Cross-regional and Blogosphere
The Alpamysh is a Turkic dastan, i.e., ornate oral history, and a prime representative of the Turkic oral literature of Central Asia. This literature has been and remains the principal repository of ethnic identity, history, customs, and the value systems of its owners and composers. Set mostly in verse, the Alpamysh is known and recited from the eastern Altai to the western Ural mountain ranges and as far south as Band-e Turkestan. It commemorates the Turkic people’s struggles for freedom, on one level materially, but at a deeper level spiritually.
It’s a pretty big undertaking; posts shall run over the course of the remainder of 2012. We hope you enjoy them!
Editor’s note: A unique music show combining visual art and glaciology has been traveling through Central Asia to highlight the plights of global warming. NewEurasia’s Nik McCaren went to check it out as it. “The experience was quite moving,” he writes, “as though the glaciers have been lamenting to humanity and until now we have been deaf to hear them.”
The “Omnibus” Ensemble from Uzbekistan and Lillevan, a video artist from Germany, have gone on a grand tour of sorts in the region with their program, “Music of the Glacier”, in order to draw attention to global warming. The Goethe Institute in Almaty and Tashkent sponsored the program, a unique combination of art and science.
Editor’s note: British student Danny Gordon has been cycling across the world to raise money for UNICEF and Sports Relief, and not long ago, he passed through Central Asia. We wanted his impressions on the physical culture of the region, and he shared a very intriguing insight…
I was flicking through the channels on a breezy summer afternoon. The cycling was on, and Britain had real hopes for gold resting on the shoulders of sprinter Mark Cavendish. Excited, I scanned the leaders for British jerseys. But with 5km to go, there were none to be seen, and moments later Kazakhstan’s Alexander Vinokourov broke from the front and forced his way over the line, battered and grimacing, but ultimately victorious. As the jubilant Kazakh celebrated, I remember being surprised. Not because it was a scalp, which it was, but because in some inexplicable way, I felt that cycling and Kazakhstan was an odd match. In my experience, serious cyclists had been at a premium all the way from Georgia to Tajikistan.
I began to think, “If not cycling, what sport was it that would suit these nations?” I had not meant to ignore the multitude of nuances that differentiate each of the unique Central Asian peoples, but there was certainly some noticeable common ground when it came to core values, and I wondered if it translated to sport.
Press Release from Silk Road Media
On the 24th and 25th of November 2012, in Bishkek, the British companies, Silk Road Media and Hertfordshire Press publishing house, will hold the Open Central Asia Book Forum — the first international forum and festival to concentrate attention on the development of literature and the book publishing industry in Central Asia. The unique feature of this forum is that it will unite not only representatives of book publishing companies and book authors, but those for whom books are being published – readers, libraries, different educational institutions and so on.
The survey is anonymous and open to everyone! https://whistleblowingsurvey.org
The sound and fury around whistleblowing has been deafening of late, between the trial proceedings of U.S. Private Bradley Manning and leaks allegedly coming from the White House about the Stuxnet computer worm and drone targeted killings.
Supporters of whistleblowing place it firmly as one of the most important pillars of resilient government integrity systems. They argue that if you want governments to be free of corruption or even just simple wrongdoing, you need strong protection for whistleblowers. Critics say it’s just another mechanism for bureaucrats and policy makers to complain about decisions they don’t like.
Our new international study is the first to gauge the general public’s view on whistleblowing in an online, multi-language format. The 15-minute survey is open to everyone in all countries regardless of whether they have blown the whistle nor not.
The first (English) edition of the World Online Whistleblowing Survey (WOWS) launched in Brisbane, Australia recently, and with NewEurasia’s help, is now available in Russian, Kyrgyz and (I’m quite proud to say) Turkmen!
Tashkent hosted the first_ever Central Asian Independent Film Festival (CAFIF). The festival provided a unique opportunity to filmmakers and video artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to show their movies on the big screen, bring them to the audience and communicate with each other.
The festival was held at the legendary Tashkent theater “Ilkhom” from 8-10 June, former home of the dramatist Mark Weil who was murdered in 2007. Art-director Oleg Karpov, himself a well-known enthusiast of non-commercial cinema and the husband of the infamous director Umida Akhmedova — who was convicted in Uzbekistan for the film “The Burden of Virginity” — served as the main organizer of the festival.
A lot has been happening in media and telecommunications – Internet, libel, translation, TV, social networks, mass media, blogging, songs and cell phones – in Central Asia these past few months, for the good and for the bad. Let’s take a look at two stories from each country, regarding media advancements and setbacks that have taken-shape in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan so far in 2012.
Press Freedom in CENTRAL ASIA
The 2012 Freedom of the Press Report, published by human rights group Freedom House, was released in May. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) informs on the role Eurasia/Central Asia plays in the report:
“As a region, Eurasia remained mired in severe press freedom problems, with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan also rated “not free.” Ukraine barely hung onto a rating of “partly free,” just one point away from being downgraded.”
Press release from the OSCE Central Asian Youth Network (CAYN):
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Centre in Astana, Kazakhstan is pleased to invite undergraduate students currently enrolled in universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, including students from Mongolia and Afghanistan studying at Central Asian universities to submit applications for competitive selection to attend the OSCE Central Asian Youth Network Seminar, which will be hosted by the OSCE Centre in Astana and held on 4-6 September 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The seminar will bring together promising students from Central Asian OSCE participating States to enhance their critical thinking skills and ability to think beyond the box about existing threats to security in Central Asia. The seminar also aims to stimulate creativity and encourage a co-operative
approach among students from countries in the region. Seminar participants will be selected based on the quality of their application (particularly the critical review) and their community involvement.
How we evaluate your critical review: We expect a highly original personal perspective on the topic. We will look for an ability to challenge existing assumptions, a coherent presentation of arguments, a clear structure, and intelligent comments. Anti-plagiarism rules apply to all works received.
The seminar’s working languages are English and Russian; applicants must be fluent in both.
CAYN alumni are also encouraged to apply. There are 10 funded places reserved for CAYN alumni. The candidates will be chosen based on their proposed substantive contribution to the event. But in any case, if you happen to be in Almaty at the time of the seminar, please feel free to join
CAYN2012 (prior registration is required). Successful candidates will be invited, all expenses paid, to attend the seminar in Almaty to participate in panel discussions, interactive exercises, and a simulation game with their fellow Central Asian students, CAYN alumni, and leading regional experts. Upon completion of the seminar a group of students will be provided an opportunity to participate in a familiarization tour of the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, Austria. We look forward to welcoming you to Almaty!
OSCE/CAYN2012 Student Application: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEZySzV1MXk0ZTVCdzBJaGI3N1ZNdlE6MQ
OSCE/CAYN2012 ALUMNI Application: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFFEMEtRT2swbmg3NFR6SV82N1NMVUE6MA#gid
DEADLINE: 15 June, 2012 (Earlier submissions are encouraged)
NewEurasia’s readers are no strangers to the aesthetic art form of Soviet and post-Soviet socialist realism, but are they familiar with its analogue in the Western financial industry? Of course, “capitalist realism”, like socialist realism, is a meta-category, grouping together what are actually a very diverse range of architectural, painting and sculptural styles. Nevertheless, I think there’s something to the concept.
Marking its 30th year of fostering the development of local media in more than 70 countries, Internews has launched InternewsNext, a year-long celebration of young new voices emerging in media and information around the world. Throughout the year, Internews will feature “30 Under 30,” highlighting media initiatives in communities around the world, working with journalists, bloggers, developers and others under the age of 30 to address the information needs of their communities.
To kick off the celebration, Internews hosted a reception and panel discussion in Washington, DC on May 2 in advance of World Press Freedom Day. The event explored the exciting future of media with young leaders in Central Asia, Afghanistan and the United States who are engaging the next generation using digital media and technology. Internews also introduced its new Internews Center for Innovation & Learning, designed to fuel inquiry, experimentation and learning across the organization’s programs and among its partners.