Host a CESS Conference: Requirements and Responsibilities for Proposals

The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) invites universities in Central Eurasia and North America to submit proposals to host our annual conferences, from 2024 onwards. Please see the attached document for information on the proposal and the logistics involved.

CESS annual conferences unite approximately 300 delegates from across the globe in the investigation of our region. Focused on the humanities and social sciences, CESS is an interdisciplinary organization whose area includes the Caucasus, Central Asia/Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iran, Turkey and bordering territories.

To apply for the 2024 annual conference, which we expect to hold in June in Central Eurasia, the deadline for proposals is June 30. We also welcome proposals for the 2025 and 2026 annual conferences from North American and Central Eurasian universities.

We are happy to provide guidance or further information; please direct any inquiries to CESS president, Jeff Sahadeo


  • Host institution must be directly connected to a university/ institution of higher learning.
  • The bid must be submitted by a CESS member or contain a recommendation from a CESS member.
  • The bid must include a rationale for the proposal and an outline of the institution’s strengths and interests.
  • The bid must include a letter of approval from the University/Institution leadership (Rector orPresident) acknowledging institutional support of the conference.
  • The bid must include information of the main contact/conference administrator.
  • The bid must comprise a brief description of the premises, including the size of the largest hall (for the opening ceremony, keynote and the annual members meeting) and number of classrooms available for panels, roundtables, pre-conference workshops and other meetings.
  • The proposed conference venue should have available accommodations nearby that meet the needs ofthe delegates with various incomes.
  • A suggested time frame for the conference based on the local situation (generally conferences runThursday through Sunday) must be included.
  • Proposed dates for the conference (either late May-June or October-early November) and the year(2024-2026)


  • The bid may include the proposed conference budget outline, complete with the amount of institutional support or other financial considerations. Of note: CESS expects to close the conference accounts with a positive balance. If a negative balance is incurred, CESS is not held liable for the losses. CESS does not provide financial support to the host institution but registration fees (averaging around 20000 in past conferences) will be distributed to the host. Costs above this can be offset by joint fundraising efforts and/or grant applications) (CESS provides limited travel support to delegates in need; the awards are merit based and are available only to the delegates from Central Eurasia. If the host is able to make a contribution to CESS prior to the conference, the funds will be used for travel and accommodation support for the delegates.)
  • Questions the host should address include: What resources do you anticipate being able to mobilize for the conference? This could include support in kind, such as provision of staff support and conference spaces, or could include funds provided by the institution or by likely sponsors. Are there other institutions that could provide financial resources or administrative support to organize the conference such as other academic institutions, funding agencies, city authorities, etc?
  • The host should outline volunteers or employees available for each day of the conference—with the greatest number for registration periods.
  • The host can outline cultural programming (movies, performances) available to the delegates. CESS will collaborate with the host on creating these programs.

Specific needs of the conference venue

  • Typical CESS conferences have around 250-300 participants. It is helpful for the main conference activities (panels, registration, socializing space if available) to be located in a single building but we recognize that this is not always possible. The timetable and layout of previous conferences may be found at

Room requirements include:

  • An area or room for registration. Ideally, this will be the same as or adjacent to a space for casual socializing that can be monopolized by conference participants without disturbing others at the host venue. There might be plans for coffee breaks, l 2 ikely in the registration area.
  • A book display area that can be securely locked at night. It is important that this be located in an area of high traffic, ideally in the same space as registration.
  • Pre-Conference Workshop venues (2-3 classrooms) on Thursday morning.
  • Classrooms or conference rooms for panels and meetings. There are usually seven sessions running parallel throughout the conference (though there may be fewer on Thursday and/or Sunday, and no sessions take place during the keynote). Each room should be able to hold between 20-50 people and should have standard AV equipment to enable presentations to be projected onto a screen and sound/vision to be displayed.
  • A venue for the conference dinner (typically Friday or Saturday night, for 250-300 people). This can be stand-up buffet or a sit-down dinner.
  • A venue for the keynote address/awards ceremony (Friday or Saturday afternoon, usually scheduled from 4:30-6:00).
  • A room for film screenings, if film screenings are part of the program, or an auditorium for a cultural program, if such an event is planned (200-300 people).

NOTE: The registration and panel times should be set in accordance with restrictions on the facilities use; we must make sure we can get into the buildings at least 15-30 minutes before sessions are scheduled to begin, even on Sunday.

Host institution staffing and support:

  • Annual Conferences cover the full range of topics of research on Central Eurasia, flexibly defined. We do not have a practice of promoting or emphasizing themes or disciplines, but we may have an overall conference thematic. We aim to be inclusive, both in geographic and disciplinary terms. We work with the host organization on defining the content of the conference,
  • The host institution will have a department or team to take the lead on conference organization and work with CESS, who will provide a conference committee. The host institution will provide staffing support for registration, A/V, etc.
  • The host institution may wish to run its own website for the conference with information about accommodation, travel, visa support and local facilities, or to provide these details to CESS to publish on our website. The exhibit space and program advertising can be organised by the host or CESS or these can be worked on together. The host is responsible for printing the program. We recommend that hosts employ student helpers to assist with the running of the conference.


  • Typically, all conference costs should be covered either by the resources of the host or by registration fees. Resources provided by the host could include support in kind, such as provision of staff support and conference spaces, or could include funds provided by the institution or by likely sponsors. We can work with the host to find other organizations that provide funds for the cultural program, etc.
  • One of the first steps in conference planning is for hosts to work with CESS to produce a budget that allows us to set and advertise the fees at a level sufficient to cover projected costs. A budget template that you may find helpful in your planning is appended.


We would explore commercial options available, including a low-cost hotel and an international-standard hotel version, and, potentially, university dormitories. We would consider distance from the conference venue, how rooms would be reserved, and anticipated room rates as we would negotiate discounts. We suggest that around 100-150 rooms should be reserved per night.


Participants would need to be aware of transport options from the hotel to conference venue.