Twenty Years of Kazakhstan Independence and US-Kazakhstan Relations

Twenty Years of Kazakhstan Independence and US-Kazakhstan Relations

On January 31, the Atlantic Council hosted a conference entitled “Twenty Years of Kazakhstan Independence and US-Kazakhstan Relations” at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, DC. 

The conference took place in the context of two twentieth anniversaries– of Kazakhstan’s independence and of the establishment of US-Kazakhstan relations. Over the last twenty years, Kazakhstan consolidated its independence, got rid of nuclear weapons inherited from the USSR, fostered oil and gas development that is fueling economic revival, and avoided the kinds of sharp inter-ethnic and other strife that has been prominent elsewhere in the former Soviet states.  As recent events suggest, Kazakhstan faces many challenges over the next twenty years if it is to succeed fully as a strong, prosperous, more democratic, and stable country that sits in a complicated and potentially fragile region.  The United States has been a supporter and remains one.  This conference looked at all these pieces – what Kazakhstan found itself confronted by upon attaining independence twenty years ago and how it has coped with those issues, what challenges it must deal with over the coming two decades and beyond, and the role of US-Kazakh relations in advancing the two countries’ interests.

PROGRAM

Opening  

Transcript | Robert Blake’s Prepared Remarks

Welcoming Remarks:

  • The Honorable Ross WilsonDirector, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council
  •  Senator Chuck Hagel, Chairman, Atlantic Council 

Keynote Remarks:

  • H.E. Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kazakhstan
  • The Honorable Robert O. Blake, Jr., US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, US Department of State
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, USA (Ret.), President and Founder, The Scowcroft Group; Chairman, Atlantic Council International Advisory Board

Looking Back: Kazakhstan’s First Twenty Years

Transcript

Chair: Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Participants:

  • The Honorable John Herbst, Director, Center for Complex Operations, National Defense University and former US Ambassador to Uzbekistan (2000-03) and Ukraine (2003-06)
  • The Honorable Larry Napper, Senior Lecturer and Director, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, The George Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University and former US Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan (2001-04)
  • Dr. Martha Brill Olcott, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Looking Forward: Where Should Kazakhstan Be by 2031 and How Will It Get There?

Transcript

Chair: The Honorable Ross Wilson, Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council

Participants:

  • The Honorable William Courtney, First US Chargé d’Affaires and then Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan (1992-95) and former Ambassador to Georgia
  • Mr. Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute and former US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
  • The Honorable Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Kathryn and Shelby Collum Davis Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and former US Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States
  • Dr. S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Luncheon Keynote

Transcript | Dan Poneman’s Prepared Remarks

The Honorable Dan Poneman, US Deputy Secretary of Energy, US Department of Energy

US-Kazkhstan Relations

Transcript

Chair: Dr. Sean R. Roberts, Director and Associate Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Kenneth T. Derr, former Chairman and CEO, Chevron and Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in San Francisco

Participants:

  • Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, The Heritage Foundation
  • The Honorable Richard Jones, Deputy Executive Director, International Energy Agency and former US Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan (1998-2001)
  • The Honorable Jackson McDonald, Vice President, Jefferson Waterman International; former US Ambassador to The Gambia and to Guinea; and First Interim US Chargé d’Affaires, Republic of Kazakhstan
  • The Honorable Richard L. Morningstar, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, US Department of State and former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance for the New Independent States
  • The Honorable Bolat Nurgaliyev, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for protracted conflicts and former Kazakhstan ambassador to the United States

Closing

The Honorable Ross Wilson, Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council

 

ISSUE BRIEFS

Three issue briefs were published in advance of the conference: 

PRESS COVERAGE