The Quarterly DAG-3QD Peace and Justice Symposium: The Elusive Quest for Political Stability in Central Asia and Beyond

Online symposium 5 Cooley-09

Dear Reader,

We are very pleased to collaborate with the Amsterdam-based Dialogue Advisory Group (DAG) to bring to you quarterly online symposia on topics of international peace and justice. This is the fifth in this series of symposia; the first four can be seen here.

DAG is an organization which discreetly assists government, inter-government and other actors to confidentially manage national and international mediation efforts. Among their publicly known activities is DAG’s involvement in verifying the ETA ceasefire in Basque Country and the decommissioning of the weapons of INLA, a dissident Republican armed group in Northern Ireland.

DAG is directed by Ram Manikkalingam who also teaches politics at the University of Amsterdam. He advised the previous President of Sri Lanka during the peace process with the Tamil Tigers and prior to that advised the Rockefeller Foundation’s program in international peace and security.

In the DAG-3QD Peace and Justice Symposia internationally recognized figures will debate challenges in conflict resolution and human rights. One (or more) author(s) will present a thesis in the form of a short essay and then the others will present critiques of that point of view. Finally, the initial author(s) will also have an opportunity to present a rebuttal to the critiques.

The topic this time is “The Elusive Quest for Political Stability: Diverging Approaches by the United States, Russia, and China in Central Asia and Beyond”.

The distinguished participants in this symposium:

  • Pavel Baev is a Norwegian political scientist and security scholar. He is currently a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and a senior nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution (Washington, DC). Baev graduated from Moscow State University (M.A. in economic and political geography, 1979) and worked in a research institute in the USSR Ministry of Defence. He received his PhD in international relations from the Institute for US and Canadian Studies in Moscow in 1988, then worked in the newly created Institute of Europe in Moscow until 1992, when he moved to Oslo, Norway and joined PRIO. In 1994-1996, he held a ‘Democratic Institutions Fellowship” from NATO. From 1995-2001, Baev was co-editor of the academic journal Security Dialogue, and From 1999-2005 he was a member of the PRIO board. Baev’s current research includes the transformation of the Russian military, Russia – European Union relations, Russia’s energy policy, Russia’s policy in the Arctic, terrorism and conflicts in theCaucasus. Baev is the author of several books.
  • David Lewis is senior lecturer at the University of Bradford in the Department of Peace Studies. He has research interests in the areas of peacebuilding, security, political change and conflict, and has considerable field experience in Central Asia, the Caucasus and South Asia. Before working in Bradford, David worked at the International Crisis Group in Central Asia and in Sri Lanka. His publications have focused on political change and the dynamics of authoritarian regimes in Central Asia. His recent book The Temptations of Tyranny in Central Asia (Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2008) examined the impact of Western policy on the region in the aftermath of 9/11. David is also an active adviser and consultant on political engagement and programming in the Caucasus and Central Asia. David has also been working on the impact of global geopolitical change on peace and conflict norms and practices. Within the same research framework, David has been awarded a British Academy grant to study shifting international norms within the OSCE and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. 

I would like to thank the participants as well as Ram Manikkalingam, Fleur Ravensbergen, Daniël Grütters, Michelle Gehrig, and the indefatigable Amanda Beugeling of the Dialogue Advisory Group for working closely with me in organizing these symposia. The logo for the symposium has also been designed by Amanda Beugeling.

We look forward to your comments and feedback.


S. Abbas Raza


NOTE: DAG and 3QD wish to acknowledge the generous contribution of the Dutch Stichting Democratie en Media toward these symposia, as well as the support of our readers.



[Click the links below to read the essays.]


  1. The Elusive Quest for Political Stability: Diverging Approaches by the United States, Russia, and China in Central Asia and Beyond by Alexander Cooley
  2. The Stability Paradox in Central Asia by Pavel Baev
  3. Caveats to Cooley’s Argument by David Lewis
  4. A Response to Baev and Lewis by Alexander Cooley







Please leave comments about any of the essays in the symposium in the comments area of this post. Thank you.