Sunday, February 14, 2010

Education News & A "Great Game" Update

According to Trend News of Azerbaijan, President Berdimuhammedov, who reinstated the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan last year, has named Gurbanmurat Mezilov to be the full-time president of the Academy.

A Swedish newspaper reports on Afghan students studying in Sweden, including a young lady who originally left Afghanistan for Turkmenistan, before migrating north to continue the medical studies she began at Turkmen State University. reports that Turkmenistan's universities are expanding. The government will increase the number of available postgraduate study slots while adding 7 new faculties (roughly equivalent to American university departments) and 48 new positions for university professors.

If you see a foreign university student studying in Belarus, there's a good chance she or he is Turkmen.

Central Asian watchers are often fond of describing regional relations as "The Great Game," borrowing the term from the 19th century contest between the British and Russian empires in the region.  Those commentators usually mention China as a "new player" for the 21st century, since it enjoys new wealth and old geographic and cultural ties to the region. The analyzes China's recent overtures to Central Asia, concluding that one more major power interested in the region could be a boon to the Central Asian republics by providing more foreign policy options.  Meanwhile, the Obama administration's newly proposed aid budget for Central Asia is austere, with levels remaining largely constant and aid to Turkmenistan falling from $12.5 to $10 million dollars.  Of course, these figures may change by the time Congress approves them.

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