Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies (MECACS) Presents the next instalment of their Round table Series
Activism and Political and Social Engagement in Central Asia
Aery is a feminist activist, journalist and amateur writer from Kazakhstan. She is an active member of KazFem, the first feminist activist group in Kazakhstan (founded in 2015). Aery is also one of the two organisers of the first Central Asian Feminist Writing Workshop in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and one of main organisers of the first official 8th of March feminist rally in Almaty, which gathered around 1000 people. In the past, she also participated in 8th march protests and rallies in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Currently, she is also working on coordinating and supporting different feminist projects between Almaty and Bishkek.
Tolekan is a Kyrgyz human rights defender. She is the director of the human rights movement Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan (formerly known as Citizens Against Corruption). Its mission is to inform about the rights of vulnerable groups, promote women's leadership, reform the penitentiary system and the criminal law. The organisation has also carried out advocacy work for imprisoned human rights defender Azimjan Askarov and victims of the June 2010 conflict in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. The movement organises the international documentary human rights film festival "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan", a large Platform for young filmmakers and activists from different countries.
Suna is an international institutional expert working in the areas of public policy and social reforms in Uzbekistan. She advises governments in Central Asia on a range of issues pertaining to sustainable development. Suna is also an author of a social, non-profit project "Hashar Week", a week-long awareness campaign on environmental issues, specifically waste in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In 2020 Suna has become a recipient of the "Tahsin" national award celebrating outstanding achievements in social development and was invited to represent Uzbekistan's environmental policy at the OSCE ministerial conference in Vienna. At the core of Suna's sustainability projects lies an idea that sustainable development is not a new concept and is deeply rooted in cultural and historical traditions of Central Asian nations, especially in Uzbekistan.
Ernest is an investigative researcher and analyst with experience in journalism partnering with global organisations like Freedom House, Article 19, the United Nations and is a regular contributor to the Migrant Journalism blog on refugees and human rights in the UK. Formerly he worked as News Editor of the English language version of Central Asia's independent news agency "Fergana". As Project Manager for the Interbilim Centre (Kyrgyzstan) Ernest oversaw successful project to change electoral law in Kyrgyzstan, forcing candidates to disclose financial and political ties with current government and ran a legal and research team of four. At present, he is working as freelance consultant studying internet freedoms in Uzbekistan for annual "Freedom on the Net" reports (2017-2020) of Freedom House and is pursuing an MLitt in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Caucasus Studies at the University of St Andrews, UK.
Chairs – Dr Filippo Costa Buranelli – University of St Andrews and Dr Matteo Fumagalli – St Andrews
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