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Panel on PO5: Globalising and Localising Eurasia

When Jun 29, 2019
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Room 3, University of Exeter
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Panel on PO5: Globalising and Localising Eurasia

Chair: David Lewis (University of Exeter)

Stsiapan Zakharkevich (Belarusian State University) & Artsiom Nazaranka (Belarusian State University):

“Soft” Europeanization of the future Turkmen elites: students from Turkmenistan in the Republic of Belarus at the beginning of the XXI century

There are around 20 thousand foreign students who study in Belarus. They come mainly from countries that previously belonged to the USSR. Turkmen students constitute majority of them – just about 50% (in 2016/2017 academic year – 43.3%) of the total. They study different educational programs in the HEIs in both the capital and regional centers. Turkmen students have become part of the everyday familiar landscape of Belarusian cities and universities.

Field studies materials show that Turkmen mainly go to study at universities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. Studying at universities in Belarus is quite attractive for Turkmen students and takes place in conditions close to optimal: Russian-speaking environment, high level of ethnic and religious tolerance, high level of urbanization, very high level of personal security. In such a situation, many Turkmen families able to pay for education abroad prefer Belarus. An important factor is also level of ICT development of Belarus – ubiquitous mobile communications, high-speed Internet, etc.

Experiences of Turkmen students receiving higher education in Belarus are particularly interesting as they in close / reachable future will become part of the middle class, as well as local and regional elites in Turkmenistan. Belarus, according to some estimations is study destination for almost 10% of Turkmen students studying abroad. Knowledge and everyday experience gained over an average of five years spent in Belarus can have a significant impact on mindset and views of young people. Standards of European models of life, behavior, gender attitudes, stereotypes, experience of technological and communication knowledge involve representatives of future elites in globalization processes.

Keywords: education, Turkmenistan, Belarus, soft power

Anise Waljee (GCRF COMPASS):

Globalisation: a sideways look from one community in Tajikistan

This paper looks at what the term ‘globalisation’ meant, for Central Asia as it emerged from the USSR )1991) into the ‘more global’ arena of a capitalist economic sphere and various ‘shades’ of democracy. Through the lens of one in-service teacher training institution’s experience of ‘transition’ and the testimony of those educators and their community living through that time (1991- 2006) in the remote mountainous region of Badakhshan, the paper examines how that particular transition was negotiated. In particular, the paper examines the nexus of faith and development in a community where the transition was catalysed by the presence of an international development agency (The Aga Khan Developmetn Netowrk) whose head (the Aga Khan) is also the religious head of the Badakhshanis and other communities residing in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. This connection and contact brought its own meaning to ‘globalisation’ which needed to be negotiated beyond space and place. The paper explores how faith considerations and market forces coalesced and clashed as the Badakhshanis’ grappled with the macro forces of the shift from one economic system to another (a command economy to a market one) and from one political system to another (communism to ‘democracy’) and from a Soviet Social Republic to an independent nation via a devastating civil war 1992-97). It looks at how this one community made the transition from a state-citizen concord during Soviet times, through a long-standing but latent faith leader/follower relationship which, itself, needed to be re-negotiated within a development (and not just a faith) framework, to their current position within Tajikstan and the international faith community of which they are a part.

Keywords: globalisation, Central Asia, Tajikistan, Badakhstan

Callie Berman (University of Cambridge): The Caspian caviar narrative: an analysis of global and regional knowledges in the formation of Caspian resource regimes

If human appreciation for a resource is a function of interrelationships spanning culture, history and economics, then moments of systemic change offer salient insight into the institutional characteristics that then give value to a resource. Looking to the structurally dynamic post-Soviet space, this paper situates this process of resource appreciation in the context of the Caspian littoral states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through the prism of caviar – a commodity that, for centuries, has brought the Caspian region to the world, and the globe to Caspian. While conventional analyses of Caspian resource management remain predominantly at the state level, this paper will demonstrate how, particularly in the context of transitioning economies, the amalgam of public and private entities, supranational organizations, and regional alliances coalesce to create the governing mechanisms that then become the state. Tracing the evolution and significance of Caspian caviar brings forth long-distance exchange networks and cross-border markets to underscore the importance of polycentric systems and multilayered institutions that have long defined the Central Asian region before the rise of the nation state. Acknowledging the relevance of these historic transjurisdictional efforts coordinating markets has important bearing for understanding Caspian nation-building processes. From here, this paper maps the diverse interplay of interests and actors connected by the caviar industry and Caspian resource management to ask how and which knowledges become relevant in emerging natural resource regimes. This vantage of knowledge production in the arena of resource governance ultimately opens new perspectives for analyzing the making of the modern-day Caspian region.

Keynotes: Caspian region, caviar industry, markets, nation-building