Is Something Stirring in Central Asia?

April 3, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW
Washington, DC

Is Something Stirring in Central Asia?

Co-Hosted by the Atlantic Council and Central Asia-Caucasus Institute

A light reception will follow the discussion.

A conversation with:

Ambassador John Herbst
Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

Ambassador Richard Hoagland
Interim Co-chair 
OSCE Minsk Group

Mr. Daniel Rosenblum
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia, 
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs

US Department of State

Dr. Martha Olcott
Visiting Professor
Michigan State University

Moderated By:

Dr. S. Frederick Starr
Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
American Foreign Policy Council

Since the death of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov in September of 2016, the stability  that characterized key developments and overall dynamics in Uzbekistan as well as in the Central Asia region as a whole, has been undergoing a noticeable shift. Initiatives of the newly installed President Mirziyoyev in Uzbekistan and proposals regarding reforms by President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan suggest that something may be stirring in Central Asia. This first joint forum of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Atlantic Council will present these developments, ask if they represent a real shift, and consider the implications of such changes for the Central Asia region as a whole and for its place in the world.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI), founded in 1997, forms part of the American Foreign Policy Council. Through its Joint Center with the Stockholm-based Silk Road Studies program, CACI publishes the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, the Turkey Analyst, and the Silk Road Papers. See

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 


Ambassador John Herbst is the director of the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Ambassador Herbst served for thirty-one years as a foreign service officer in the US Department of State, retiring at the rank of career-minister. He was the US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006. Prior to his ambassadorship in Ukraine, he was the ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2000 to 2003. Ambassador Herbst previously served as US consul general in Jerusalem; principal deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the Newly Independent States; director of the Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs; director of Regional Affairs in the Near East Bureau; and at the embassies in Tel Aviv, Moscow, and Saudi Arabia. He most recently served as director of the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. He has received two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Ambassador Herbst’s writings on stability operations, Central Asia, Ukraine, and Russia are widely published.

Ambassador Richard Hoagland is the interim Co-Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh. A career ambassador, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs from 2013 to 2015. In the summer of 2016 he was the senior U.S. liaison to the Russian Reconciliation Center at the Russian military base in Latakia, Syria. From January 2011 to October 2013, he was the United States Deputy Ambassador to Pakistan. Before Ambassador Hoagland’s service in Pakistan, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan from 2008 to January 2011. He previously served as the Ambassador to Tajikistan 2003–06, and as the Chargé d'affaires to Turkmenistan July 2007-July 2008. Prior to that, Ambassador Hoagland was Director of the Office of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State, June 2001 to July 2003. In that position, he wrote and negotiated four of the key bilateral documents defining the Central Asian states’ enhanced relationship with the United States. After September 11, 2001, he initiated regular U.S.-Russia consultations in response to the mandate by Presidents Bush and Putin that the two governments work together to increase their collaboration and transparency in Central Asia and the Caucasus. In July 2002, this consultative group became part of the ongoing U.S.-Russia Counterterrorism Working Group.

Mr. Daniel Rosenblum is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State. Working within the State Department’s Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs, Mr. Rosenblum oversees U.S. policy towards and diplomatic relations with the five Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. During 2008-2014, Mr. Rosenblum was Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia. He was responsible for ensuring the efficient allocation and spending of foreign aid budgets averaging over $1 billion annually. His office provided strategic guidance and oversight for all U.S. foreign assistance to more than 30 countries in the former Soviet Union, the Western Balkans, and Central Europe. He and his team coordinated the efforts of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies supporting economic reform, the development of democratic institutions and rule of law, building the capacity of law-enforcement and other security-sector institutions, and relieving human suffering through humanitarian aid. He also served as the primary U.S. government liaison with other international donors, including the European Union and multilateral development banks. During 1997-2008, Mr. Rosenblum held a variety of other positions in the Assistance Coordinator's office, including Deputy Coordinator, Director of the Eurasia Division, and Special Advisor for Economic Programs. He played the lead role in developing economic initiatives for several regions of Russia; served as the State Department liaison to 10 U.S.-backed investment funds operating in the region; and was instrumental in designing and implementing large packages of assistance for Ukraine, Georgia and the Kyrgyz Republic following internal upheavals, and for Kosovo following its declaration of independence.

Dr. S. Frederick Starr is the founding Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program, a joint transatlantic research center affiliated with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University in Washington and the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm. His research on the countries of Greater Central Asia, their history, development, internal dynamics, as well as on US policy towards the region has resulted in twenty-two books and 200 published articles. He has also written extensively on Russian History and current affairs. His most recent books are “The Ferghana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia”, and “Lost Enlightenment: Central Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane. Dr. Starr is a frequent commentator on the affairs of the region, and the author of numerous articles in journals including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The National Review, Far East Economic Review, and op-eds in various leading American and international newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times. Dr. Starr was the founding Chairman of the Kennan Institute in Washington, and served as Vice President of Tulane University and President of the Aspen Institute and of Oberlin College (1983-94). He was closely involved in planning the University of Central Asia and the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and is a trustee of the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.