Central Asia Symposium
The Future of Central Asia - Global Issues in a Regional Context
Organizers: Krista Goff '04 or Kiija Manty '04
Central Asia's five states, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, gained their independence following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, these nations have struggled with civil war, autocratic regimes, human rights violations, environmental disasters, poverty, corruption, religious instabilities and most recently, a U.S.-led war against terrorism in their backyards. This region is especially important now, and yet, public knowledge of Central Asia is almost non-existent. Central Asia is larger than Western Europe, but in the West it is more obscure than any other area of comparable size.
In February 2004, Macalester offered a conference on Central Asia to the campus and surrounding communities with the goals of demystifying Central Asia, bringing more attention to issues in the region with global implications, and envisioning the future of the region.
The keynote speaker was Nancy Lubin, president of JNA Associates, Inc., a research and consulting firm that works on assessments and projects concerning the new states of the former Soviet Union (NIS), especially Russia and Central Asia, and a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. She gave a talk entitled "Stepping on Our Own Feet? Key Issues for U.S. Policy, Aid, and Business in Central Asia". The other speakers and panel members included: Philip Micklin, Professor of Geography, emeritus, Western Michigan University, who spoke on "Water and the Future of Central Asia (Aral Sea Basin): Problems and Prospects"; Adeeb Khalid, chair of History Department, Carleton College, who gave a talk on "Islam in Contemporary Central Asia: The Soviet Legacy and its Implications"; Iraj Bashiri, from the University of Minnesota; and Laura Adams, from Georgetown University.