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First Policy Brief of an FP7 project with ISSICEU related topic published

The first policy brief "10 Years of the ENP - the Way Forward with the EaP" has been published by FP7 MAXCAP project. "Maximizing the integration capacity and of the European Union: Lessons of and prospects for enlargement and beyond" (MAXCAP) is working on the similar topic to the ISSICEU project. 

The publication can be downloaded here.

Contracted researcher with ISSICEU on Iranian influences in the Caucasus

As a partner within the EU-funded consortium "Intra- and Inter-Societal Sources of Instability in the Caucasus and EU Opportunities to Respond (ISSICEU)" Geowel Research (Tbilisi/Georgia) is currently recruiting a researcher on a contract basis for a period of up to 10 months. The salary will be a minimum of 1500 EUR (gross) per month, depending on the duration of the contract. The specific terms of contract (i.e. full-time or part-time position) are negotiable.

The international research project explores a diverse set of factors with respect to (in-)stability in the North and South Caucasus, aiming at generating both original empirical knowledge and policy-recommendations ( Within the framework of ISSICEU, the researcher's tasks will be to explore the role of Iran in regional developments. S/he will contribute to the work package on influences from the neighborhood, thereby complementing ISSICEU's research on Turkish influences in the Caucasus. S/he will in particular provide insights on Iran's socio-economic and political relations with the South Caucasus countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as well as consider the (in-)compatibilities between EU and Iranian policies towards the Caucasus.

- Profound knowledge on the Caucasus region and Iran-Caucasus relations
- Above-average MA degree or PhD in the social sciences (political science, sociology, political geography or anthropology)
- Experience in empirical and distinct interest in policy-oriented research
- Fluency in English and Persian required
- Preferably knowledge of regional languages and/or Russian

The application deadline is September, 30th 2015. Please send CV and cover letter to

Job Opening: Full-time Researcher at SWP

Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin is looking for a full-time researcher with the focus on Central Asia. SWP is an independent research institute and is responsible for advising the German government and the Bundestag on foreign policy and security issues.

SWP is interested in hiring a full-time researcher with a limited-term contract for three years.

The focus of research will be Central Asia:
· Domestic political and societal developments in the post-Soviet Central Asian states
· Regional political und transnational relations in Central Asia, the role of external
actors (Russia, China, EU, others), foreign policy of the post-Soviet Central Asian

· A doctoral degree in political science, economics or another social science
· In-depth knowledge of the political and economic system and society and/or the foreign policy of at least one post-Soviet Central Asian state
· Appropriate experience in regional and field research
· Relevant publications in the above-mentioned areas
· Fluent knowledge of German, English and Russian, knowledge of other regional languages is desirable
· Excellent oral and writing skills
· Experience in policy advising is desired
The salary will be in the framework of the German TVöD (civil servant) pay scale, at the E13 level.
The SWP encourages equal gender opportunity and therefore especially welcomes applications from women.

Please send your application by 30 September 2015 to the following address:
Referat Personal
Ludwigkirchplatz 3-4
10719 Berlin
or via email to: bewerbungen(at)

Further information can be found here (German version only)

4 PhD positions in the research project "Governance in Emerging Economies"

The research project Governance in Emerging Economies offers 4 PhD positions starting on 1st January 2016, for a fixed term of 3 years. Graduates from the social sciences, in particular from economics, political science, administrative sciences and related fields are invited to apply.

The PhD candidates will be involved in conducting a multidisciplinary research project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung). The research project investigates the potential of state governance in promoting economic development and growth. The aim of the project is to study the institutional and administrative foundations and policy instruments of state-led economic policy approaches in emerging economies. The project encompasses the post-Soviet region with particular focus on Georgia and Kazakhstan. The PhD candidates will be based in Germany and spend a considerable period of time at the partner institutions in Georgia or Kazakhstan. They will be integrated in a wider research group.

Participation in academic meetings and international conferences, soft-skill courses and supportive mentoring to advance research skills will complement the PhD training. The candidates are expected to organize academic workshops at the partner institutions and compose academic and policy papers as part of the PhD thesis. A full-time scholarship of monthly 1050 EUR, coverage of travel expenses, health care allowance, technical equipment and organizational assistance will be provided.

Requirements include a Masters degree in a relevant field, good knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methods, interest in institutional analysis and economic policy research and to work in a highly interactive, multidisciplinary field. Independence, flexibility, organizational skills and proficiency in English as well as in Georgian or Russian /Kazakh are required. Previous research experience with East Asia would be an asset.

Women are explicitly invited to apply. Handicapped applicants (m/f) will be considered with preference in case of equal qualification. Candidates from Georgia and Kazakhstan are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please send your full application including a motivation letter, CV with contact details of two academic referees, academic certificates, a one-page summary on your own research interests and, if available, a work sample to: Closing date for the application is 7th September 2015.

For further information, please contact: or check the website.

Training: Peace and Conflict Consultant

CRSIP e.V., a German non-governmental organization that facilitates seminars and trainings dealing with conflict transformation and political participation launches a new project 'Training Course: Peace and Conflict Consultant' that will take place in Georgia und Ukraine between September and December 2015.

The aim of the project is the training of selected, civic experts from the field of peace and conflict work. Through the training the participants should gain the tools to increase the quality and flexibility of local conflict management and therefore contribute to the solving of current and future conflicts in the countries of the Eastern Partnership. The project consists of 4 concerted workshops and an implementation phase, during which the participants will conduct their own workshops in their home-countries.

Target group
The project targets young experts (minimum age 25 years) with former experiences in the field of conflict management. Furthermore, also people without practical experience in conflict management but former involved in this field of work are welcome to join. The group of participants should cover different conflict areas, represent women and men equally and also include civic actors from rural areas. Through the implementation phase also civilians, who are currently affected by conflicts get the possibility to participate in the process of conflict solving.

Through the training of civic actors in the field of peace and conflict work the project intends to improve the quality and flexibility of civic conflict solving in the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Therefore 'quality' refers to the ability of the local experts to adopt methods and standards of conflict solving and as a consequence raise the acceptance of the population towards these actors. 'Flexibility' refers to the ability of the local experts to adapt immediately to changes and new challenges.

More information can be found here.

Deadline for applications is the 16th of August 2015.

Academy Robert Bosch Fellowship

Chatham House, in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, hosts fellows from the six countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia.

Dear Colleague,

The Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs is pleased to invite applications for two Academy Robert Bosch Fellowships, each for a nine-month period.

The Academy Robert Bosch Fellowships provide an opportunity for the next generation of leaders and opinion-formers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to advance their knowledge of post-Soviet politics, develop research skills, contribute to Chatham House research and build links with policy and academic communities in the UK, Germany and the EU more broadly.
One fellowship will run from February 2016 to November 2016, and the other from September 2016 to May 2017. Fellows will be based within the Institute's Russia and Eurasia Programme. In addition, the Academy, also based at Chatham House, aims to nurture broader skills, knowledge and networks that analysts will need in their continuing career.

There are three elements to the fellowships: a) a personal research project; b) integration into wider Chatham House work, especially in the Russia and Eurasia Programme; and c) leadership and skills training seminars.

Chatham House will provide a monthly stipend in pounds sterling (GBP) to the value of approximately €3,000 for Academy Robert Bosch fellows for the duration of the fellowship.

Deadline for applications is Wednesday 30 September 2015.

Read more for further information on research topics and how to apply >


Anne Giles
Academy Officer
+ 44 (0) 20 7389 3272

New Publication on Local Government in Armenia

A new article on local government reforms in Armenia by Katharina Hoffmann and Arman Melkonyan was published in Caucasus Analytical Digest.

The publication analyses local government reforms at the level of communities. In 2015 Armenia's government planned to merge small communities into larger and, in theory, administratively more viable units. Although the Armenian government has yet to define core legal aspects of the consolidation reform, on May 17, 2015, it nevertheless launched referenda on the consolidation of selected communities in three Armenian regions. The majority of the communities have accepted the consolidation plans, but concerns prevail that this reform will have negative effects on the communities' financial resources and power. The article concludes that it remains uncertain whether the reform will strengthen or distort decentralization. However, if the reform does not come with substantial infrastructural investments, the greater geographical distance between the people and their local government bodies may result in a substantial loss of trust in the latter. [click here to download the file]

"Religions and secularities in the Caucasus: New Configurations"

In collaboration with the CASCADE project, the international conference took place in June 1-3, 2015 at Ilia State University (Tbilisi, Georgia). It was dedicated to dynamic interaction of religion and secularity and to changes in the religious landscape in the Caucasus. The conference was organised by Alexander Agadjanian (ISSICEU, RSUH), Silvia Serrano (CASCADE) and Sophia Zviadadze.

Revitalization of religions, emerging new forms of religiosity, and the instrumentalization of religion in politics have played a crucial role in reshaping the Caucasian societies after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Religion became a source of political legitimacy, social capital and everyday values.
At the same time, the post-communist societies largely retained the deeply ingrained atheist legacy, combined with the new forms of secularity coming from the West. The discourses of secularity have been varied and multiple, as were religious actors and forms of religiosity.

The conference aimed to look at changes in the religioius landscape in the Caucasus, relating them to the global trends and the current academic literature of the field, both theoretical and empitical.

The conference explored the institutional arrangements of religion and religious diversity within the secular political context. Dr. Ansgar Jödicke (University of Fribourg) presented his findings about contemporary changes in Azerbaijan's state policy towards regilion, by examining Iranian and Turkish religious groups. The conference also touched upon the current public debates about religion and secularity, discussing "modern" and "traditional" elements of religion and politics. Finally, the participants debated on such an issue as the forms and limits of religious presence in the public sphere.

Based on the conference`s contributions, a special issue of the Russian Journal State, Religion and Church, edited by A. Agadjanian (ISSICEU, RSUH) and S. Serrano (CASCADE) is planned to be published in 2016.

ISSICEU Public Panel in Istanbul

A public panel entitled "Turkey and the Caucasus: Inter-Societal Relations, Civil Society Development and Security" was held in Istanbul on 17 April 2015, concluding the second internal meeting of the ISSICEU research consortium.

The panel brought together speakers from Turkey and the South Caucasus. It included Professor Mitat Celikpala from Kadir Has University, Dr. Farda Asadov from Khazar University as well as Tigran Matosyan and Ketevan Rcheulishvili, who were representing Russian State University for Humanities. The ISSICEU project coordinator Professor Dirk Lehmkuhl, St Gallen University, and Dr. Burcu Gültekin Punsmann from the Ankara Policy Center moderated the discussion.

Professor Celikpala discussed Turkey's current approach to cooperation in the Caucasus - which is generally oriented towards Georgia and Azerbaijan - the internal and external obstacles for expanding cooperation as well as the role of Russia and Iran in shaping cooperation in the region. Ketevan Rcheulishvili and Tigran Matosyan focused their presentations on the role of non-state actors in Georgia and Armenia, discussing particularly the weakness of the civil society organizations in the two countries. The panelists highlighted the lack of public trust in these organizations, dependency on donor funding, cultural factors and government funding among the limiting factors. Both speakers noted the successes of the civil society organizations as well – the active involvement of the civil society organizations in the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the rise of the civic activism in Armenia. According to Dr. Asadov, civil society organizations in Azerbaijan face similar weakening factors as in Armenia and Georgia. Dr. Asadov also spoke about the political role of the civil society organizations, which are often considered as a threat to the political elite and political stability.

At the end of the question and answer session with the audience, there seemed to be a general agreement that there are opportunities for non-political cooperation, but "it is the realities that divide us."

Text provided by: Arpine Porsughyan, GeoWel Research

Second Internal Meeting and Public Panel in Istanbul

The ISSICEU researchers after the 2nd Internal Meeting

From 15 - 17 April, the ISSICEU research consortium gathered together for the second time in full for the annual internal meeting. The 3-day workshop was closed by a public panel with ISSICEU researchers and Prof. Mitat Celikpala from Kadir Has University.

The second internal meeting of the ISSICEU research project was held in Istanbul, Turkey. Several sub-groups gathered in Ankara before the official welcome dinner on 15 April for work package specific research seminars on 14 - 15 April. The full group meeting on 16 - 17 April, at which ISSICEU welcomed the external advisory board members Nino Lejava, Helge Blakkisrud and Laure Delcour, consisted of working sessions of the respective WPs, an input by consortium participant SWP on "how to write a policy brief" and the obligatory general assembly.

The closing panel on the evening of 17 April was open to the interested public and titled "Turkey and the Caucasus: Inter-Societal Relations, Civil Society Development and Security". In a lively debate moderated by ISSICEU project coordinator Dirk Lehmkuhl and Burcu Gultekin Punsman, the panelists around Mitat Celikpala from Kadir Has University discussed Turkey's current approach to cooperation in the Caucasus as well as the role of civil society actors, in particular in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.