Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00

Spring 2015 Rumsfeld Fellowship

9469325398 9a8a07d299 mThe Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Rumsfeld Foundation continue to sponsor a fellowship program for raising regional leaders in government, commerce, and academia from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Afghanistan. The goal of this program is to foster better understanding and build stronger relations between the United States and countries of the region. Since its inaugural session in fall of 2008 the program has brought dozens of young leaders to the United States to conduct independent research and to meet policymakers, business leaders, journalists and academics.


Ms. Zara Chatinyan (Armenia), 39, is the Local Representative of German Development Bank (KfW) in Armenia. KfW has a more than 600 million euro investment portfolio in Armenia’s energy, drinking water and irrigation, and banking and agriculture sectors, accompanied by significant technical assistance in legislative reforms. Ms. Chatinyan works closely with the governments of Armenia and Germany to identify sectors for reforms and targeted infrastructure projects, facilitates intergovernmental negotiations, participates in multi-million sovereign loan negotiations and project preparations, supports the introduction of international standards in project management and implementation, and is also in charge of cooperation with international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, ADB, EBRD, etc. Ms. Chatinyan has more than ten years of experience in USAID financed projects in decentralization, policy and institutional development, strategic planning and municipal service improvements. Ms. Chatinyan holds a B.A. in Philology from the Teachers’ Training Institute in Armenia (1998), a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Delaware (2000) as a recipient of the prestigious Muskie Fellowship, and a Certificate in Executive Management and Leadership from the Judge Institute of Management at the University of Cambridge (2003). Research Project: "Toward Integration or Isolation: Western Values and Free Trade vs. National Security in Armenia."

Mr. Anar Jahangirli (Azerbaijan), 36, is the Vice President for Corporate Affairs at the AzMeCo Group of Companies. Mr. Jahangirli’s experience since 2011 as a private entrepreneur also includes working in senior positions as an Adviser to the CEO at the Azerbaijan Consulting Group, and as the Director for Corporate Communications at Azercell Telecom. He has also established several of his own companies. Prior to moving to the private sector, Mr. Jahangirli worked for more than a decade at the Azerbaijan Foreign Service including a tour in the Mission of Azerbaijan to the EU in Brussels. Mr. Jahangirli holds a B.A. in International Relations and International Law from Baku State University (1999), a M.A. in European Public Affairs from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands (2001), and a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2011). He has also completed courses in the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria and NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy. Research project: "Transformation to a Knowledge-based Economy: The Case of Azerbaijan."

Mr. Ilgar Taghiyev (Azerbaijan), 34, is the Chief Executive Officer at EMBAFINANS, one of the largest non-bank credit organizations based in Baku, Azerbaijan, that extends microloans to retail consumers. EMBAFINANS opened in 2012 and in three years expanded its service network to 135 points of sales with $45 million in assets. Mr. Taghiyev has more than 17 years of experience in the banking industry with a focus on micro-lending. Prior to joining EMBAFINANS, he was a Deputy CEO of Qafqaz Leasing, which primarily served SMEs and was the first company in Azerbaijan to provide micro-leasing products. From 2009-2011         Mr. Taghiyev was a Senior Consultant for EBRD’s project on SME lending and co-financing. He has served in various senior positions at Demir Bank (formerly Azerdemiryolbank) and Bank of Baku. Mr. Taghiyev holds a B.A. in Finance and Banking from Azerbaijan State Economics University (2001) and is currently pursuing a joint Executive M.B.A. degree at Maastricht School of Management and ADA University. He was also a MasterCard Foundation Scholar in Microfinance at the Summer Academy of Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and received certification as an Expert in Microfinance (2012). Research project: "Fluctuations in Money and FX Market."

Ms. Nino Evgenidze (Georgia), 39, is the Executive Director at the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) in Tbilisi, Georgia, which she joined in 2004. At the same time, Mr. Evgenidze is an anchor of a morning economic show at the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and a member of the Anticorruption Policy Coordination Council of Georgia. Prior to joining EPRC, Ms. Evgenidze served in various positions in the Government of Georgia, non-governmental sector and international organizations. She holds a B.A. and a M.A. in World Culture and Literature from Tbilisi State University (1997), a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the same University (2002), and a M.A. in Economic Policy Management from the London School of Economics, UK, as a Chevening Fellow (2005). She also graduated from the Department of Economic Policy Administration of the Joint Vienna Institute in Vienna, Austria with the World Bank Scholarship (2000), has a diploma in Management of International Projects from University of Maastricht in the Netherlands as a Nuffic Fellow (2010) and was a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University (2013). Research project: "Economic NATO."

Mr. Umit Khairollayev (Kazakhstan), 31, is Chief Executive Officer at the Carlyle Group in Kazakhstan. The Carlyle Group supplies the markets in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Mongolia with air freshening, water purifying, and health care products. In his capacity of CEO, Mr. Khairollayev manages and coordinates projects that work to solve ecological and environmental problems in the abovementioned regions. Under his leadership, over 140 environmental projects have been designed and successfully launched to improve the quality of life and the management of resources in the region. From 2008 to 2011 Mr. Khairollayev was the President of ElitEcoGarant Corporation where he built and implemented a complete distribution strategy for the Aquapick, PurePro, Lange, and Water Therapy brands in the region engaging both the B2B industrial sector and consumer channels. He introduced modern manufacturing techniques and adapted solutions to specific requirements and environments that resulted in 20% cost reduction and a 30% decrease in manufacturing cycle time. In the time of his leadership the company also achieved 86% of market coverage. Mr. Khairollayev holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University (2004). Research project: "The Eurasian Economic Union: Economic and Political Outlook."

Mr. Daniel Kadyrbekov (Kyrgyz Republic), 29, is an Aide to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic on economic reforms and investments. His responsibilities include coordinating the work of the Government Ministries and other state institutions in the areas of economic reforms, improvement of the business environment and attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Currently he focuses on developing and implementing reforms in the area of the state asset management. Prior to joining the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Kadyrbekov worked as an Aide to the First Deputy Prime Minister on economics and investments, and as a Senior Expert in the Department of FDI, Foreign Aid and Public-Private Partnership at the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Kadyrbekov holds a B.A. in Finance and Taxation from the Department of Economics of Osh Trade College (2003), a Certificate in Political Science from Berea College, Kentucky (2007), a Diploma in International Relations (B.A. equivalent) from Osh Technological University (2008), and a M.A. in Political Science from the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, Japan (2011). Research project: "Community Based Tourism Enterprises: Benefits and Challenges."

Mr. Badruun Gardi (Mongolia), 28, is the founder and CEO of Ger Hub and a civil society leader in Mongolia with a deep interest in issues of national development. Ger Hub is a nonprofit social enterprise that aims to develop uncommon solutions to common problems in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. By creating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, Ger Hub seeks to transform the living environments of the urban poor. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. Gardi served as Executive Director of the Zorig Foundation, a leading non-governmental organization in Mongolia that focuses on three main areas: good governance, youth and education, and community development. Mr. Gardi has previously been an adjunct fellow at the Urban Communities Research Center for Asia at the Kwansei Gakuin University in Sanda, Japan. Mr. Gardi also serves on the boards of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mongolian Association of State Alumni, and AIESEC Mongolia. He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and the inaugural class of the Asia Foundation Development Fellowship. Mr. Gardi is a frequent guest at conferences and events where he talks about civil society and civic engagement. Mr. Gardi holds a B.A. with a double major in Psychology and Communication from Stanford University (2009). Research Topic: "Effective Methods for Policy Advocacy."

Mr. Tuvshinzaya Gantulga (Mongolia), 27, is the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Mongolia. He is in charge of management, public and media relations, and most importantly advocacy activities for AmCham Mongolia. Mr. Tuvshinzaya has successfully positioned AmCham Mongolia as one of the most influential business associations in the country. He also led the first-ever Mongolian trade mission to the U.S. Prior to joining AmCham, Mr. Tuvshinzaya worked for the Zorig Foundation, one of the most prominent NGOs in Mongolia, where he coordinated public policy, education, and community development projects. Forbes Mongolia recently named Mr. Tuvshinzaya on their 30 under 30 list of the most influential change-makers in the country.                   Mr. Tuvshinzaya holds a B.A. in Value Studies with a concentration in Political Philosophy and Literature from Bard College in Berlin, Germany (2012) and studied Political Science and Economics at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. Pennsylvania. He was also a Stanford University’s Summer Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (2014). While at college, Mr. Tuvshinzaya rowed for varsity crew, and later represented Mongolia at the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. Research project: "U.S.-Mongolia Free Trade Agreement: Empty Dream or Real Possibility?"

Mr. Abdullo Kurbanov (Tajikistan), 29, is Co-founder and CEO of Alif Capital, a microcredit organization based in Tajikistan. Previously he served as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Orienbank, one of the largest commercial banks in Tajikistan. Prior to joining Orienbank in July 2012, Mr. Kurbanov was Vice-President for Mining Investments at Origo Partners PLC, a London Stock Exchange listed private equity company with investments primarily in Mongolia and China. While at Origo Partners Mr. Kurbanov was based in Ulaanbaatar and was in charge of Mongolia investments, managing the portfolio of existing assets (copper, coal, moly projects) and originating new deals. Earlier, Mr. Kurbanov was based in London working as an analyst in the Metals & Mining team of UBS Investment Bank, a Swiss global investment bank. He also worked for Oliver Wyman (Financial Consulting) out of London and Moscow, where he advised clients on risk management, particularly, modeling credit risk. Mr. Kurbanov holds a B.A. in Management from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey (2008) and a M.Sc. in Finance from the London School of Economics, UK (2009). Research Project: "Application of Mobile Distribution Technologies and Crowd-funding for Microfinance in Tajikistan."

Mr. Mirzokhid Rakhimov (Uzbekistan), 40, is Head of the Department of Contemporary History and International Relations in the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and a Professor at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent. His academic interests include contemporary history and politics in Central Asia, and international and regional relations in Central Asia. Mr. Rakhimov has conducted research on these topics at the University of Washington, Seattle (2003), the University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2004), Leiden University, Netherlands (2005), University of Cambridge, UK (2006), NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy (2006), The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (2007), University of Giessen, Germany (2009), Slavic-Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University, Japan (2010), and the University of Bielefeld, Germany (2011, 2012). He is an author and an editor of several books as well as multiple articles and chapters, and is a frequent speaker at international conferences, seminars and workshops. Mr. Rakhimov holds a M.A. in History from Navoi State Pedagogical Institute (1996) and a Ph.D. in History (2001) from the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. Research project: "U.S.-Uzbek Relations and Their Prospects in the Context of Stability and Connectivity of Central Asia."





  • New Article Series on Changing Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Wednesday, 24 November 2021 11:53


  • CACI Initiative on Religion and the Secular State in Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Sunday, 24 January 2021 13:53

    In 2016, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program launched an initiative on documenting the interrelationship of religion and the secular state in the region. This initiative departed from the fact that little systematic reserch had been undertaken on the subject thus far. While there was and remains much commentary and criticism of religious policy in the region, there was no comprehensive analysis available on the interrelationship of religion and the state in any regional state, let alone the region as a whole. The result of this initiative has been the publication of six Silk Road Papers studying the matter in regional states, with more to come. In addition, work is ongoing on a volume putting the regional situation in the context of the Muslim world as a whole.


    Case Studies

    Each study below can be freely downloaded in PDF format.


    Azerbaijan's Formula: Secular Governance and Civil Nationhood
    By Svante E. Cornell, Halil Karaveli, and Boris Ajeganov
    November 2016   

    2018-04-Kazakhstan-SecularismReligion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan
    By Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr and Julian Tucker
    April 2018




    1806-UZ-coverReligion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan
    Svante E. Cornell and Jacob Zenn
    June 2018




    2006-Engvall-coverReligion and the Secular State in Kyrgyzstan
    Johan Engvall
    June 2020

     Event video online


    2006-Clement-coverReligion and the Secular State in Turkmenistan
    Victoria Clement
    June 2020

    Event video online




    Articles and Analyses

    Svante E. Cornell, "Religion and the State in Central Asia," in Ilan Berman, ed., Wars of Ideas: Theology, Interpretation and Power in the Muslim World, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

    Svante E. Cornell, "Central Asia: Where Did Islamic Radicalization Go?" in Religion, Conflict and Stability in the Former Soviet Union, eds. Katya Migacheva and Bryan Frederick, Arlington, VA: RAND Corporation, 2018.

  • Basic Principles for the Rehabilitation of Azerbaijan's Post-Conflict Territories
    Wednesday, 07 October 2020 09:01

    Rehab-coverIn 2010, the CACI-SRSP Joint Center cooperated with Eldar Ismailov and Nazim Muzaffarli of the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Caucasus to produce a study of the methodology and process for the rehabilitation of the occupied territories in Azerbaijan. The study was written in the hope that it would prove useful in the aftermath of a negotiated solution to the conflict.

    Such a resolution nevertheless did not materialize. At present, however, it appears that some of these territories are returning to Azerbaijani control as a result of the military conflict that began in late September, 2020. While it is regrettable that this did not come to pass as a result of negotiations, it is clear that the challenge of rehabilitating territories is as pressing today as it would be in the event of a peaceful resolution - if not more, given the likelihood that such a solution would have included a time-table and provided the Government of Azerbaijan and international institutions time for planning.

    It is clear that the study is a product of a different time, as much has changed since 2010. We fully expcect many updates and revisions to be needed should the recommendations in this study be implemented today. That said, we believe the methodoloy of the study and its conclusions remain relevant and would therefore like to call attention to this important study, published in English, Russian and Azerbaijani versions.

    Click to download:



  • Resources on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
    Monday, 05 October 2020 08:19

    Resources on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict


    The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program have a long track record of covering the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict. This page presents the key resources and most recent analysis. 

    In 2017, Palgrave published the first book-length study of the International Politics of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict, edited by Svante Cornell. The book concluded by arguing that if international efforts to resolve the conflict are not stepped up, “the ‘four-day’ war of April 2016 will appear a minor skirmish compared to what is sure to follow”.

    In 2015, CACI & SRSP released the Silk Road Paper  “A Western Strategy for the South Caucasus”, which included a full page of recommendations for the U.S. and EU on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. These are reproduced below:


    Develop a substantial and prolonged Western initiative on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

    o This initiative must be led by the United States, in close consultation with its European partners – primarily the EU Commission and External Action Service, and France. Barring some process to reinvigorate the Minsk Process – a doubtful proposition given Western-Russian relations in the foreseeable future – Western leaders must be prepared to bypass that process, utilizing it where appropriate but focusing their initiative on developing direct negotiations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders.

    o The U.S. and its European partners must abandon the practice of relying solely on the Minsk Group co-chairs to resolve the Karabakh conflict. These diplomats have contributed greatly to formulating a workable framework agreement. However, strong and sustained U.S. Government leadership from the top level is needed to complement or, failing that, to replace the Minsk Process. In practice, this means the expressed support of the President, involvement of the White House, and leadership manifested in the appointment of a distinguished citizen as Special Envoy for the resolution of the conflict.

    o The EU must take a more clearly defined and substantial role in the process, by integrating to the highest degree possible the French co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group with EU institutions. While Washington will need to take the lead on the political side, it would be natural for the EU to take the lead in organizing an international development program for the currently occupied Azerbaijani provinces and Karabakh itself. That effort, too, would need to be led by a senior EU figure.


    In 2011, CACI & SRSP helped launch an extensive study of the steps needed for the post-conflict rehabilitation of Azerbaijan's occupied territories, in cooperation with Eldar Ismailov and Nazim Muzaffarli of the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Caucasus. The monograph "Basic Principles for the Rehabilitation of Azerbaijan's Post-Conflict Territories" can be accessed here


    More background resources:

    Svante E. Cornell, "Can America Stop a Wider War Between Armenia and Azerbaijan?", The National Interest, October 2020

    Brenda Shaffer and Svante E. Cornell, Occupied Elsewhere: Selective Policies on Occupation, Foundation For Defense of Democracies, January 2020. 

    Brenda Shaffer and Svante E. Cornell, "The U.S. Needs to Declare War on Proxies", Foreign Policy, January 27, 2020

    Svante E. Cornell, “The Raucous Caucasus”, American Interest, May 2017

    Svante E. Cornell, Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, RoutledgeCurzon, 2001.

    Svante E. Cornell, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Uppsala University, 1999

    More recent analysis:

    Turkey Seeks to Counter Russia in the Black Sea-Caucasus Region,” Turkey Analyst, 10/5/20, Emil Avdaliani

    Turkey’s Commitment to Azerbaijan’s Defense Shows the Limits of Ankara’s Tilt to Moscow,” Turkey Analyst, 9/25/20, Turan Suleymanov & Bahruz Babayev

     “Cross-Border Escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 9/25/20, Natalia Konarzewska

    Russia and Turkey: Behind the Armenia-Azerbaijan Clashes?”, Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 8/31/20, Avinoam Idan

    Armenia and the U.S.: Time for New Thinking?”, Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 10/2/19, Eduard Abrahamyan.

    Why Washington Must Re-Engage the CaucasusCentral Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 7/8/19, Stephen Blank

    Azerbaijan’s Defense Industry Reform”, Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 5/7/19, Tamerlan Vahabov.

    Military Procurements on Armenia's and Azerbaijan's Defense Agendas”, Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 3/27/19, Ilgar Gurbanov

    Armenia's New Government Struggles with Domestic and External Opposition,” Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 3/20/19, Armen Grigorian.

    Bolton's Caucasian Tour and Russia's Reaction”, Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 12/17/18, Eduard Abrahamyan.