The Central Asian Studies Institute (CASI) is an interdepartmental research unit at the American University of Central Asia, established in 2011 with the mission of promoting the study of Central Asia locally and internationally. The Institute pursues this goal by encouraging and supporting individual and group research projects, organizing seminars and conferences, and by developing academic programs focused on Central Asia.
CASI was and remains AUCA's main research hub on Central Asia. Since its creation, the Institute -- helped by the reputation of the University itself but also by its "staff," namely the CASI director and research coordinators -- is a preferred destination for well-established or young scholars on Central Asia from some of the best universities in the world and, more recently, for some of the key events in the field of Central Asian studies, or in related fields. CASI contributes greatly -- through its website and FB wall -- to the visibility of research within AUCA and to the reputation of AUCA as a research-friendly university. Last but not least, since its inception, CASI has firmly -- and occasionally stubbornly -- defended its commitment to high-quality research conducted along international standards.
CASI hosts seminars, talks, and workshops centered on critical regional concerns. Visiting and affiliated scholars provide lectures on a wide range of topics, focusing on everything from reading literature ethnographically to the political economy of the Eurasian Economic Union. Few academic research centers can boast of such a talented group of affiliated researchers studying topics as diverse as the politics of ethnic handicrafts in Soviet Kyrgyzstan and the realities of “miracle truths” in post-Soviet proselytism.
Additionally, CASI runs successfully a Master of Arts program in Central Asian Studies (MACAS). Meant to make a Western graduate education realistic and affordable for Central Asian students, the program is also designed to allow foreign students the possibility of studying Central Asia in Central Asia: it combines AUCA’s extensive expertise on the region with a complete immersion in the culture of Bishkek, a city in which Soviet and Central Asian heritages collide with the newly introduced traditions of the West.
On CASI, see also: https://www.facebook.com/CentralAsianStudiesInstituteAuca
Until 2016, the activities of the Central Asian Studies Institute were supported by USAID