American University of Central Asia - AUCA - CURRENT AND PREVIOUS RESEARCH FELLOWS




Abhi Goyal

Visiting Research Fellow

September 2017 - July 2018

Abhi Goyal is a Fulbright Student Researcher from the United States, focused on the topic of informal communities and people who migrate in urban areas of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Informal communities are generally not included in demographic data about the Kyrgyz Republic, preventing organizations and the government from creating policies adapted to their situations. Abhi’s research focuses on the reason for these communities’ creation, their place in migration patterns, and their composition.

Before this research, Abhi worked at the USAID-funded Strengthening Results, Partnerships, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Project, writing a social media strategy to reach urban households in the Kyrgyz Republic with nutrition information, as part of a broader urban nutrition strategy.

He has also worked at the SEEP Network, a non-governmental organization focused on addressing poverty, as well as Atlantic Media Company.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.



Francesca Celi


Visiting Research Fellow, September 2016


Francesca Celi is a master’s degree student currently specializing in International Relations, with a focus on Central and Eastern Asia. She is a student in International Sciences in University of Turin, Italy. Her studies include politics, sociology and economics of Asia.

Francesca Celi  holds a bachelor’s degree in Languages, Culture and Societies of Asia and Mediterranean Africa from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. Her studies at this university focused on Chinese language and culture, as well as Asian politics, economics, law and institutions.

Francesca Celi  was Visiting Research Fellow in Tian Shan Policy Center, American University of Central Asia (Bishkek) on September 2016. Her studies in Kyrgyzstan examined the current situation of Uyghur minority in Central Asia and specifically in Kyrgyzstan, as well as the reasons and the history of their migration from China to Central Asia.



Chiara Pierobon


Visiting Research Fellow, October - November 2016


Chiara Pierobon completed a PhD in Sociology at Bielefeld University (Germany) and Trento University (Italy) with a thesis on civil society and national identity in contemporary Russia which was published by Springer.

Since 2012, she has worked as Post-Doctoral Researcher at Bielefeld University and project manager and research associate of the Bielefeld / St. Petersburg Center for German and European Studies (CGES/ZDES).

Between 2013 and 2016, she was manager and research associate of the project "Exploring Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation: Central Asia, its Neighboring Countries and Europe" financed by Volkswagen Foundation. She is former Visiting Scholar at University of California/Berkeley, University of California/San Diego, St. Petersburg State University and the German Kazakh-University.

In addition, in 2014, she was research intern at the EU Delegation in Astana, Kazakhstan.

At Tian Shan Policy Center, Dr. Pierobon carries out research for her post-doctoral project on EU and empowerment of civil society in Kyrgyzstan. The study investigates the main outcomes of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the thematic program Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (NSA/LA) for Kyrgyz civil society.



Lillian Langford

Visiting Research Fellow, March 2014 - January 2015

Lillian graduated from Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School in 2013 with a Juris Doctor and a Master’s in Public Policy. Her research as a Fulbright fellow examines the effects of domestic violence against women and bride kidnapping on the realization of women’s property rights.  Although Kyrgyzstan has adopted fairly progressive legislation on women’s right to own, inherit, and receive a share of marital property in divorce and inheritance proceedings, the experiences of legal aid NGOs in the country indicate that full implementation of these laws has not occurred. Lillian’s research explores the role of domestic violence and bride kidnapping in obstructing the effective implementation of this legislation.

     During her studies Lillian focused on international human rights and global affairs, working in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia and in refugee rights organization Pro Asyl in Germany before spending her final summer of grad school researching barriers to justice in rural Kyrgyzstan with the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia.  Prior to law school, Lillian spent two years working as a Program Coordinator for the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Kakamega, Kenya, and Jodhpur, India.  Her research interests include mechanisms by which national legislation is harmonized with international human rights standards – the topic of her masters thesis, The Other Euro Crisis: Rights Violations Under the Common European Asylum System and the Unraveling of EU Solidarity, which was published in spring 2013 in the Harvard Human Rights Journal.





Marat Murzabekov

Visiting Research Fellow, June-August 2013

Marat Murzabekov graduated from the Department of Geography at the Stockholm University (Sweden) in June 2010 with a degree of Master of Sciences in human geography, economic history, ecology and geography. He received his BA degree in international relations, political science and history back in 2007 at the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University (Kyrgyzstan).

Currently he holds a position of a PhD candidate at the Department of Social and Economic Geography of the Uppsala University (Sweden).

Marat is focusing on the issues of pasture degradation and pasture governance in Kyrgyzstan. He believes that there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of what degradation is, when, where and why it happens. His plan is to investigate the role of pasture users/managers in pasture degradation processes. By doing that he wants to understand how individualization of pasture tenure and decentralization of pasture management might correlate with the biophysical changes in pastures.

To achieve the research objectives stated above, Marat realizes the importance of collaborating with the researchers experienced in working on Central Asia. Such collaboration will substantially improve research quality, give inspiration for new questions and provide excellent career opportunities. This is the reason why Marat Murzakulov has opted to get his research fellowship with AUCA’s Tian Shan Policy Center.





Chiara Fabrizio

Visiting Research Fellow, May-June 2013

Chiara is a June 2013 graduate of the Master's of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The central focus of her research is on political transparency in the Kyrgyz Republic. After completing a research on budget transparency at the University of Toronto, Chiara traveled to Bishkek and  AUCA (TSPC) to study challenges and opportunities of political transparency mechanisms with a view to inform policy and donors' activity. During her 2012 internship at the International NGO Training and Research Center in Bishkek, Chiara completed a report on civil society participation in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative in Kyrgyzstan, investigating the relationship between natural resources and transparency. At the University of Toronto, she worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Edward Schatz. She researched primary and secondary sources to understand how human rights activists in Kyrgyzstan perceived and perceive the United States. Following the completion of her grant, Chiara will seek to continue her research independently, through academic or professional venues.



Meghan McCormack

Visiting Research Fellow, October 2012 - August 2013 

 Meghan is a J.D. student at Yale Law School. She is conducting field research on nomadic property law, with a focus on dispute-resolution methods used by both clan-based courts and central government courts. Her general research interests include rule of law, conflict of laws, and the evolution of conceptions of property from communal to private ownership (and back).
Meghan earned her bachelors degree from Harvard University, where she majored in political theory. She has worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.



 Alyssa Meyer

Visiting Research Fellow, September 2012 - June 2013


Alyssa Meyer is a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar whose research will focus upon energy and water security in Kyrgyzstan.  Her broader research interests include human dignity and human capacity, sustainability, and development, particularly in post-Soviet Central Asia.
Alyssa earned her B.A. from Michigan State University in 2011, where she majored in Political Theory and International Relations. Her studies focused largely on the political aspects of development and post-Soviet transition, and included time in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey, in addition to many years of coursework in both Uzbek and Russian. After graduating, she worked for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in both Washington, D.C. and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Following the completion of her grant, Alyssa will return to the U.S. to begin a Master’s in Sustainable Development. She hopes that her time in Bishkek will lay the groundwork for her dissertation.



 Julia Perry

Intern, May - September, 2012

Julia is a master’s student in sociology and gender studies at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Her studies focus on migration, sociology of politics, sociology of human rights, as well as gender and development.

Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Bremen, Germany and the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Her studies at these universities focused on migration and integration, population and development, sociology of poverty and sociology of education.

She has been a student research assistant since 2010 at the University of Bremen in the field of migration and integration specializing on inter-ethnic networks, well-being at school and the role of social capital in the German context.

Julia is interested in migration and human rights issues in Central Asia and specifically in Kyrgyzstan; she will assist within the Tian Shan Policy Center while doing research for her master’s thesis.



Craig Hatcher

Visiting Research Fellow, May 16 - July 15, 2012

Craig is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography at the University of Zürich, Switzerland.  His research focuses on the legal aspects of internal migration in Kyrgyzstan and specifically the strategies that migrants employ to register their permanent place of residence in Bishkek.  The PhD aims to address the gap between what is drafted in official sources of law in comparison between how law is experienced in its everyday context.

After initially studying geography at undergraduate level at the University of Bristol, UK, Craig went on to study and train as a lawyer in London, specializing in public sector and government law.  During this time, Craig also worked pro bono on various cases for the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) based at London Metropolitan University.  He completed his MSc in September 2010 at University College London with a thesis that looked at forced evictions that were occurring as a result of the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games. 



Yulia Poskakukhina
  Visiting Research Fellow, March - August, 2013

Yulia Poskakukhina is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on business and investment climate dynamics in Kyrgyzstan.
Prior to her PhD trajectory, Yulia has worked at several international, non-profit and private sector organizations in Brussels, The Hague, London, Manila and Moscow, where she was engaged in matters related to development cooperation. In 2006 she received her International Relations MA degree (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. For her MA dissertation she spent five months in Tbilisi, Georgia, conducting research on the role of development agencies and civil society in the country’s policy processes.


Maureen Pritchard

Visiting Research Fellow, October, 2011 - August, 2012

Maureen is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the Scool of Oriental and African Studies in London. Her dissertation project focuses on processes of inter-illumination in the arts in Kyrgyzstan. Her work focuses on individuals whose creative practices spans more than one medium and genre, and includes both folk and fine art.

Maureen holds an M.A. in ethnomusicology from The Ohio State University. Maureen spent several months in Talas for as part of her research for a Master's thesis focused on funeral and lamenting practices. A segment of this research was published as an article entitled "Creativity and Sorrow in Kyrgyzstan" in the Indiana Journal of Folklife Research. Prior to graduate studies., Maureen served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Naryn Region.



Beatrice Mosello

Visiting Research Fellow, October - December, 2011

Beatrice Mosello is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, in Geneva (Switzerland). Her work focuses on the adaptive capacity of institutions in the water sector towards prospected climatic changes, with a specific focus on mountain regions in Kyrgyzstan. While at the SRC, she is researching on the role of civil society in water resources management, and on barriers to adaptation within local communities.

Beatrice holds a Masters degree in International Studies with a specialization in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a Bachelor degree in Development Studies from the University of Pavia, Italy. Beatrice has worked extensively on environmental issues, including by participating as a Researcher in the European Union-funded ACQWA project as well as by leading numerous youth initiatives on the human dimension of climate change, sustainable development and issues related to intergenerational equity.



 Sarah Hummel

Visiting Research Fellow, August, 2011 - February, 2012

Sarah Hummel is a PhD student in Politics at Princeton University (USA). Her broad areas of interest are comparative politics and political economy. While in Kyrgyzstan, she will be researching the effects of domestic political dynamics on the formation and implementation of international water and energy policy among the states of Central Asia. Other research interests include the reasons for electoral system change and the role of bias in mass information systems across different regime types.

She currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yale University and a master’s degree in Politics from Princeton University. Her teaching experience is in the application of game theoretic models to political science.



American University of Central Asia
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