IS IT IN OUR BLOOD? OR SWEAT?

www.ocamagazine #35 summer 2020 text by Tara Pandeya Dance is an integral part of life in Central Asia; it can be seen both in rural settings and on the proscenium stage, from highly developed virtuosic classical styles to nuanced and subtle folk-dance forms. Western audiences might be surprised to learn that Central Asia has an […]

Three Central Asia Travel Highlights

Often overlooked by your classic holiday maker, Central Asia has always exercised a powerful fascination over a certain kind of traveler. Home to some of the most ancient cultures and breathtaking landscapes on earth, it is nevertheless only lightly trodden by wanderers and merchants. But traffic on the silk road is once again picking up. […]

THE SOFT POWER OF EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN CENTRAL ASIA AND THE WORLD

Don’t underestimate the potency of soft power grounded in education and people-to-people contact. Both are the backbone of deepened relationships, and the global community needs to invest in strengthening those ties with the Central Asia region. Soft power is an axiom of international relations and multilateral ties. Within this framework, education and research is a […]

MUSICAL HERITAGE OF TURKIC SPEAKING PEOPLE IN THE MODERN WORLD

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW ICTM STUDY GROUP The ICTM Study Group on “Music of the Turkic-speaking world” was established in 2006 at the Music Department, SOAS, University of London. This Study Group is dedicated to the practice, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of traditional music and dance as found throughout the wide area of the […]

THE DEVELOPMENTAL JOURNEY OF THE FIVE STANS POST-SOVIET INDEPENDENCE

A brief analysis of overseas development assistance to the Central Asian Republics.   When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, abrupt national independence incited a sharp rise in poverty, inequality, and the disintegration of public services across Central Asia. A multitude of development challenges lay ahead for the five Stans: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and […]

LOST ENLIGHTENMENT: THE GOLDEN AGE OF CENTRAL ASIA

The problem of distorting general history, a departure from the principle of objectivity in compiling history textbooks, and the lack of holistic basic research on the history of culture and science of Central Asia has long been troubling many historians, scholars, scientists and other representatives of the intellectuals. Scientists and historians of the Central Asian […]

CULTURAL CROSSROADS: TWO WOMEN’S JOURNEY ALONG THE PAMIR HIGHWAY.

In July & August 2018, two British women Catherine & Hannah, undertook the 2500km drive, unaided, along the Pamir Highway, famously the 2nd highest road on Earth, reaching altitudes of 4500m and coursing through the heart of Central Asia. Their mission: to reach, live with and film the women living along it. During their time […]

KURASH – TASHKENT HOSTS INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT IN MEMORY OF ISLAM KARIMOV FOR THE PRIZE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN

Tashkent played host to a prestigious international Kurash tournament in September attracting athletes from across the globe to compete for $100 000 of prize money. Great Britain were represented by Neil Schofield and Paul Sawyer at this event which paid homage to the nation’s first President, the late Islam Karimov, whilst also celebrated the 20th […]

The Global Silk Road: Building the Financial Pillars

The revitalisation of the Silk Road has been envisioned as a scheme, which would stimulate the free movement of people, goods and services from East Asia to Western Europe via Central Asia. The Central Asian leaders believe that it could stimulate economic growth in the region, the rise of small-and-medium enterprises (SME) and the creation […]

On the Rarity of Nuclear States

The proliferation of nuclear weapons is undoubtedly an acute problem in international politics today. Currently, there are nine states in possession of nuclear weapons: America, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel; while those capable of manufacturing at short notice are estimated to be around 30. This begs a significant question, indeed: […]

Uzbekistan’s Zara King Gracefully Conquers MISS USSR UK 2018

MISS USSR UK is a fascinating show, with the contestants from all the different countries of the former Soviet Union, organised by Russian entrepreneur and founder, Julia Titova. The international beauty pageant MISS USSR UK, now in its sixth successive year, is gaining popularity more and more in London and beyond. After ten finalists competed […]

Gulsifat Shakhidi

“As Columbus once discovered America, today America opens the modern literature of Central Asia” In November 2017, at the 6th OEBF Festival in Stockholm, Tajik writer Gulsifat Shahidi received an honorary award. “For her personal contribution to the unification of the peoples of Eurasia through literature.” The attention of the guests of the festival was […]

To become a good friend – visit my home and try some of my bread!

Many people all over the world, including Turkmens, consider bread an essential and irreplaceable part of the diet. Bread contains numerous nutrients and useful bioactive substances, and many will regard a meal, whether ordinary, everyday fare or a festive dinner with sophisticated dishes and delicacies, as incomplete without bread. No wonder the proverbs state “no […]

I see a light for my native cinema at the end of this dark period

INTERVIEW WITH Bolot Shamshiev Few will know much about the cinema in Kyrgyzstan. What currently hampers its development is never aired and never makes the top priority list of state and international organizations. But there is a cinema to note and so Open Central Asia decided to meet one of its prominent players, the People’s […]

Fashion Project: ON THE GREAT SILK ROAD…

Motto: “World without national or government borders! We are one! We are a single field!” The Photo project, “On the Great Silk Road”, is a showcase of diverse eastern women living in Kazakhstan. This manifold is shown as a gallery of feminine types through images in eastern outfits. These are stylized eastern images of modern […]

Back in the USSR: The Spirit of Beatlemania in Kazakhstan

The site of a Silk Road oasis laid waste by the Mongols, the modern history of Almaty began with the construction of a Russian piedmont fort in 1854, around which a minor provincial centre grew. Upon hearing that Trotsky had been exiled to Alma-Ata in 1928, one of his enemies quipped that ‘even if he […]

Sculpting “Brand Kazakhstan” for its Next Step on the International Stage

The quest for international recognition drives many emerging markets. Kazakhstan has undoubtedly been better at it than many. The country has spent great effort and money building up an image as a modern state whose leaders can sit at the top table with world leaders. This effort at branding has been driven by the Kazakh […]

One Belt, One Road: One Myth?

China’s gargantuan Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road initiative, ‘One Belt, One Road’ for short, promises much. President Xi Jinping has hailed its proposed super-grid of rail track, oil and gas pipelines, superhighways and shipping facilities as this century’s economic game-changer, a project that will bring about ‘a new type of […]

RETRACING ATKINSON’S HISTORIC JOURNEY TO KHI-GOL

On 23 May 1851, the English explorer Thomas Witlam Atkinson, along with his wife Lucy and two-year-old son Alatau – along with several Cossacks and Buryat guides – set out from Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia on a journey that would take them to some of the remotest and wildest places in the world. Their first […]

The Marzia Zakiryanova Prize

On August 1st 1991, Marzia Zakiryanova’s life had been split in two through a single twist of fate which left this mother of two small children disabled. Narrating her tale of self-conquest, the author speaks about how she managed to hold her family together and win the respect and recognition of people around her. By […]

The Sara Ishanturaeva Prize

Sara Ishanturaeva was a renowned theatre and film actress, People’s Artist of the USSR and icon of dramatic art in Soviet Uzbekistan. Along with holding an extensive resume of outstanding roles in plays such as Ostrovskii’s Thunderstorm and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello, Sara was also the deputy to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th convocations of […]

Azamat (Aza) Sydykov: Polyphony Rules the World

Kyrgyzstan may be better known for its welcoming people and spectacular nomadic mountain scenery if it is known at all, however there is no shortage of talent emerging from this small Central Asian country. Open Central Asia speaks to a young and upcoming talented musician from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to follow the story of […]

KAMAL HASANOV WINNER OF OECABF – 2015’s NEMAT KELIMBETOV AWARD IN VIDEO FILM CATEGORY

OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM OCA: Kamal, please briefly tell us about yourself and your film making. Kamal Hasanov: I was born and raised in Azerbaijan, in Baku but I received my higher education in America. After returning, I began to work at the Central Bank of Azerbaijan and after four years working as a […]

A MUSLIM IS NOT A TERRORIST A TERRORIST IS NOT A MUSLIM

OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM DRAWING PARALLELS BETWEEN JIHAD AND TERRORISM The role of a human’s life is central in the purest religion of Islam. God created male and female in the finest manner whether to their physical, moral or spiritual qualities (At-Tin 95 / 4-5). Human as the most wonderful creation of the Almighty […]

THE ARCTIC ZONE OF SILK ROAD

OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM In the modern world one of largest scale initiatives is abruptly changing the face of the world, forming a new paradigm of economic and geo-strategic development and is revitalizing a zone of the Silk Road by land and sea. The project has been named “One Belt One Way.” The intention […]

THE LEGACY OF THE SILK ROAD CELEBRATIONS, HERITAGE, AND TRADE

OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM The Silk Road was a “highway”, which ancient China used to reach other realms in order to trade. Nomad and Mongol hordes rode and reached Europe. Central Asian Emperors developed a military and intellectual nest from where science, mathematics, philosophy and medicine “travelled” and enlightened the medieval world. Tribal warlords […]

IV OPEN EURASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA BOOK FORUM & LITERATURE FESTIVAL – 2015

OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM For the fourth year running, the international literary festival and forum “Open Eurasia and Central Asia Book Forum & Literature Festival – 2015”, organised by the publishing house “Hertfordshire Press” together with the Yunus Emre Institute London Turkish Cultural Centre and “ORZU Arts” theatre was held from 6th to 9th […]

WORDS, TENGRISM, AND WITTGENSTEIN

OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM A personal reflection by David Parry Words are not as they seem. They neither yield to linguistic analysis, nor allow an uninitiated mind to unravel their secrets. A staggering fact haunting Tamburlaine the Great (died 1405), ultimately frustrating Abai (1845-1904), although stimulating my colleague Sultan Raev (born 1958) in his […]

THE EEU: TOWARDS A WORLD OF TEAM PLAYERS – ECONOMY MATTERS

OCA #21  SPRING 2016  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM He who drives along the motorway from Russia into Belarus or vice versa will see no control posts either for cargo, vehicles or persons at the border. Further southeast, control posts between Russia and Kazakhstan are at an advanced stage of being dismantled. Together with Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, they make […]

ONE DOES NOT TRAVEL TO TULA WITH ONE’S OWN SAMOVAR

OCA #21  SPRING 2015  WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM Text by Christopher Schwartz Photo: Umida Ahmedova It is no secret that at present there is growing discomfort with Western influence throughout Central Asia. One can encounter it from elite and everyman alike. From a Western perspective, it is easy and tempting to attribute the emerging difficulties to various cynical […]