Страна : США
Я пишу около 10 лет.
Country : USA
Cordelia Buchanan Ponczek is a recent graduate of the University of Oxford, where she
read for her MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at St Antony’s College. While
at Oxford, she helped plan and host a conference on Central Asia, “Connecting Central
Asia in the 21 st Century”. The conference and subsequent meetings were an inspiration
for this work. Previously, Cordelia earned her BA a Miami University in Ohio.
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At its crux, this piece is about exchange of people and ideas. It is an old adage, but one that resonates, which is why the idea kept coming back. There is a lot of be gained from educational exchange through cultivating further interest in the region, and through the people-to-people connections that result.
The topic is quite personal for me: I was a student last year in the Russian and East European Studies programme at Oxford. I worked with another student to help plan and host a conference, “Connecting Central Asia in the 21st Century”. In the leadup to the conference, I was amazed by the interest from researchers and attendees—students, NGO representatives, journalists, and government representatives from the region and abroad. The consensus was: we want more of this. There is an abundance of interest in Central Asia, all of it genuine, and I want to see that cultivated, and I want to see the regional and academic interest in the region thrive. I also think that Central Asian students and researchers bring some of the best perspective with them abroad. They challenge the western norms and stereotypes of the region, they advance studies about the region or about wholly independent topics, both with aplomb. Their experience and knowledge is vital to tacking some of the most pressing issues on the modern agenda, like water resource use, hydrocarbons, IT, demographics, regional development, conflict management, and, of course, the effects of transition.
There is a role for Central Asian researchers abroad, and for foreign researchers to do work in Central Asian countries. But there needs to be more dialogue, more openness, and more support for those undertaking this research. The people-to-people contacts gained from exchange programmes, visiting fellowships, and conferences are essential to building a global community and disrupting stereotypes and prejudices that are such a hindrance to development and good practices. The Central Asia region and the international community needs to confront the underlying problems. There are only positive changes to be gained by supporting the education programmes and regional research. In the end, it is a win-win, but the growing pains need to be identified and properly handled.