Presenters, Chairs and Discussants

The list of participants is made in alphabetical order of family name

ANTONOV, Oleg, Visiting Researcher, Malmö University, Sweden

Oleg Antonov is a visiting researcher at the Department of Global Political Studies (GPS) and at the research platform Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR), Malmö University. His research interests include the Soviet history of Tajikistan, educational reform, minority groups (minority rights, language, education and culture), International Relations (soft power diplomacy of Russia and China), political participation and mobilization, civil and political rights, the transnational sources of authoritarian durability, youth policy and youth movements. His research on authoritarian legal harmonization and diffusion of norms has been published in DemocratizationBaltic Worlds and by the Central Asia Program at The George Washington University in Washington DC. He was previously a visiting fellow at the Centre for Baltics and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University. His views have featured in The Diplomat and Radio Free Europe.

BURKHANOV, Aziz Burkhanov, Associate Professor, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Aziz Burkhanov (MA 2003, University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas; MA 2009, Indiana University; PhD 2013, Indiana University) is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. Dr. Burkhanov’s research interests include national identity and language issues in post-Soviet countries, media and public discourse, public policy and governance in Central Asia. He has worked in policy analysis and consulting as a Research Fellow at the IWEP, a think-tank advising the Kazakhstan government, and as a Senior Associate at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA). Dr. Burkhanov has published his work in Nationalism and Ethnic PoliticsEthnic and Racial Studies, and Cornell International Law Journal.

CHEN, Julie Yu-Wen, Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland

Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Chen serves as one of the Editors of the Journal of Chinese Political Science (Springer, SSCI). Formerly, Chen was chair of Nordic Association of China Studies (NACS) and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Ethnicity (Taylor & Francis). Chen’s research and teaching are multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary spanning cross Political Sciences, ethnic studies, sociology and Chinese studies. Her research interests are: China’s soft power, Belt and Road Initatives, ethnic conflict in Xinjang and its international implications, theories of collective actions, globalization and glocalization. Her projects on Central Asia have been financially supported by Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (2015-2018; 2023) and Prof. Chih-yu Shih at National Taiwan University (2022-2023).

GRAY, Matthew, Associate Director for ESG Risk in Eurasia’s Emerging Markets, Morningstar, Denmark

Matthew Gray (马飞) works in Corporate Diplomacy across Eurasia’s Emerging Markets. He has been living, working, and returning to Central Asia for the past 20 years and speaks Russian with some Mandarin and Tajik. He brings a socio-industrial investment perspective to the discussions, anchored in central Asian agency. Matthew leverages his two decades in international development, sustainable finance, and his MSc Major Programme Management (Oxford University) to assess long term industrial and social investment programmes in Central Asia and the Eurasia region. He offers a comparative view of the region from working in 10 of Russia and China’s bordering countries for the United Nations, OSCE, social enterprises, and private companies. He has worked across the investment sector, development sector and political sector, within various industrial industries (transport, health, utilities, mining, etc).

Mr Gray is currently an Associate Director at Morningstar, a world leading, financial data, fund management, and sustainability ratings company. On behalf of institutional investors, his Corporate Diplomacy work addresses the Sustainability/ESG Risk of Companies across Eurasia’ Emerging Markets. He is a proud member of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs (est. 1901), the first western society to focus on Central Asia from the Great Game period. He writes a monthly report on “Eight ways China is shaping the world using Soft Power”. He is visiting in a personal capacity from Copenhagen and his views do not represent those of Morningstar, the RSAA, or the United Nations.

HAMILTON, Robert, Research Professor of Eurasian Studies, US Army War College, USA

Colonel (Retired) Robert E. Hamilton, Ph.D., is the Head of Research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program and an Associate Professor of Eurasian Studies at the U.S. Army War College.  In a 30-year career in the U.S. Army, spent primarily as an Eurasian Foreign Area Officer, he served overseas in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Germany, Belarus, Qatar, Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia, Pakistan and Kuwait.  He is the author of numerous articles and monographs on conflict and security issues, focusing principally on the former Soviet Union and the Balkans.  He is a graduate of the German Armed Forces Staff College and the U.S. Army War College and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Russian Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from the University of Virginia.

KANGAS, Anni, University Lecturer, Tampere University, Finland

Anni Kangas is University Lecturer in International Relations in the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University (Finland). Kangas has done academic research on Finnish-Russian relations, the role of art and popular culture in international relations, the impact of cities and urbanization on world politics, and, more recently, on the social reproduction of Central Asian labor migration.

KAVALSKI, Emilian. NAWA Chair Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the Book Series Editor for Routledge’s “Rethinking Asia and International Relations” series

Emilian Kavalski completed his PhD studies at Loughborough University (UK) in 2005. Since then, Emilian has worked at Aalborg University (Denmark), Academia Sinica (Taiwan), the Australian Catholic University (Australia), Ruhr University-Bochum (Germany), the National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan), the Rachel Carson Center (Germany), Osaka University (Japan), the National Taiwan University (Taiwan), the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Western Sydney University (Australia) and has held the Andrew Mellon Fellowship with the American Institute for Indian Studies (Delhi, India), and the Killam Postdoctoral position at the University of Alberta (Canada). Emilian’s work explores the interconnections between the simultaneous decentering of International Relations by post-Western perspectives and non-anthropocentric approaches. Emilian is the author of four books, including: The Guanxi of Relational International Theory (Routledge 2018) and he is the editor of twelve volumes, including World Politics at the Edge of Chaos (State University of New York Press, 2016).

LEMON, Edward, Research Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, USA

Edward Lemon is Research Assistant Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington DC. His research focuses on security issues in Central Asia, as well as the role of external actors in the region. He has spent over three years conducting research in Tajikistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan; he speaks Russian and Tajik. He is editor of the book Critical Approaches to Security in Central Asia (Routledge, 2018). His research has been published in Democratization, Central Asian Affairs, Caucasus Survey, Journal of Democracy, Foreign Affairs, Central Asian Survey, the Review of Middle Eastern Studies, and The RUSI Journal. Dr. Lemon regularly comments on the situation in Central Asia in the media. His views have been featured in The TimesWall Street JournalNew York Times, and Radio Free Europe, among others. He has briefed officials from the State Department, United Nations, USAID, Department of Defense, and Helsinki Commission on his research on Central Asia.

MÄKINEN, Sirke, University Lecturer, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

Sirke Mäkinen is a university lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland. In addition, she holds the title of docent in Political Science, especially in International Relations, University of Turku, Finland. Her current research interests comprise international higher education, global knowledge production, foreign policy, geopolitics, and Central Asia. Dr. Mäkinen has published in journals such as Comparative Education, Geopolitics, European Journal of Higher Education, International Studies Perspectives, Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Nationalities Papers and Problems of Post-Communism. She is also the co-editor of the book Russia’s Cultural Statecraft (2022) together with Tuomas Forsberg and the guest editor of a Special Issue “Internationalisation in Challenging Times: Practices and rationales of internal and external stakeholders” (European Journal of Higher Education 2/2023).

RICE, Dana, PhD Candidate, Australian National University, Australia

Dana Rice is a PhD Candidate in International Relations and Political Science at the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) and a 2022 visiting fellow at KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). She completed her undergraduate and honors degrees at the University of Tasmania and studied in the Energy Politics of Eurasia (ENERPO) Master’s program at the European University at Saint Petersburg (EUSP). Dana remains involved with EUSP as the Editor-in-Chief of the ENERPO Journal: Dana also has previous experience as an intern for both the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet. Her research interests include Sino-Russian and Sino-Central Asian relations, energy politics in Central Asia (specifically oil and gas development), the Eurasian Economic Union, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Digital Silk Road.

SCIORATI, Giulia, LSE Fellow, LSE, UK

Giulia Sciorati is an LSE Fellow specialising in China/Global South within the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining LSE, she worked on the project “The Belt and Road Initiative and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on China’s Global Projection” (BRIICoPIC) as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities at the University of Trento, Italy. She has also taught modules on Chinese contemporary history, International Relations, and International Security at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, the University of Pavia, and the School of International Studies at the University of Trento. In a different capacity, Giulia serves as an Associate Research Fellow in the China Programme of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). Her research primarily focuses on the political use of heritage and shared historical memory in foreign policy, specifically emphasising China and Central Asian countries.

SEIWERT, Eva, Research Associate, Institute of Political Science of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany & Associate Research Fellow, OSCE Academy, Kyrgyzstan

Eva Seiwert is Research Associate at the Institute of Political Science of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, where she works in the project Academic Freedom, Globalised Scholarship and the Rise of Authoritarian China jointly run with King’s College London. She is also Associate Research Fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and Managing Editor at 9DASHLINE.

With a background in Chinese Studies (Universität Leipzig) and East Asian Relations (University of Edinburgh), Eva received her PhD in International Relations from Freie Universität Berlin in 2021. She was a Visiting Researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and has spent numerous study and research stays abroad, including at Renmin University Beijing, Lanzhou University, and the United Nations Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges. Her work focuses on China’s international relations, with a special interest in China-Central Asia relations and China’s norm promotion through intergovernmental institutions.

SHIH, Chih-yu, Professor, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Chih-yu Shih teaches China studies, anthropology of knowledge, and international relations theory at the Department of Political Science of National Taiwan University. Determined to recollect and re-present intellectual heritage in Asia, he has devoted his academic career for the past 30 years to researching, teaching, and writing on the cultural and political agency of human society. Professor Shih’s publications consistently challenge the mainstream views on the law of human behavior and gather evidence of human agency from ethnic communities, developing countries, people in poverty, and so on. In his writings, Shih pays attention to the cultural meanings of civilizational components such as religion, language, ecology, and institution. He practices a multi-sited methodology reified through primarily field interviews, oral history, and archive research. He coached intermural basketball (in the political science league) with 10 national champions under his belt and himself still a standing player in the Evergreen league. His research site is

SILVAN, Kristiina, Postdoctoral Fellow in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood and Russia research programme, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Finland

Kristiina Silvan earned her PhD with Distinction in the discipline of Political History at the University of Helsinki in February 2022. Her PhD dissertation is titled Legacies of the Komsomol: Government-Affiliated Youth Activism in post-Soviet Belarus and Russia. At present, Dr. Silvan works primarily on state–society relations in Central Asian states, especially Kazakhstan, and Russia’s role in the Central Asian region. Her research articles have been published in the journals Europe-Asia Studies, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Studies and Idäntutkimus: Finnish Review of East European Studies.

TAYLOR, Monique, Senior Researcher in Cultural Studies at the University of Helsinki and Research Affiliate at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London

Monique Taylor received her PhD in International Political Economy from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has published books and journal articles on the political economy of state-owned enterprises and the geopolitics of technology in China. At present she is involved in a Horizon Europe Twinning project called ‘The EU in the Volatile Indo-Pacific Region’.

UMAROV, Temur, Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Berlin, Germany

Temur Umarov is a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research is focused on Central Asian countries’ domestic and foreign policies, as well as China’s relations with Russia and Central Asian neighbors. A native of Uzbekistan, Temur Umarov has degrees in China studies and international relations, and an MA in world economics. He is also an alumnus of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center’s Young Ambassadors and the Carnegie Endowment’s Central Asian Futures programs.