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Feedback of Participants of “Central Asian Expert ReForum: Pointers to the Future”

The event was held in Almaty on November 28-29. It was attended by about 50 leading and young experts of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Many participants noted the vibrancy and unusual format of the event.

For more details on the “Central Asian Expert ReForum: Pointers to the Future” follow the link.

Below are the feedbacks of experts – participants of the event from four countries:

John McLeod, senior analyst, Russia/CIS, Oxford Analytica (United Kingdom)

It’s impressive to see so many really good experts from the whole region, especially from Uzbekistan, because it was a problem to establish contact with them earlier. It would be useful to hold more such events. The countries in the region are diverse, experts see the situation in their countries differently, going through various stages. However, it’s good that despite the diversity they act as one, create common vision on behalf of the region, have common understanding of it. Participants are different people who can have various opinions about things, yet they have a common understanding of what they do and why they do it. In this regard, I think it would be very useful to be a part of the regional community and maintain contacts with each other.

Yuli Yusupov, director of the Centre of Economic Development Promotion (Uzbekistan):

It’s good to have such events where representatives of various countries, of academic community can communicate with each other. I am thankful to IWPR and CABAR.asia for getting us together from time to time and also for involving young people – or “new blood” – here.  I think it’s a good practice of sharing ideas and meeting new people.

After meeting each other, our next step is to make some joint projects, to unite during the first stage of research projects. We need to gather representatives of different countries with common research topics or those who are involved in a certain research, get them together and share experience with each other. Topics can be very narrow, yet we can discuss them with representatives of various countries.

Anar Musabaeva, independent researcher and analyst (Kyrgyzstan):

I was very pleased with the number of young people, creative and smart, having new views, and skills of using new technologies – information, analytical. I enjoyed working in this atmosphere. I think such events would be useful in future. Interactive environment and games showed that we have many things in common and we have aspiration and desire to get closer to each other and know each other because today we don’t actually cooperate. I’d like to cooperate even more in future.

Speaking about the future, I’d like to see more topical projects on the base of CABAR.asia, when one topic is developed by analysts from various countries, who provide their insight. It would be very interesting and would make us know each other better. Besides, some topical or sector-based materials could be published.

Sherali Rizoyon, independent expert (Tajikistan):

This event is extremely important for our region. It gathered both practicing experts and people who just start their career in this area. It’s important for any profession and specialisation to be able to discuss, share experience with professionals in this area. Such events intended to develop analytics in our region create the so-called social capital, which in the medium and long run can affect cooperation between experts, analysts in the region. Why? Because our colleagues start discussing, thinking about various joint researches, projects, articles. Such forums help strengthen regional relations, get to know each other better, take each other impartially. This is very important.

Lira Zainilova, participant of CABAR.asia School of Analytics (Uzbekistan):

The ReForum held in Almaty became an opportunity not only for the alumni of Cabar.asia School of Analytics to reunite, but also to share opinions with experts of various think-tanks, both private and public, to communicate with people from the academic community and learn from the regional experts about their experience of influencing decision-makers in their countries.

The ReForum helped me understand that such meetings can bridge the gap in thinking between the generations of experts due to the intense networking. They can also help withdraw gradually from national thinking and shape regional, Central Asian identity, which can help the leaders of countries to focus on common issues and opportunities in future.

Besides, such events let expand the expert community, improve the quality of analytical materials, and specify common pointers to the future together. Finally, another important aspect is the support of young specialists provided by such meetings. Master classes held by the alumni of the School of Analytics showed that the new generation has new approach and fresh eye. New persons in the field of analytics can update the obsolete approaches to the assessment of the public administration system, decision-making process and regional cooperation.

In the long run, we should practice such meetings between analysts of the region. Moreover, the format can be expanded by inviting decision-makers from regional countries to create a system of interaction between the expert community and governmental bodies, and also take part in decision-making.

Zhaslan Nurbaev, participant of CABAR.asia School of Analytics (Kazakhstan):

What was so special about the Central Asian Expert ReForum:

  1. Community. Bringing together experienced and prominent experts of the region and young experts – alumni of CABAR.asia schools.
  2. Experience. Participants of the panel session shared their experience of work in think-tanks, peculiarities of their work. They provided successful cases of influence of expert recommendations on decision-makers.
  3. Networking. New contacts and broadening the network of expert contacts. Authors of future analytical articles provided their brief content and got feedback from their experienced colleagues. Besides, they were invited to write joint articles and hold further researches in a given area.
  4. Format. CABAR.asia events are always interesting, large-scale and interactive. Two days passed as two hours. Great work of organisers, as well as alumni who were consulted by representatives of CABAR.asia, i.e. organisers of the event, is behind this event.  
  5. Workshops. I’d like to emphasise day two of the ReForum not because it was held by the alumni of the school, but because we were really satisfied with our work. I liked all interactive master classes and workshops of my colleagues the same. As a result, we had a common understanding that we can do many things together… we can really make the difference together!

Maruf Abdudzhabborov, participant of CABAR.asia School of Analytics:

    1. I can tell for sure that the Central Asian Expert ReForum: Pointers to the Future was held at the highest level of competence and experience of participants and was interesting for a wide range of specialists. It met my expectations. Reports during sessions, master classes, speeches by participants were great. It was a great chance to communicate with colleagues and partners. All this altogether left good impression and it became another motivation for uniting experts and improving the expert community in the region. I was very pleased with the event and will be glad to take part in similar events in the future. I am very grateful to the organisers for their tremendous efforts and great results.

I think CABAR.asia and IWPR are getting closer to their goals. A working and friendly atmosphere is being created among analysts of the region. It’s a great achievement. Just never stop. We should continue this initiative. I think the union between analysts and experts is the key to integration of Central Asian states.

  1. A conference on regional development should be organised every year in one of the regional countries. It would be great to hold the regional expert conference “Looking for mechanisms of rapprochement in the region for sustainable development.”

Anna Zubenko, participant of CABAR.asia School of Analytics:

The forum left only positive impressions. It let us share experience and establish contacts between different generations of experts. During the forum, we could agree on our positions and vision on issues that the expert community faces in its work. It turned out that despite the apparent differences between regional countries, they have identical problems. Meetings in such format should be held regularly. The next step could be joint works and researches of the Central Asian region, which young analysts would be carrying out under mentorship of more experienced colleagues.

Temur Umarov, sinologist, consultant of the Carnegie Moscow Centre:

We must hold such events and support activities of our participants as there are almost no forums that would bring all analysts together.

Compared to similar events in Moscow, participants here are very active, open to discussion, full of energy. I can feel they are all concerned about the topic, problems and joint work. As to the level of knowledge and preparedness, there are various experts – experienced, respected, best – young and knowledgeable, who go in the right direction. I am glad Central Asia has this forum that unites and develops the expert community. 

Aziz Timurov, head of the Centre of Free Market of Tajikistan:

I’ve seen my old friends here, met new interesting boys and girls. I had a presentation to deliver so it was very interesting. I gained some new experience because I was ready to get it.

It helps to integrate experts on a personal level. We don’t need to write or cooperate only for work, we can have personal contacts or cooperate in terms of recommendations and consultations in future. I expand my network mainly for consultations to be able to ask my colleagues here or abroad about things that I have no idea about. Therefore, networking is very important for me personally and for me as an analyst.

Khursand Khurramov, expert (Tajikistan):

Unlike other events, where I participated, here I saw a different format that makes us interact with the audience, with each other.  What’s most important is that I was able to communicate with my colleagues in informal surroundings and talk about major problems and interact. This is a unique format that would pay off soon.

Such events are important as more mature experts are very sceptical about interaction in Central Asia. They think we don’t have great economy or great country that would promote interaction and cooperation. However, the new generation is thinking differently and it all starts at this level of interaction between experts.  If we continue with this format, we’ll have new initiatives, ideas that would make us think differently.

Bakhtiyor Alimdzhanov, independent researcher (Uzbekistan):

I gave a very good impression because I met new experts. I revealed new trends to learn. I discovered new problems and know what to write about for two months. The speakers were interesting and honest.

We need to hold such events because they create a kind of a forum for dialogues as we are losing our regional relations sometimes. Sometimes, I focus too much on Uzbekistan and don’t know what happens in Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan. I follow the news but still focus on domestic issues. Such meetings give me some insider information that I cannot obtain otherwise. Unofficial talks help me understand what is going on in the region.

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