A research delegation from the Center for International and Regional Studies, comprised of CIRS Director Mehran Kamrava, Associate Director for Research Zahra Babar, and Managing Editor Suzi Mirgani traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to meet with potential research partners at various educational institutes. The CIRS delegation met the First Vice Rector, departmental deans, and senior administrative staff at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, a team of researchers from KIMEP University, as well as a group of scholars from the R. B. Suleimenov Institute of Oriental Studies, headed by Mufti Absattar Kazhy Derbisali. The objectives of the CIRS delegation’s visit was to explore future collaborations with Kazakh institutional networks and to inform interested counterparts about the work of CIRS, including its various research initiatives, publications, and grant cycles.
Over the three days, the delegation and researchers brainstormed potential areas of crossover between CIRS and the research interests of Kazakh institutions, and narrowed down the projects to investigating issues in Islamic finance, including the governance and practical and administrative applications of the field. Other fruitful topics of collaboration revolved around the relationship between Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries along the new silk road, and the effects of oil economies on state building processes and practices.