the teams in their own countries. Furthermore, COMPASS teams had visits to the British Embassies and British Councils in Tashkent and Dushanbe, and meetings with representatives of national governments and parliaments, to alert them to the COMPASS agenda to develop prospects for cooperation.

Project meeting with UWED team members
Meeting the Rector at Tajik National University

These field missions were very important: meeting the people changed the project dynamics and reinforced a shared vision, and objectives. These personal conversations were far more effective than communication by e-mail and videoconferences. It also allowed us to meet potential collaborators from different universities and young researchers in both countries eager to find out about COMPASS and explore opportunities for networking and collaboration. Additionally, national  governments in both countries are now much more aware of the project and have pledged their support for initiatives such as the proposed regional forums in Uzbekistan and  Tajikistan.

The hospitality of our host requires a special mention – from meeting us at the airport (and taking us back for very early morning flights) to providing transport to hotels and the various meeting places, to organising special dinners and taking the time to accompany us sightseeing – we very much appreciate the effort and feel privileged to work with such special teams.

All the support has been much appreciated, and everyone involved in the organisation of these trips deserves a special gratitude!

COMPASS Field Trip Mission to Azerbaijan 1 -5 October 2018

The COMPASS team from Kent and Cambridge visited their partners at ADA University in Baku, on 1-5 October 2018. They met with their counterparts including Nargiz Ismayilova (National Team Leader), Dr Anar Valiyev and Dr Kavus Abushov (Research Integration), Fariz Ismailzade (Policy Impact), Nargiz Gafarova and Inara Yagubova (Community Engagement); discussed financial and transactional issues with the ADA University finance office; and engaged with a wider pool of researchers convened by the CEEUS team. These meetings allowed to discuss Key Strategic Priorities for the university, and a range of individual and shared activities for this and future academic years.

Using the presence of the UK partners, the ADA team organised a formal launch of the project, having invited a range of policy stakeholders – from a number of Ministries, relevant State Committees, and Port of Baku, as well as think tanks, Embassies in Baku, and representatives of the British Council and other EU projects currently running at ADA University.

Following the mission, several new ideas for research and policy were developed into concrete initiatives, and the calendar for project events at ADA was finalised for the year ahead. The Kent and Cambridge team are very grateful to their colleagues at ADA for hosting us and for making the field trip such a success.



Executive Training Seminars on ‘China’s Global Ambitions in the Age of Xi Jinping’ and ‘Beyond Bretton Woods: China and Changing Landscape of International Development Finance’. European University Institute, Florence, 1-6 October 2018

 Oybek Madiyev participated in the EUI Executive Training Seminars (ETS) which brought together political scientists, economists and practitioners from Europe, China and Canada to explore the most salient political and socioeconomic issues related to the growing international presence and influence of China. The discussions covered a variety of perspectives on the strategic outcomes of the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China’s ambitions for international institution-building. Scholars and practitioners reflected on how President Xi Jinping’s stated goal of moving China to the global centre stage by 2049 would reverberate on security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, on world trade and global macroeconomic stability, and on international development. Oybek used the ETS as an opportunity to introduce the COMPASS project to a wider network of scholars and policy-makers, and to explore opportunities for broader cooperation with the EUI Academy of Global Governance.

COMPASS @KENT expands its pool of researchers, 28 September 2018

COMPASS @Kent welcomed new members to its expanding team, which included Director of the newly established Global Challenges Doctoral Centre, Dr Ingvild Bode; 2 new GCRF PHD  students, Huawei Zheng and Polina Bishenden; and the COMPASS affiliates – Dr Anisa Heritage, Professor Richard Sakwa, Dr Hendrik Huelss, Zhouchen Mao, Tanya Radchuk, and Muzaffer Kutlay (currently UPTAKE RA).



COMPASS @Kent attends the EISA conference in Prague, 12-16 September 2018

Members of the COMPASS Kent team, along with Prof Trine Flockhart (University of Southern Denmark and COMPASS AB member) and Dr Tobias Bunde (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin) participated in the EISA Conference in Prague. The roundtable session was titled ‘Interrogating complexity of a changing global order: Building resilience and cooperative orders in an increasingly multi-order world’. Panelists reflected on the changing world order; and the issues of governance, identity and resilience to understand change and the extent of cooperative potency of emerging new order(s). The discussion referred to the cases of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan to better capture impending transformations.

COMPASS @Kent participates at the UACES 48th Annual Conference, University of Bath, 2-6 September 2018

Elena Korosteleva (Kent), Miriam Lexmann (IRI and COMPASS AB member), Tatiana Romanova (St Petersburg and COMPASS AB member) and Eske van Gils (Kent) participated in a roundtable at the UACES conference in Bath on the 4th of September. Along with Richard Youngs (Warwick University / Carnegie Europe) and the wider audience of specialists, the roundtable engaged with current debates revolving around the highly politicised practices of democracy promotion vis-à-vis capacity-building as a new strategic framework to facilitate change in the wider neighbourhood. As part of theorising capacity-building it also focused on the concept of resilience to see if there is any conceptual potency for the conceptual and practical use of the term in future debates.

COMPASS participation in UPTAKE Training School at Uppsala University

Anar Valiyev at the UPTAKE Training School

Between 26th and 31st August several members of the COMPASS project participated in the 4th UPTAKE Training School titled ‘Straight talk about Russia’. The Training School took place at Uppsala University in Sweden and was organised through the H2020 Twinning project UPTAKE. Anar Valiyev (ADA University), Pavel Boltochko (BSU) and Eske van Gils (Kent) presented their work at the school; and PI Elena Korosteleva also participated in the programme.

The participation of COMPASS members in the training school was motivated by our own plan to organise an Early Career Researchers training school in 2019. Attending the week-long event in Uppsala allowed us to observe best practices on the organisation of such research-driven trainings. We would like to thank the organisers in Uppsala for welcoming us to the programme!

President of Tajikistan at ADA University

On the 10th of August 2018 H.E. President of Tajikistan arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan, for an official visit and on the 11th of August 2018 ADA University was honored to host the President of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon for a public speech. “Azerbaijan and Tajikistan have established a reliable political dialogue, strengthened business relations and built cooperation in a number of spheres. Azerbaijani-Tajik relations also contribute to regional cooperation. We can note with satisfaction cooperation in the international arena, where the positions of our countries on important issues coincide” remarked H.E. Hafiz Pashayev, rector of ADA University.

In turn H.E. President Emomali Rahmon mentioned the comprehensive development of stable and long-term bilateral relations with the member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and especially with Azerbaijan and highlighted the importance of Tajikistan and Azerbaijan’s close cooperation in all spheres of life and coordination of efforts in the international arena.


ADA University 3rd EU Summer Camp, 9 July – 3 August 2018

Between the 9th of July and 3rd of August 2018 ADA University hosted the 3rd EU Summer Camp. Summer Camp is a one-month program, which gives students between the ages of 9 -15 a chance to spend their summer time in an interesting and fruitful way by experiencing a variety of activities, developing their general worldview, capacities and logical thinking.  During the month more than 150 school children have participated at the Camp. Through the activities, participants have acquired basic knowledge about European Union institutions and history, and drew similarities between Azerbaijani and European cultures. The Camp was divided into four thematic weeks: “Azerbaijan 100 – When East meets West”, “ICT Genius”, “Best Junior Banker and all about Employability”, “Environment around Us”. The Camp aims to develop children’s intellectual capacities and develop interest and understanding towards European Union and its values creating a unique education platform for Azerbaijani school children.


Regional Energy Security Symposium, 16 – 20 July 2018, ADA University

From the 16th to 20th July, 2018 ADA University Center of Excellence in EU Studies in partnership with NATO Energy Center of Excellence and Naval Postgraduate School  co-organized the Regional Energy Security Symposium. The Symposium brought together government officials, representatives of high reputable oil companies, high-ranking officials from Azerbaijan and academicians from USA to discuss energy security and threats to it in the Caspian and Caucasus regions. During the week attendees from the majority of government agencies and ministries participated in lectures and seminars covering numerous topics such as Geopolitics of Energy, Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection, Cyber Security and others. Special guests of the Symposium included Mr. Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Vitaly Baylarbayov, Vice president of State Oil Company (SOCAR), Dr. Brenda Shaffer from Georgetown University and other highly reputable international experts in related fields.

President of Italy at ADA University

 ADA University was honoured to host a public speech of H.E. Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy on July 18, 2018. The lecture was conducted within the official visit of H.E. Sergio Mattarella to Azerbaijan. This was the first time for the Italian president to visit Azerbaijan. The public speech and other meetings during the visit have been mainly covering the topics of Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), contribution of stability and peace in the Caspian region to the Europe and included Azerbaijan-Italy business forum.


Launch of ‘Study My Girl’ campaign

As part of the Global Challenges COMPASS project, ADA University Center of Excellence in EU Studies (CEEUS) has launched the Study My Girl (#OxuQızım) initiative in July 2018 by presenting a powerful video on Facebook. In this video four women living in a women’s shelter in Baku are sharing details of their life stories, what challenges didn’t allow them to get a proper education and their thoughts on the importance of education in the life of every young woman.  The main purpose is to support girls and women to get the education they deserve, share powerful stories about physical, cultural and social barriers they face in accessing education and create a platform for public discussion and debate on women empowerment. The initiative will be continued by implementing community-based projects and training that help to empower girls and address barriers to girls’ education. The video can be viewed on CEEUS Facebook page in Azerbaijani with subtitles in English.

Global Challenges Research Conference at the University of Kent, 2 – 6 July 2018

The University of Kent recently organised the ‘Global Challenges Research Conference‘, to foster global partnerships and new research projects to help address the challenges  of the developing world. The conference gathered all-level stakeholders – from government officials, and funders, to NGOs, practitioners, and scholars of multiple disciplines. Baroness Suttie, from the House of Lords, and the COMPASS AB member, gave a key-note speech underlining the importance of the funding initiative.



The COMPASS project prominently featured at the conference, with Professor Korosteleva’s presentation (available here) and Q&A sessions involving National Team Leaders from ADA University, BSU, TNU, and UWED (via video-link). The partners also used this occasion to further discuss their KPIs and Action Plans for the next academic year, and develop learning & research synergies for a Jean Monnet Network application. These meetings were also attended by Dr Stefano Braghiroli and Dr Anne Beitane (Tartu University), Professor Thomas Kruessmann (GOPA), Miriam Lexmann (IRI Brussels, and COMPASS AB member), and Dr Sue Griffiths (GPG, and COMPASS AB member).