On 18-20 November, the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (OSCE AiB) held its biennial Alumni Conference themed ‘The COVID-19 Crisis and its Impact on Post-Soviet Central Asia’. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the conference was conducted in virtual format and was merged with the joint expert project of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). The conference had three panels: ‘COVID-19 and Human Rights’, ‘COVID-19 and Migration’, and ‘COVID-19 and Foreign Policy of Central Asia’. The Keynote Speaker of the event was Dr. Ekaterina Schulmann, a renowned Russian political scientist. She presented on the shift of global values caused by the COVID-19. The keynote speech was followed by a panel on COVID-19 and Human Rights, covering gender-based and domestic violence, the impact of the pandemic on police officers, and the education quality in the region.
The second day commenced with the another panel themed ‘COVID-19 and Migration’. The speakers discussed the labour migration in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan during the crisis. Participants also had a chance to listen to a presentation on ‘Social Impact of COVID-19 Worldwide and in Kyrgyzstan: Findings from the Life with Corona Study’ by Dr. Damir Esenaliev, Senior Researcher, Leibniz-Institut für Gemüse- und Zierpflanzenbau (IGZ) and the International Security and Development Centre (ISDC).
The final day of the conference was devoted to the discussion of foreign policy in Central Asia. Specifically, the panellists presented their topics on China’s medical diplomacy in Uzbekistan, on what COVID-19 has revealed about international relations of Central Asia in general, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EU-Central Asia cooperation. Additionally, there was an opportunity to listen to Kasiet Ysmanova's presentation about the Central Asian Barometer research findings related to the topic.
The exchanges at the conference will be published in a summary report within the Academy Papers series.
The recording of all three Panels is available on the Academy's YouTube Channel.