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 Baktybek Beshimov

Post-Soviet Central Asia: New Authoritarianism and Academic Freedom
with Baktybek Beshimov, Northeastern University

Wednesday, November 18 at 5:00 PM (CST) via Zoom

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The Scholars at Risk Committee for the University of Arkansas will host the 2020 Professor Dick Bennett Scholars at Risk Lecture Series, "Post-Soviet Central Asia: New Authoritarianism and Academic Freedom," to be given by Baktybek Beshimov, a scholar-diplomat from Kyrgyzstan who was forced to flee the country after threats to his life by the government.

The lecture is part of International Education Week (Nov. 16-20), a national celebration recognizing the benefits of international education and global exchanges of students and scholars. Beshimov's virtual lecture will be hosted on Zoom at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18. This event is free and open to the public.  

Beshimov is a faculty member of the Global Studies and International Relations program at Northeastern University. He has extensive experience  in international diplomacy, politics, education, and development. 

Beshimov played a crucial role in formulating development policy in Central Asia as national manager of the United Nations Ferghana Valley Development Program and the UNDP LIFE program in the 1990s. He was twice elected to the parliament of Kyrgyzstan, where he served as leader of the opposition faction and parliament representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In diplomacy, Beshimov served as the ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and was the representative of the Kyrgyzstan Parliament in the Organisation for Security and Economic Cooperation in Europe. 

He was awarded the prestigious Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy in 2010. From 2010-2015, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, MIT's Center for International Studies, and Suffolk University's Government Department. He also served as provost/vice president for academic affairs of the American University in Central Asia and President of Osh State University.

Beshimov is the author of four books, including Ferghana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia, and a frequent contributor to international media. His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Transitions Online, and the Diplomat Magazine, Asia Times, Al Jazeera, and Open Democracy

Scholars at Risk is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. The U of A is an institutional member of the Scholars at Risk network.

The event is sponsored by the UA Scholars at Risk committee and co-sponsored by:

  • Graduate School and International Education

  • Professor Dick Bennett Scholars at Risk Lecture Series

  • Graduate Student Congress

  • Asian Studies Program

  • King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies

  • School of Law

  • Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies program

  • Department of History

  • Department of Political Science

  • International and Global Studies program

The word 'Majlis' written in English and Arabic, on a blue background

Majlis: Middle East Discussion Group

Biweekly on Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 PM via Microsoft Teams starting September 2.

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Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in Majlis, a biweekly informal discussion group on the Middle East. Discussion is open to anyone interested in the Middle East and North Africa. The group will meet on the following Wednesdays during the Fall 2020 semester from noon to 1:00 p.m. via Microsoft Teams:

  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

Majlis, the Arabic word for gathering, is led and organized by Samer Mayyas, a doctoral student in the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies program. These meetings will offer a unique opportunity for interested people of all backgrounds and levels to discuss topics related to the region and beyond in an informal, outside-the-classroom setting. No specific knowledge is required to participate, and all are welcome.

For more information about Majlis, contact Samer at 

The words "Salaam wa Kalaam" written in Arabic with the words "Arabic Conversation Table" beneath, on a light green background

Arabic Conversation Table

December 1 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM (CST) via Zoom

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Virtual Conversation Table Open to Arabic Speakers of All Levels

Brush up on your Arabic! Join fellow students, instructors and native speakers to practice your conversational skills over Zoom. Learn to speak about daily life and current events with confidence and ease.

Arabic Conversation Table will meet from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, December 1. Make a cup of coffee and join us for the conversation!

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For more information about Arabic Conversation Table, contact Dr. Rania Mahmoud at