CESS’ Newest Communications Committee Members

We’re extremely excited to announce that CESS’ communications committee has welcomed seven new members in addition to its current members Barbara Junisbai, Katia Svensson, and Inge Snip.

New Members

Bossan Abdyyewa

Bossan is from Turkmenistan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Montana State University Billings. She is a Master’s student at Indiana University, majoring in Russian and East European Studies. Her focus of study is women’s educational rights.

Rahat Sabyrbekov

Rahat Sabyrbekov is a postdoctoral fellow at OSCE Academy and Visiting Fellow at the Davis Center at Harvard University. His research interests are in environmental economics.  Rahat’s recent works include ‘’Climate Change In Central Asia: Decarbonization, Energy Transition, and Climate Policy” (2023), “Putting the foot down: Accelerating EV uptake in Kyrgyzstan” (2023), “Know your opponent: Which countries might fight the European carbon border adjustment mechanism?” (2022), and “Fossil Fuels in Central Asia: Trends and Energy Transition Risks” (2022).

Dilafruz Nazarova

Dr. Dilafruz Nazarova is an accomplished human rights lawyer from Tajikistan and is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Program Director of the Master’s Program at the Political Science Department of Rutgers University, where she obtained her Ph.D. degree. She also has LL.M in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex (UK). Her research interests and areas of expertise primarily include international law, human rights, public law, and comparative politics. Dr. Nazarova worked for her government and several international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Penal Reform International, the Rule of Law Initiative of the American Bar Association, the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and the United Nations.

Marat Iliyasov

Dr. Marat Iliyasov is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Miami University of Ohio. Before taking up this position, he completed his post-doc at Wisconsin-Madison University. Dr. Iliyasov works on topics related to war and post-war developments in Chechnya, Islamist radicalization, and religious governance in Russia. His most recent research focuses on
memory politics in authoritarian Chechnya and the collective memory of the Chechens. He is affiliated with the Havighurst research center for Russia and Post-Soviet studies.

Tiko Tsomaia

Tiko Tsomaia, MD, PhD, is a professor at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. She leads classes in reporting, writing, and social campaigning. She runs femicide.ge, a collaborative project to inform the public about murder crimes against women. She founded the “open movement” to support community mental health services and open discussion about mental health issues.  Her research topics are pre-natal sex selection, femicide, trauma and addiction, ethical decision-making, and health communication.

Ruben Safrastyan

Prof. Dr. Ruben Safrastyan (67) is a Full Member of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences and Counselor of the Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences. Previously, he was the Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, holder of the Chair of the World History Armenian State Pedagogical University, and Counselor of the Armenian Embassy in Germany. His specialization includes Turkish, Middle Eastern, Genocide Studies, and World and Modern History. He is the receiver of Humboldt (Germany), Fulbright (US), and International Policy (Hungary) fellowships.

Matthieu Lemoine

Mathieu (France) has extensive experience in the Central Eurasian region, including in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where he worked with OSCE field operations and a USAID-funded project on the independence of the judiciary. He also covered Central Asia as a Research Fellow at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen and authored and translated articles on Novastan’s website – an online portal dedicated to Central Asia. As communications passionate, he created a podcast on disability rights in Uzbekistan. Seasoned traveler in the region and open-minded, he is looking forward to meeting more Central Eurasian experts and further promoting the work of the CESS. 

Current Members

Barbara Junisbai 

Barbara Junisbai is a faculty member in one of Pitzer College’s most popular majors, Organizational Studies. Drawing on insights from her research on authoritarianism and her experiences living and working in authoritarian contexts, Professor Junisbai is committed to creating liberatory teaching and learning spaces. Irrespective of content, her courses emphasize self-reflection, interdependence, and organizational imagination. Professor Junisbai’s book, The Pitfalls of Family Rule, is under contract with Cornell University Press. She has published in Perspectives on Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, Central Asian Affairs, and Problems of Post-Communism, among others.

Inge Snip

Inge Snip is a journalist and digital communications expert with more than ten years of experience in media and international development. Throughout her career, she has supported organizations in developing strategies and creating content to engage with their audiences and community members, including developing newsletter products and organizing online and offline events, for news outlets such as Coda Story and openDemocracy, think tanks such as Edgeryders, and international development organizations such as UNDP.

Katia Svensson

Katia is an administrator and editor with graduate degrees in Geography and Cultural Studies. Having worked in several museums in Virginia, she also supported various international projects and academic programs for over 20 years. She served on the Board of Asian American Society of Central Virginia.