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2009 Dr. Berj. H. Haidostian Annual Distinguished Lecture

The Phantom of Unity: The Failure of Regional Cooperation in the Caucasus

The Lecture provided unique insights and focused on the fate of various attempts of integration and cooperation within the region. De Waal challenged the belief that, “regional integration has failed and it’s better not to push it.” He asserted that, “The point is not a new Soviet-style region with a single political leadership, but a region that seeks cooperation rather than fragmentation. The problem, I contend, is not [that] there isn’t enough in common to give the peoples of the South Caucasus a shared project to work on, it is that no one has given them the enabling environment to make that happen.”

Thomas De Waal’s conclusions are based not only on his research of the region and its actors over the last two decades, but are also a culmination of experiences – from Caucasus Editor at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting to reporting for the BBC World Service and the Moscow Times. In addition to his journalistic achievement, de Waal has also authored several books, including: Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War (NYU Press, 2003) and Chechnya, a Small Victorious War (Pan, 1997), co-authored with Carlotta Gall.

Thomas de Waal is a writer and analyst on the Caucasus, Russia and the Black Sea region. From 2002-08 he worked as Caucasus Editor at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. He completed a degree in Russian and Modern Greek at Balliol College, Oxford, before working for the BBC World Service in London. From 1993-97 he reported in Moscow for the Moscow Times, the Times of Londonand the Economist, specializing in Russian politics and events in Chechnya.