CESS Board 2023-2024

Every year, the Central Eurasian Studies Society holds elections for Board Member seats and the Presidency. CESS members play a role in the leadership of the Society by nominating candidates, standing as candidates, and voting in elections. The elections fill the position of President-Elect as well as three Board Members. All Board members hold their roles for three years.

The CESS Executive and board have made the decision for the 2023 elections to advance a slate of candidates. These candidates were all nominated by CESS members—no other nominations were received.

We had two nominations for the incoming president and, in consultation with the candidates given their time constraints and other considerations, we and they decided to propose a co-incoming presidency for 2023-4, with the candidates moving through the stages of the executive together.

You will see then separate votes to approve or reject the candidates.

We are excited about the quality of our candidates and are happy to discuss the election process further at our members’ meeting.

We look forward to seeing many of our members next week!

View our current Board and committee members

Candidates

Co-Presidents

Dina Sharipova

Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) is a leading organization that unites many scholars who do research on Central Asia. The uniqueness of the CESS is that it creates great opportunities for researchers from all over the world to explore the region from different perspectives. It bridges western and Central Asian scholars in terms knowledge production, exchange of views and ideas, and research.

I am pleased to serve on the CESS board as a member of the outreach committee. This provides me with a great opportunity to grow professionally. Via CESS conferences, I have developed important professional linkages with the leading scholars from both the Western and Central Asian Universities. I believe it is an important asset for the CESS activities. This will allow me to contact people and organize various activities – seminars, workshops, conferences, lectures, etc.

I believe that my candidacy suites well to serve on the CESS Board. First, I have an experience of being a board member of another International Organizations (ESCAS) from 2017-2019. I was in charge of the ESCAS Directory and ESCAS membership.

Second, CESS regularly organizes international conferences that involve scholars from all over the world. It is a very important platform where people can collaborate, develop joint projects, network and build capacity. I have experience in organizing and conducting international conferences. For instance, I was actively engaged in organization of the CESS-ESCAS conference in Bishkek, in 2017. Beyond that, I was engaged in organizing KIMEP University International Research Conference, while I was working as a Research Director at Social Sciences Colleges at KIMEP University. I was also involved in organizing student conferences.

Being a member of the CESS Board, I will try to expand links between Western and Central Asian scholars in terms of research collaborations, joint workshops, seminars, and round tables. I am ready to experiment and develop new formats of cooperation via CESS in order to deepen and increase the knowledge about Central Asia.

Interdisciplinary research is another important direction in academia. CESS can be a great forum for the development of interdisciplinary research projects. Being a member of the CESS Board, I would like to emphasize interdisciplinary, cross-cultural (West-East) research and activities.

Thus, I am very interested to serve on CESS Board engage in CESS activities, promote research and collaboration, and create opportunities for scholars via conferences, seminars and workshops.

Artemy M. Kalinovsky

As a historian who has worked on questions of foreign policy, economic development, and the environment in Central Asia, I have long benefited from the supportive community of CESS and welcome the opportunity to give back. If elected, I hope to make a mark in two particular areas. First, I hope to expand the resources for teaching modern Central Asian history at the undergraduate level, partly through translating and publishing accessible primary sources (as I did for the Cold War International History Project and the Russian Perspectives on Islam.) The region is still largely unknown to most undergraduates in the US, and CESS can do much as an institution to encourage the translation of sources and as a forum for discussing teaching methodologies. Second, I hope to work with CESS on finding (even more) ways for scholars from Central Asia to publish for international audiences, for example, by exploring the possibility of translation prizes. And, of course, I would look forward to helping the society continue its strong tradition of annual conferences and publications.


Board members

Omar Sadr

I am a senior research scholar at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Governance and Markets (CGM) with a keen interest in the CESS board membership. Since 2021, I have been working at the University of Pittsburgh on a research project on the failure of democratic order in Afghanistan. I would welcome the opportunity to serve CESS, as my academic and professional background aligns closely with the mission of CESS. I hold a Ph.D. in International Relations and have a decade of studying, researching, and teaching experience in the discipline of political science across the sub-fields of international relations, comparative politics, and political theory. My scholarly expertise is relevant to the Central Eurasian studies.
I have been a member of CESS years for the past two years. I participated in the CESS conference in 2022 where my book Negotiating Cultural Diversity in Afghanistan won the best book in social science award.
As a CESS board member, I am eager to contribute to any of the following committees: Regional Outreach Committee, Membership Committee and
Given my proficiency in several Central Eurasian languages including Persian/Farsi (Dari, Iranian, and Tajiki dialects), I believe would be an asset in bridging language barriers within the CESS community and promoting inclusivity and diversity. I am devoted to expanding the CESS network and promoting collaboration among Afghanistan scholars interested in Central Eurasia.
Having benefited from mentorship during my academic and professional journey, I am eager to give back to the community. I would like to support emerging scholars and students by providing guidance, mentorship, and resources to help them excel in their careers related to Central Eurasia.

Ketevan Gurchiani 

I am very honored to have been nominated to serve as a board member of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, and I submit this letter with the full awareness that my experience with CESS is far less than that of many esteemed colleagues who have been involved in organizing activities over the years. Nevertheless, I hope that I can contribute to CESS creating new scientific contacts and collaborations between South Caucasian anthropologists and historians, especially between Georgian scholars and scholars from and about Central Asia.
My name is Ketevan Gurchiani. I am a professor of anthropology at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. My research is mainly concerned with the built and natural environment of the city, religion, peace studies, and migration. My research so far has focused on Georgia or on migrant communities in Georgia or elsewhere. I study Soviet and post-Soviet developments from a decolonial perspective, focusing on locally shaped responses and practices. I have published in journals such as Material Religion, Europe-Asia Studies, Central Asian Survey, Nationalities Papers, European Journal of Religion, and others.
Since 2015, I have organized research seminars inviting scholars from around the world who are studying the South Caucasus or researching topics relevant to our region to present their research. With the PhD program in Anthropology established at Ilia State University some years ago, it had been more opportunities to invite scholars from and about Central Asia to present in our seminars. There is collaboration between individual scholars that can serve as a foundation
for further development. My involvement with CESS would also allow me to foster collaboration between universities, including joint supervision of PhD projects.
I have extensive leadership experience, including as Vice Chancellor of Ilia State University for Research (2009-2010), as head of Erasmus projects in collaboration with Ukraine, and more recently as Director of the newly established Research Center for Anthropology at Ilia State University.
I am a member of several networks and working groups. These include the Working Group on Lived Religion in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, the Network for the Study of Local Peace Orders IFSH- Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg, Germany, cooperating partner of Conflict and Cooperation in Eastern Europe: The Consequences of the Reconfiguration of Political, Economic, and Social Spaces Since the End of the Cold War (KonKoop), led by the Center for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) Berlin, Germany. I have experience serving on boards, was a board member of the Caucasus Institute for Peace and Security Studies and was recently elected a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt.

Olga Khan

I am Olga Khan. I am an independent researcher; this winter I completed my Ph.D. on February 15th and obtained a degree in film theory.
I would like to apply for a Board member position if it is possible. My field of expertise is commercial Uzbek modern cinema (I finished a PhD in Imaging Science and Arts), my native language is Russian, though English is my working language since I have written and defended my doctoral thesis in English. However, it is not at the native level. I have leadership experience in the annual Quality of Life Monitors Program organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, I have held the leader position of the volunteer group and organized the online meeting and polls as well as managed and submitted monthly group reports; and shortly I will start helping with USTA Mentorship program 2023. My past teaching experiences have also improved my communication skills, as teaching is an important and pleasant aspect of being a faculty member and part of the scientific community. I have a membership in the CESS, and participated in CESS Regional Conference in Tashkent. Currently, I am a regional student member, and I would like to work on improving the CESS, especially to increase the popularity and possible accessibility among regional members. I am an independent researcher, and the moment I have enough free time to commit to the work.
I hope to become part of the intellectual community of CESS, where I can participate in or even help plan a number of CESS events aimed at broadening people’s understanding of Central Eurasian culture. As an early-career researcher, I hope to gain professional expertise by supporting the effective running of CESS through active participation in board meetings.