Kyrgyzstan is a multi-ethnic, landlocked and mountainous society bordered on the southwest by Central Asia’s Fergana Valley region. It shares borders with the much larger states of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China. A former Soviet republic and prior to that under Russian rule, Kyrgyzstan joined the global community as an independent state in 1991.
Following an eruption of inter-ethnic violence in June 2010, the people of Kyrgyzstan voted overwhelmingly to adopt a liberal democratic constitution. And yet ethnic nationalism among the majority Kyrgyz – many of whom see themselves as the country’s state-making people – continues to grow. The security of the country’s 80 or more ethnic minorities, including the southern Uzbek centred in Osh, remains a source of concern.
Despite these challenges, Kyrgyzstan’s democratic turn is an encouraging step toward pluralism.
Call for Applications to Join a Kyrgyzstan History Project
The Centre has launched a call for applications for Central Asian nationals interested in joining an innovative history project. The project explores Kyrgyzstan’s history as a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society and seeks to identify potential lessons for fostering greater inclusion. The submission deadline is March 18, 2016.
Workshops in Kyrgyzstan: Process, Perspectives and Practice
In October, program staff travelled to Kyrgyzstan to deliver a series of workshops to assist participants from international organizations and local NGOs understand how to apply pluralism concepts and content to their community-driven development and peace-building initiatives.
Kyrgyzstan Dialogue in Istanbul
The Centre believes that dialogue – between people and across; perspectives – is a key to building more inclusive pluralist societies.
In October 2013, the Centre convened Kyrgyzstan government officials, civil society leaders and academics with international and regional experts to assess the pathways to pluralism in Kyrgyzstan.
Our work in Kyrgyzstan
Understanding the causes and consequences of Kyrgyzstan’s inter-ethnic tensions is the intial focus of our work. In 2013, we are assisted by two expert research partners – political scientist Erica Marat and historian Jeff Sahadeo. In May, both partners sat down with the Centre to discuss some of their initial findings. Click on the photos, left, to watch the videos.
In 2012, former Kyrgyzstan president Roza Otunbayeva shared her thoughts about Kyrgyzstan's ongoing prospects for democracy and pluralism as the inaugural speaker in our Annual Pluralism Lecture series. The first woman to lead a Central Asian republic, she presided over Kyrgyzstan’s first peaceful and democratic transition of power in 2011 and managed its highly successful constitutional referendum. Watch the video or read her remarks.