CESSI 2024 Lecture Series: Nargis Kassenova and Caroline Savage

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Ingraham 206
@ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

PGO students are invited to this CESSI lecture with Nargis Kassenova of Harvard University and Caroline Savage with the U.S. Department of State.

Nargis Kassenova: Can Central Asian States Keep Their Balancing Act?

Over the past three decades, the five states of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have fostered their sovereignty by balancing the interests and engagement of external powers. Today geo-political and geo-economic divisions between Russia and the West are stark as a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, while those between China and the West are growing. This new context both challenges the balancing approach and makes it even more important. Can Central Asian states find the right equilibrium that would keep them out of the harm way and help them develop their societies and economies, successfully undergo the energy transition, and tackle the climate change?

About the Speaker: Nargis Kassenova is a senior fellow and director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center. Prior to joining the center she was an associate professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies of KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). She is the former founder and director of the KIMEP Central Asian Studies Center (CASC) and the China and Central Asia Studies Center (CCASC). Kassenova holds a Ph.D. in international cooperation studies from the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University (Japan). Her research focuses on Central Asian politics and security, Eurasian geopolitics, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, governance in Central Asia, and the history of state-making in Central Asia. Kassenova is a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Division, the U.N. High-Level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, and the Central Eurasian Studies Society board. She is on the editorial boards of the journals Central Asian Survey, Central Asian Affairs, and REGION: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. For more information, click here and here.

Caroline Savage: U.S. Policy Toward Russia and the Former Soviet Union; Careers Working with and in Countries of the Former Soviet Union

Caroline Savage will share an outline of current U.S. policy toward Russia, including the impact Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has had on U.S. policy towards other countries in the region. She will also share reflections from her experiences working in Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan over her 20-year Foreign Service career and tips for starting careers with this geographic specialization.

About the Speaker: A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Caroline Savage assumed the position of Director of the Office of Russian Affairs in August 2023. Prior to that, she led our 400-person Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 2021 to 2023, including through historic violence and authorized departure. Ms. Savage previously served in the Bureau of Global Public Affairs as Director of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Press Centers in Washington DC and New York. From 2019 to 2021, Ms. Savage was a non-resident fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and as a Rusk Fellow in 2018 to 2019, she taught courses on Diplomatic and Military Statecraft and U.S.-Russia Relations. In previous Washington tours, Ms. Savage was Director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council and Political-Military and External Affairs Officer in the Office of Russian Affairs. Ms. Savage’s previous overseas assignments include Azerbaijan, Mozambique, Belarus, and Luxembourg. Raised in Wisconsin, Ms. Savage graduated from Georgetown University and earned Masters’ degrees in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has studied Kazakh, Russian, Azerbaijani, French, and Portuguese. For more information, click here.

*Please note this event is not open to the press.