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The Challenges and Opportunities of Regional Cooperation and Integration in Central Asia

Central Asia has been the focus of international attention since the break-up of the Soviet Union. As countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan become more integrated and dependent upon one another, there is a real need for the region to work together toward a stable, prosperous and cohesive Central Asia region.

In December 2005, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), published a report titled “Bringing Down Barriers: Regional Cooperation for Human Development and Human Security,” a comprehensive analysis of the many challenges that confront Central Asia. The report concludes that strengthening regional cooperation among the Central Asian republics would produce substantial political and economic gains, including income increases of 50 percent to 100 percent over the next ten years.

Drawing on the findings of the report, Brookings and UNDP co-hosted a one-day conference to examine the future of regional cooperation and integration in Central Asia with a distinguished list of experts.

Panel One: The Future of Central Asia
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Moderator: Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings

Presenters:
Kalman Mizsei, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations, and Director, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Johannes Linn, Executive Director, Wolfensohn Initiative, Brookings

Panelists:
Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Kemal Derviş, Administrator, UNDP
Liqun Jin, Vice President, Asian Development Bank
Shigeo Katsu, Vice President, World Bank

Panel Two: Opportunities for Regional Cooperation & Integration in Central Asia
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Fional Hill, Senior Fellow, Brookings

Panelists:
Adrian Ruthenberg, Director, East and Central Asia Operations Coordination Division, Asian Development Bank
Dennis de Tray, Vice President, Center for Global Development
Anara Tabyshalieva, Visiting Fellow, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University-SAIS
Cassandra Cavanaugh, Regional Director, Central Eurasia/Caucasus, Open Society Institute
Drew W. Luten III, Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, USAID

Panel Three: Prospects of Regional Cooperation as Seen from the Governments in Central Asia
1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Moderator: Kalman Mizsei, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations, and Director, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

Panelists:
Kanat Saudabayev, Ambassador to the U.S., Kazakhstan
Nurbek Jeenbaev, Ambassador to the U.N., Kyrgyzstan
Aslov Sirodjidin, Ambassador to the U.N., Tajikistan
Alisher Vohidov, Ambassador to the U.N., Uzbekistan

Panel Four: Political and Institutional Obstacles for Regional Cooperation and Integration in Central Asia
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Moderator: S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

Panelists:
Kathleen Collins, Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Minnesota
Martha Brill Olcott, Senior Associate, Russian & Eurasian Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Eric McGlinchey, Assistant Professor of Politics and Government, George Mason University
Talaibek Koichumanov, Visiting Scholar, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

Panel Five: Broader Regional Context for Central Asia: Afghanistan, China, Russia and South Asia
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Moderator: Carlos Pascual, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings

Panelists:
Ashraf Ghani, Chancellor, Kabul University, Afghanistan
Ben Slay, Director, Bratislava Regional Center, UNDP
Martha Blaxall, Strategic Development Officer, Brookings

Agenda

The Challenges and Opportunities of Regional Cooperation and Integration in Central Asia

Central Asia has been the focus of international attention since the break-up of the Soviet Union. As countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan become more integrated and dependent upon one another, there is a real need for the region to work together toward a stable, prosperous and cohesive Central Asia region.

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