Bri in the Shadow of Covid 19 poster

This online conference jointly organised by University of Westminster and Westminster International University in Tashkent will provide a forum to explore the economic, political, linguistic and cultural issues, challenges and responses to the Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia. It aims to bring together academics, policymakers, and members of the general public to share the newest research on the Belt Road Initiative in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking Central Asia – a key part of the ancient Eurasian Silk Road and the place where Xi Jinping formally launched BRI in 2013 – as empirical focus, the conference examines impacts of the BRI in the areas of trade, investment, migration and Chinese education in Central Asia. Furthermore, we will investigate how the Covid-19 outbreak has challenged the goals of BRI. We ask what new issues arise in Central Asia from this unprecedented situation, such as the dilemma between national and international cooperation, the question of border and trust, the im/possibility of capital, social and cultural movement, economic development and wellbeing, and so on.

The conference is part of a joint research project between the University of Westminster and Westminster International University in Tashkent.

Programme - Times in BST

11am – Welcome

  • Dr Bakhrom Mirkasimov- Rector, WIUT, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Prof Gerda Wielander - Associate Head, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Westminster, London, UK

11am – Keynote Talk (Title TBA)

  • Dr Niva Yau Tsz Yan - Eurasia Program Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute & Associate Research Fellow, OSCE Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

11.40am – Q+A

11.55am – Break

12.05pm –  BRI: a new dialectic in global state development

  • Dr Lorena Lombardozzi - Co-Director of Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre & Lecturer, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

12.20pm – The Belt and the Road Initiative and China’s Global Vision in the Shadow of COVID-19

  • Thomas Harper - Doctoral Researcher in Politics, University of Surrey, Guilford, UK    

12.35pm – Q+A

12.45pm – Break

12.55pm – BRI in Uzbekistan

  • Dr Karen Jackson - Assistant Head of Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK
  • Dr Cangbai Wang – Reader, University of Westminster, London, UK
  • Prof Gerda Wielander – Professor of Chinese Studies, University of Westminster, UK
  • Nozima Yusupova – Researcher, WIUT, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Khamid Idomkhodjaev – Researcher, WIUT, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

1.10pm – Comparing Socio-Economic Implications of the BRI in Transitional Economies of Central Asia and Southeast Asia 

  • Felix Christian Haas - Independent Researcher, Myanmar-Institut e.V., Yangon, Myanmar

1.25pm – BRI in the Kyrgiz Republic

  •  Linda Calabrese - Research Fellow, ODI Global, London, UK
  • Olena Borodyna - Research Officer, ODI Global, London, UK

1.35pm – Q+A

1.45pm – Break

2pm – Impact of BRI projects on Kazakhstan foreign policy  

  • Prof Yaşar Sarı – Department of International Relations, Bolu Abant İzzet Baysal Üniversitesi Bolu, Turkey

2.15pm – BRI, Covid-19 and Anti-Chinese Sentiment: Kazakh Perceptions of China in Central Asia  

  • Dr Jessica Neafie - Assistant Professor, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan

2.30pm – Closing remarks, discussions and comments

  • Prof Roland Dannreuther - Professor of International Relations, University of Westminster, London, UK

3pm – End of day

Please note, paper titles may be subject to small changes

Organising Committee

University of Westminster

  • Gerda Wielander
  • Karen Jackson
  • Cangbai Wang

Westminster International University in Tashkent

  • Bakhrom Mirkasimov
  • Nozima Yusupova
  • Khamid Inomkhodjaev


You can find out more or register to attend on Eventbrite.