The Central Asian Studies Institute is an interdepartmental research unit at the American University of Central Asia, established in 2011 with the mission of promoting the study of Central Asia locally and internationally. The Institute pursues this goal by encouraging and supporting individual and group research projects, organizing seminars and conferences, and by developing academic programs focused on Central Asia.
For centuries Central Asia has been a crossroads for the movement of peoples, goods, and ideas between Europe, West Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. With the end of the Soviet rule, the region has regained its political, economic and cultural diversity and stands again as a key player in a tightly knit global community. By bringing together local and international researchers, fostering a synergy between students, faculty members and visiting scholars and by privileging multidisciplinary and comparative research projects, the Central Asian Studies Institute aims to produce innovative and responsible knowledge on ongoing processes in the five Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).
Until 2016, the activities of the Central Asian Studies Institute were supported by USAID.
The Master of Arts degree program in Central Asian Studies is designed to provide students with a critical understanding of past and present social, political, economic and cultural processes in Central Asia and an overview of the methodological and analytical approaches of the various academic disciplines that have shaped the production of knowledge on the region. Before graduation, students are required to demonstrate an ability to reflect upon, analyze and evaluate available or incoming information on or from Central Asia, and to be proficient in a local language at a level allowing them to conduct independent research or professional work. This is an interactive graduate program offering students the unique opportunity to pass from learning to practice and from practice to learning.