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Public Panel on Sources and Challenges for Stability at Local Level in the North Caucasus - 31.03.2016

The Kabardino-Balkarian State University & the North Caucasian Graduate School of Conflict Studies (Nalchik, Russian Federation) are pleased to invite to their public panel "Sources and Challenges for Stability at Local Level in the North Caucasus".

The main purpose of the panel is to outline the main interim results on governance, culture and economy of local communities in the North Caucasus and their possible applications in regional policies. 

Date: 31 March 2016, 11:00-14:00

Venue: Kabardino-Balkarian State University, Nalchik, Chernishevsky str., 173 (Academic Council Conference Room)

Further details on the panel can be found here.

Public Panel on EU-Turkey Cooperation in the South Caucasus

SWP - German Institute for International and Security Affairs together with the German Association for East European Studies (DGO e.V.) invites to the public panel "Addressing Conflicts in a Shared Neighbourhood: Prospects and Limitations of EU-Turkey Cooperation in the South Caucasus".

Further details about the public panel are in the agenda. For registration please send an email to

Date: 16 March 2016, 14:00-16:00h

Venue: SWP-German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Ludwigkirchplatz 3-4, 10719 Berlin 

Presentation of ISSICEU Public Opinion Survey

Dr. Farda Asadov and Irada Bagirova at the public panel

On 19 January 2016 the Center for Eurasia and Middle East Studies (CEMES) at the Khazar University and the International Center for Social Research (ICSR) jointly conducted the presentation of outcomes of public opinion survey on civil society perceptions in Azerbaijan. The survey was a part of research programme supported by ISSICEU.

The outcomes of the ISSICEU survey were presented by ICSR Deputy Director Tahir Faradov and by academic consultant of the Center Irada Bagirova. Among the attendants were the leadership of the State Council for NGO support under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the representatives of the Center for Strategic Researches, the leadership of the NGO coalition on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as well as NGO activists and academics from the Khazar University.

The event started with the welcoming word from the founder of the Khazar University, Prof. Hamlet Isakhanli and followed up with a vivid discussion of the survey data. The dialogue between civil society institutions and government was emphasized as important factor of social stability. For the successful implementation of such a dialogue the increase of trust between people and further improvement of legal regulations for civic participation is necessary. The implementation of regular public opinion survey on the subject was recommended, and the cooperation between universities, NGO sector and the State Council for NGO support was indicated as helpful contribution to such work. Overall, the ISSICEU public opinion survey was widely acknowledged as a significant contribution to the study of civic participation in Azerbaijan. 

Focus Caucasia 2.0 Narrating, Imagining and Crafting ‘Modernities’ in the Caucasus

An interdisciplinary student and graduates symposium aims to analyse local ways of how different actors narrate, imagine and negotiate their social, cultural or national identities in the context of local and global developments. Urban transformations, migration processes, education, work, health care, politics and many other spheres of daily importance have experienced significant changes since independence which in turn are much influenced by the Soviet past. How do people experience and evaluate these changes? How do state-authorities, interest groups, or citizens participate in their society's future? What are prominent conflicts between actors such as citizens and the state? These are only few questions concerning 'modernities' that could be addressed by young social scientists from different disciplinary backgrounds.

The symposium will take place on 20th of May 2016 at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

A detailed programme can be downloaded here.

EU-Azerbaijani Relations in Focus of Energy Security and Human Rights

The policy brief "EU-Azerbaijani Relations: Thinking of a culture of human rights in a partnership relation" produced by Dr. Burcu Gülketin Punsmann (Ankara Policy Center) elaborates on energy relations between the EU and Azerbaijan and its implications for the situation with human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The policy brief can be downloaded here.

Presentation of ISSICEU survey in Azerbaijan

The ISSICEU public opinion survey on "Civil Society and Civic Participation in Azerbaijan: major trends, challenges and prospects" will be presented by Khazar University and International Center for Social Research on 19 January 2016.

The survey was conducted in 2015 and is structured by questions on trust in institutions, readiness for participation in and attitudes toward civil society organisation, and implications of religious values.

It was funded by the European Union, the Academic Swiss Caucasus Network and by the Centre for Governance and Culture in Europe with support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.

The venue of the event is Khazar University, 41 Mehseti Str (Neftchiler campus), Room 102. The presentation starts at 15:00 AZT.

Roundtable disussion on ENP and Turkey

In December 2015, the Khazar University (KUB) and the Ankara Policy Center (AMP) organised a roundtable discussion with students on the European Neighbourhood Policy at the Khazar University (Baku, Azerbaijan).

In her lecture, Dr. Burcu Gültekin Punsmann, a senior researcher at the APM and a contributor to the ISSICEU project, gave an overview of the evolution of the ENP in the last decade and discussed new challenges of the regional integration in the Black Sea & Caucasus regions. Dr. Punsmann elaborated on the future of Turkey-EU relations as well as discussed Turkey's role in the Mediterranean cooperation and how its candidate status affects the country's role in the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. In addition, Dr. Punsmann discussed with students the impact of the slow-down of Turkey's accession process to the EU on democratization and talked about problems of regionalization in the wider Black Sea area. Such issues as Turkish-Armenian problems, Turkish relations with Maghreb countries and the Middle East as well as Turkey's role on the current refugee crisis was debated in the conclusion of the lecture.

Afterwards, the participants discussed the abovementioned topics in greater detail. The interactive discussion shed light on how Turkish-EU relations can impact regional dynamics in the Caucasus region.

Along with students of the Department of Political Science, participants included Dr. Farda Asadov, Director of the Center for Eurasian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Dr. Mukhtar Hajizada, Head of the Department, the Khazar University.

CASCADE Publication: Managing conflict and integration in the South Caucasus: A challenge for the European Union

The ISSICEU sister partner CASCADE published a policy brief "Managing conflict and integration in the South Caucasus: A challenge for the European Union" by Neil Melvin (Sipri, Sweden) and Giulia Prelz Oltramonti (ULB, Belgium) focusing on the conflict resolution in the South Caucasus and its implications for the European Neighbourhood Policy.


In September 2015 the ISSICEU partner Khazar University hosted a meeting with its sister project CASCADE to discuss the EU perceptions in Azerbaijan.

On September 29 - October 2, 2015 CASCADE project leaders Dr. Laure Delcour and Dr. Kataryna Wolczuk visited Baku. The general topic discussed at the meetings were the EU perceptions in Azerbaijan. For this purpose, the ISSICEU partner Khazar University arranged three meetings for their CASCADE colleagues. The first two meetings were held with ministerial representatives. During these meetings, the Azerbaijani government's position in the latest EU-Azerbaijan communications on human rights and the major economic cooperation trends and investment policy with the EU countries and business institutions were discussed. The last meeting was organised at the National Committee for Helsinki Citizens Assembly with a group of civil society experts on conflict analysis and representatives of youth initiatives in peace-seeking. Vivid discussion demonstrated that security and good governance challenges in the region are closely intertwined.

New Publication on Dagestan - Russia's Most Troublesome Republic

A new publication on Dagestan and its political and religious developments was published by Uwe Halbach and Manarsha Isaeva in SWP Research Paper Series.

Since 2014 the Ukraine conflict has overshadowed Russia's North Caucasus issues, both within the country and abroad. Yet on its Caucasian margins, the Russian state continues to find itself confronted with challenges that affect its internal security and stability as a multi-ethnic state. Dagestan, the largest of the Caucasian republics, has become a flashpoint between security forces and the armed insurgency during the past five years, while changes in Islamist leadership have made it the ideological and logistical centre of North Caucasian jihadism; in this respect it has in fact overtaken Chechnya. What impact did the Chechen wars have on neighbouring Dagestan? How has the religious "rebirth" since the end of the Soviet Union proceeded in this part of Russia, where Islam is more deeply rooted than anywhere elsewhere in the Federation? How does Dagestan's great ethnic diversity affect its political and social life? This study addresses these questions, exploring the problems that make Dagestan stand out as Russia's most troublesome republic [click here to download the file].