Kazakhstan Futures Fellows Present Research at Event in Astana
On September 21, 16 leading Kazakh and American experts presented their research findings within the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs’ Kazakhstan Futures Program at an event at Nazarbayev University on September 21. Dr. Ilesanmi Adesida, the provost of Nazarbayev University, opened the concluding event of the program, stressing the role his university plays in cultivating the next generation of leaders in Kazakhstan and beyond.
In his welcoming remarks Dr. Edward Lemon, president of the Oxus Society, stressed that the program, which started in October 2022, is intended to help devise solutions to the country’s most pressing challenges and support the government in undertaking reforms. Debra Lo, Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan, which is funding the project, stated that the fellows are “well positioned to help inform and inspire change by providing accurate information and comprehensive analysis to these very important issues.”
The fellows worked in groups to produce five policy briefs on topics including the effects of decarbonization on monotowns, the development of regionalism within Central Asia, how the census could better reflect changing identities in Kazakhstan, the Zhanatas wind farm as an example of international cooperation on green energy and inequality in Kazakhstan. The policy briefs will be published on the Oxus Society website after the final event.
As part of the program, the fellows made two working trips to Astana to engage with stakeholders. In January 2023, they met with Rakhim Oshakbayev, director of the TALAP Center for Applied Research to discuss pressing issues in the country from climate change, the war in Ukraine, and China’s rising role. Mr. Oshakbayev noted the difficulties for civil society and the challenges of communicating effectively with administrators in the current political climate.
The Kazakhstan Futures fellows also visited the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to learn about how Kazakhstan’s government trains its bureaucrats and how they conduct social research that can help shape public policy.
Finally, our fellows travelled to the Kazakhstani Institute of Strategic research under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a think tank that directly advises Kazakhstan’s executive branch on issues of foreign policy and provides briefings in advance of international meetings. Oxus researchers learned about how executive policy is formulated and the role scholars and experts play in its inception.
The Kazakhstan Futures Program is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan, Public Affairs Section.