Central Asia: Leveraging Geopolitical Opportunities to Promote Human Rights and Reform

May 04, 2023
05:00 pm - 06:30 pm

About the Event

The National Endowment for Democracy in partnership with Freedom Now and the Central Asia Program at the George Washington University hosted a discussion of current developments in Central Asia.

As Central Asia faces twin international threats of Russian aggression and Chinese expansion, domestically citizens are increasingly vocal in their demands for reform, accountability, and representation. Regional leaders realize that deeper integration with the West can provide solutions to these challenges, promoting economic development and securing national sovereignty but they are fearful of reforms that may undermine the authoritarian basis of their rule. How can human rights activists work with international partners–in civil society and in government–to find leverage points to encourage Central Asian leaders to improve human rights, introduce reforms, and–eventually–embark on a path towards democratization? How can local civil society, international NGOs, and Western governments play complementary roles in this process? What are the main opportunities today and how can we pursue them?


Damon Wilson, opening remarks
President and CEO, National Endowment for Democracy, opening remarks

Timur Karpov
Founder, 139 Documentary Center

Sebastien Peyrouse
Research Professor, Elliott School of Public Affairs, George Washington University

Yevgeniy Zhovtis
Director, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights

Spaska Gatzinska, moderator
Deputy Director for Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy

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Header image adapted from image courtesy of Timur Karpov.