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GCRF COMPASS Workshop-Past and Present: BRI and the Silk Road

When Mar 15, 2019
from 09:30 AM to 02:30 PM
Where SG1, Alison Richard Building
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Past and Present: BRI and the Silk Road


Concept note: The Belt and Road Initiative harks back to the historic Silk Road and engages with the opportunities and possibilities that Eurasia offers. The mythic nature of the Silk Road while useful in building grand projects needs to be revisited as a tool which was used by a vast portion of the population. It supplied everyday essentials along with luxury goods as a commonplace aspect of life in Eurasia. The geography of Eurasia has over centuries given rise to cooperative empires and orders which have in one way or another connected the disparate regions that make up the continent. There is a growing understanding especially in response to world politics today that we live in an interconnected world and while a global perspective includes a much wider region, the Eurasian region is a microcosm of that same process and is inhabited by the majority of the world’s population. The region was connected and developed as a cohesive whole until European hegemony dismantled its compositeness and transformed Eurasia in ways which focused on differences rather than commonalities. At its heart BRI is a development project which focuses on infrastructure and legal frameworks to navigate across this vast geographical space with diverse populations, ethnicities, religious affiliations, customs and traditions. It offers the basis for rethinking, reimagining and reinventing notions of interaction. The opportunities that the BRI is offering are not limited to companies and governments within Eurasia but also beyond the region.


This workshop considers the importance of BRI for the countries of Central Asia by engaging with topics like the energy corridor and knowledge production in developing countries which are cut off from global markets because of geography. It also brings a different perspective to bear when looking at the developments in Eurasia, stepping away from old and established frameworks, in order to bring about a sea change in understanding the present.


Draft Program, 15 March 2019


9:30-10am Tea and Coffee


10-10:15am S.S Saxena, University of Cambridge, Introductory Remarks


10:15-10:30am B. Sanghera, University of Kent, The cultural political economy perspective on BRI


10:30-10:45am D.T Kudaibergenova, University of Cambridge, Cultural Linkages on the BRI


10:45-11am A. Baichorov, Belarussian State University, The BRI in the Eurasian context


11-11:10am Yingfeng Ji, University of Cambridge, Chinese Role and Influence in BRI: Case of Hydropower Plant Rehabilitation


11:10-11:25am E. Satybaldieva, University of Kent, Re-imagining BRI projects in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan


11:25-11:55pm P. Nolan, University of Cambridge, BRI and the Rest of the World


11:55-12:10pm M. Radivojevic, University College London, The Making of the Silk Road on the Eurasian Steppe


12:10-12:25pm T. Safdar, University of Cambridge, Pakistan and BRI


12:25-12:40pm E V Gils, University of Kent, The BRI in Azerbaijan and implications for regime resilience


12:40-12:55pm P. Kalra, University of Cambridge, Development Paradigms in Eurasia: The case of BRI


12:55-1:30pm Discussion


1:30-2:30pm Lunch