The project Government-Community Leaders Dialogues to Reduce Tension in Central Asia: Phase III with support from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was launched in May 2022. This 25-month project aims to strengthen collaboration at the interstate and intrastate levels to enable effective and innovative responses to security challenges in Central Asia.
Central Asia is currently at a confluence of multiple regional crises, as disunity prevails and tensions mount within and between countries in the region. The crisis in Afghanistan and the subsequent security challenges this entails for Central Asian states has been further compounded by recent events, such as the border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in Fergana Valley and civil unrest and political upheaval in Kazakhstan. In order to confront the multitude of factors leading to conflict in Central Asia today, Search is expanding its model of Regional Consultative Working Group (RCWG) to meet new challenges in the region, strengthen engagement and Track 1.5 diplomacy around US-Central Asia relations, and cultivate a group of young emerging experts to contribute to and influence the policymaking process.
Theory of Change
IF regional exchange on prominent security issues in Central Asia captures a diverse set of views, perspectives and lessons learned from a variety stakeholders, including from state institutions and civil society and IF emergent experts are supported through a process of mentorship and experiential learning opportunities; THEN regional policymaking on shared security challenges will be more sustainable and effective BECAUSE it is based on local ownership, collaboration, and supports the next generation of leaders to be at the forefront of the process.
Core Objectives and Activities
Search plans to cultivate the pool of “multi-generational” leaders and analysts from the five Central Asian states to effectively contribute to conflict analysis and policy making and build a dynamic network (policy analysts, NGOs, media, government advisors) who enhance policy development and cooperation in the region, based on a common understanding of shared security challenges. By using key stakeholders in the five Central Asian republics (government actors, civil society, security actors, religious leaders and others), Search will select “emergent experts,” hold capacity building and intergenerational exchange sessions, conduct simulation exercises, maintain RCWGs, draft event reports/policy papers, and organize a series of policymaker briefings.
Activities will build continued trust and engagement between key stakeholder and sector experts at the regional level around evidence-based dialogue that will lead to collaborative action to support effective approaches to addressing tension in Central Asia. The RCWG, event reports, policy papers, and briefing sessions to policymakers and analysts will enhance cooperation among the Central Asian states and regional unity. Through this project Search will:
- Build the capacity and amplify the profile of ten emerging experts from Central Asian countries through capacity building sessions and simulation exercises.
- Enhance cooperation among Central Asian stakeholders through four RCWGs.
- Inform policymakers and analysts through the development of policy papers and briefing sessions.