The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies is pleased to welcome Baktybek Beshimov to the University of Michigan for a public lecture at 4pm on April 8 on the topic, “The Power of Weak States in Central Asia.” Beshimov, a recipient of the prestigious Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship from the National Endowment for Democracy, was leader of the main opposition party in Kyrgyzstan until he fled the country. Beshimov’s lecture at U-M will focus on the relationship of the states of Central Asia with Russia, China, and the United States. The world has been watching as Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine and speculating about what this means for other former Soviet republics. As the crisis continues, Russia’s relationship to its eastern neighbors will be closely observed. Beshimov will describe what goals Central Asia’s leaders pursue, tactics they use to manipulate the interests of superpowers, and how the interplay of strategies impacts state building processes in the region.

Dr. Beshimov served the Kyrgyz government in several capacities, including as parliamentarian (1998-2000 and 2007-10), ambassador (2000-05), and member of the Ministry of Education and Science (1987-91). He was the president of Osh State University and provost at the American University of Central Asia, and an advocate of liberal arts education in Kyrgyzstan. Beshimov is co-author of Ferghana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia (M.E. Sharpe, 2011), and a frequent contributor to international and regional media. His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Transitions Online, and other publications. He currently teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University.

PLACE: 1636 International Institute/School of Social Work, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies and Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies


The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit